Studying in Summer is Useful, Amusing and Pleasant!
Of course, only if not talking about arrears and repeating exams, but about the International Polytech Summer School! And it was greatly proved by Deputy Director of SPbPU International Educational Programs Office Olga Gennadyevna EMELYANOVA.
Today, it is impossible to imagine high-quality education without an international component – ideally, every student should at least once go to study abroad. The most convenient format of such trips is short educational modules, e.g. Summer Schools. Any students of a Russian or a foreign university can participate in the Polytech's Summer School, which is usually held from the end of March to the end of September - in order to do so, they should visit the School's web-site and fill in the application form; coordinators of the Summer School will contact them afterwards. It is important that studying imply not only lectures, but also participating in project and research work, tutorials and tours to factories, and, of course, an extensive cultural program, including such famous places as the Hermitage, places and parks of Peterhof, Pushkin, Pavlovsk, and so on.
- Olga Gennadyevna, it is the fourth Summer School. Tell us, please, how did it all start?
- It started with courses of the Russian language. Such courses have been conducted for a long time and are popular in many cities. They are designed for those, who want to combine education and cultural programs. This refers to the Russian language. However, a new trend is to study special subjects. In 2005, since the interest in Russia was growing, we introduced a course in economics and business in the Russian Federation. We constantly follow educational trends in Europe and have noticed that the leading European universities started to offer courses, which cannot be found in other places, i.e. if a university is good at something, it creates a unique module on a particular subject.
Our Summer School, which first started, as you have already said, four years ago, quickly became very popular. We selected special areas, where Polytech is traditionally very strong at. For example, our university has always been among the leaders of the world rankings in physics and fundamental science, therefore our first engineering module in 2012 was “Plasma Physics”. At the Summer School of our university students even got an opportunity to run experiments with the unique device “Tokamak”.
- And what is the Polytech's Summer School today?
- Every year new modules are launched. For example, this year, the International Summer School of SPbPU includes 26 modules in different fields: such as science modules – physics, mathematics, and mechanics; applied modules – civil engineering, power engineering, IT, architecture, design; and traditional modules – the Russian language and culture, economics, and business.
It is important that students of the Summer School have an opportunity to attend different modules at the same time – for example, the Russian Language and Information Technologies. Flexible schedule allows the participants to create individual educational trajectory.
- Which educational modules are the most popular and why?
- Our courses on civil engineering are popular due to their innovativeness and professors from partner universities (TU Graz, Tallinn Technical University, City University London. – editor's note). They are as popular as power engineering modules, which are taught by visiting professors from the leading partner universities: the Polytechnic University of Milan, the University of Genoa, Lappeenranta University of Technology, Chech Technical University, and so on. Apart from that, courses on power engineering in our country are in high demand among international students, because Russia is the global leader in this field. Modules on the Russian language are traditionally popular because Saint Petersburg is the cultural capital of Russia and Polytech has 50 years of experience in teaching Russian to international students.
- How many students (and from what countries) are attending our Summer School this year?
- The geography of our participants is traditionally wide, it is about 50 countries. Students from Brazil and Germany, Egypt and Switzerland, Italy and Japan come to us. As a rule, our school is traditionally popular with European students but, starting from the last year, there are more students from China and students from Luxembourg, Trinidad and Tobago, Singapore, and Jamaica have come to us this year for the first time. It is expected that about 500 students will attend the Polytech's Summer School in 2016.
- What, in your opinion, makes foreigners come to our Summer School?
- Firstly, Polytech is already a famous university brand which is well-known for the quality of education, and the International Polytech Summer School provides unique courses and equipment, for students to work with. Secondly, Polytech grants acceptable tuition fees and scholarships to, students if there is an exchange or collaboration agreement between SPbPU and their universities. For example, this year, as a result of the competition 212 students have received a scholarship, which partially or fully has covered their expenses of education and accommodation. Thirdly, taking into account that Saint Petersburg is one of the most beautiful and busy cities in the world, traditionally attractive to travelers and tourists, we provide dormitories for international students, which is especially important during tourist seasons, when it is almost impossible to find affordable rooms at the city hotels.
Besides, it is also the experience of intercultural communication and the opportunity to practice languages: all courses at the Summer Scool are in English, therefore both Russian and international students have to confirm their level of the English language (not lower than B+). And finally, the academic load at our School is measured not in hours but in credits (ECTS or US credits). Credits are given for all modules – it is an international tradition. Thus, after returning home and presenting a certificate, students have an opportunity to transfer credits for the studied subjects and, if they attended a specialized module in summer, then they can spend less time on lectures and seminars at their universities during the next academic year.
- Why is the Summer School project so important for Polytech?
- The master’s degree and post-graduate courses, or even an exchange semester abroad are serious practices. The International Polytech Summer School allows students to familiarize themselves with the country, the city, and the university within a short period of time and to decide on visiting Russia and studying at the Polytechnic University for a longer time. Every year after Summer School, we have students who come back for an exchange semester or decide to get a diploma or a degree at SPbPU.
- Thank you for the interview, Olga Gennadyevna!
Media Center, SPbPU