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ALMA MATER ABROAD
More then a million Russian high school graduates are going to enter universities this summer. Some of them will apply to prestigious western institutions.
According to research of the Moscow-based Begin group, 24 percent of Moscovites plan to send their kids to western European schools and universities. Half of them say that they want their children to enroll into short-term programmes (such as language courses).
On the whole, about 14 percent prefer higher education abroad. Patriotic feelings in terms of education were found in 21 percent of responders: they consider Russian universities as the only appropriate choice.
Interestingly, 90 percent of the youngsters, who intend to study abroad, don’t consider education in Russian universities as a possible alternative. The reason is simple: after graduation most of them want to take a job in the West. However, only 30 percent of Russians graduates from western universities find job abroad, while the majority returns to live and work in Russia.
As for the most popular “educational” countries, 81 percent of respondents say that French and German universities can compete with traditionally prestigious British schools. Nevertheless, Russian applicants are quite conservative. More than a half (51 percent) still chose to study in Britain. The second place is occupied by the U.S.A. (15 percent), with the third place going to France (9 percent). The residuary preferences are allotted to Germany (7 percent), Canada and Australia (6 percent), Spain (4 percent).
Most of the responders say that they chose their preferences taking into account prospective employment opportunities. Another major factor that influences their choice included traditions of high-quality education, cost-of-living, national history, culture and climate.
The specialization preferences of foreign university applicants are similar to those who intend to study in Russia: business and economic majors rank to the top. Among other popular specializations are architecture, art and design, tourism and hospitality, IT and law.
“Broad business specializations, such as economist or “universal” manager, have been falling from favour lately. Moscow based universities try to update their programmes including specific highly tailored programmes, such as “management in chemical industry”, “management in sports”, “antirecessionary management”, says Mikhail Kneller, Begin Group project manager.
“Most of the applicants prefer to choose something more specific, such as PR and advertising, finances and credit, or human resources. We see growing interest in artistic professions, such as designer and architect. Technical specializations that were unpopular several years ago are becoming increasingly attractive mainly because of the growing demand for IT professionals in different spheres. At the same time, the faculty of law is not as attractive as it was several years ago”.
Most of the students are ready to take lectures in English, French, German and Spanish. Choosing “foreign” education as their studying plan, 79 percent of respondents proceed from their financial opportunities. “University brand” is indicated as a priority for 36 percent of responders. At the same time, 39 percent of the prospective students have an eye on international ratings of the foreign universities, while 31 percent admit an immense role of “marketing activity of the institution” on the Russian market: most of the applicants intend to visit educational exhibitions or use agency service, 17 percent are going to find program without any assistance.
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