Interview of the USUE Rector Yakov Silin in the journal «Accreditation in Education»

This year Ural State University of Economics celebrates its 50th anniversary. During these years the University graduated more than 110 thousand highly qualified specialists. More than 18 thousand students, including foreign students, study at Ural State University of Economics today.

Questions to the editors of Accreditation in Education are answered by the Rector of Ural State University of Economics, Doctor of Economics Yakov Petrovich Silin..

- What is the role of international cooperation in the activities of USUE?

- The University pays much attention to this area of work. Today students from 32 countries of the world study at the University, and this number is growing. 80% of the total number of students are citizens of the former union republics.

An important role in the decision to arrive at Yekaterinburg and study at USUE is played by the participation of foreign students in the Eurasian Economic Youth Forum (EEYF). This Forum is Eurasian in spirit and worldwide in geography initiative association of intellectual youth from different countries. EEYF has been gathered since 2009, when the international youth business game "Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit-2039" was held in Yekaterinburg, which became the founder of the forum at USUE.

For eight years, more than 15 thousand people from 70 countries of the world took part in EEYF. The forum is supported by the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation, Rosmolodezh, the Governor and the Government of the Sverdlovsk Region. Participants are schoolchildren, students, postgraduates, young scientists, and specialists from 16 to 35 years old. This year, VIII Forum was held on the topic: "Eurasian Space: Good-Neighborliness and Strategic Partnership". About two thousand people have taken part in congresses of economists, financiers, innovators, specialists in the field of service technologies, schoolchildren, international competitions, Olympiads, and public lectures.

Among foreign distinguished guests of the forum there were ambassadors of Benin Aniset Gabriel Kochofa, Equatorial Guinea Jose Esono Micha Akeng, Central African Republic Claude Bezot, President of the Association of Foreign Students of Russia (AIS) Yao Adu Nikase (Cote d'Ivoire}.

Interaction between the University and diplomatic missions allows attracting active youth of foreign countries to participate not only in EEYF, but also in educational programs of USUE.

- How does the University develop its relations with the Association of Foreign Students of Russia?

- We fruitfully and systematically do interact. On February 17, 2012 the constituent assembly of the Association of Foreign Students of Yekaterinburg was held. The headquarters of the AIS operates at Ural State University of Economics. Thanks to it, foreign students of all universities of the city meet at our University for creative and educational self-fulfillment and for improving all the work, learning and living conditions with us. Representatives of the Yekaterinburg Association are members of the executive committee of the organization, which is based in Moscow at the Russian University of Peoples' Friendship.

- Yakov Petrovich, please tell us about other significant international events at the University.

- As part of the celebration of the University's birthday, last December there was a Cultures Festival "Around the World in 7 Days!" with participation of Ambassadors Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Benin, the Republic of Nicaragua, the Republic of Guinea-Bissau to Russia, and the President of AIS in Russia. Foreign students presented their countries: they held culinary master classes and an exhibition of the peoples of the world, showed national concert numbers, met with Andrei Sobolev, Minister for International and External Economic Relations of the Sverdlovsk region, and attended a roundtable with the participation of ambassadors from Africa and Latin America. From now , the festival will be held regularly.

No less interesting is the project «Hour of Diplomat", within the framework of which students become acquainted with the work of diplomatic missions, learn new information about different countries of the world, about their cooperation with the Urals and Russia. Experts of the project have already been ambassadors extraordinary and plenipotentiary and consuls general of Benin, Belarus, Azerbaijan, China, Spain, Czech Republic, and Hungary.

This February, the All-Russian Olympiad in Russian language was held at Ural State University of Economics for foreign students studying in Russia. 210 participants from 67 universities came from 50 countries of Asia, Africa, Europe, America, Middle East, CIS, and Baltic States. The event of this format was held for the first time in Russia. The main objectives of the event were: improving the level of language training, increasing interest in learning the Russian language and cultural and historical traditions of the country, realizing the creative potential of students. The winners were participants from China, Mongolia, and Kazakhstan. A fairly high level of knowledge of the Russian language was shown by students from Slovenia, Taiwan, and Croatia. For their love to the Russian language, they received valuable prizes.

- Is your university popular among entrants from other countries,?

- According to the requirements of the Ministry of Education, foreigners must constitute at least one percent of the total number of students of a Russian university. We have three per cent. Why do they come to us, if the most popular universities are in Moscow and St. Petersburg? I asked this question to foreigners. They responded like this: you are the only specialized economic university in the Urals, you are training high-class specialists. Secondly, foreigners consider that in the Middle Urals, where representatives of 160 nationalities live together, they would feel themselves comfortable and protected. They understand that with our education it will be possible to find decent work both in their countries and in Russia.

At the moment, USUE has 109 agreements on international cooperation with foreign institutions. Inter-university agreements have been signed and are being implemented with educational institutions of 29 countries, including universities in Kazakhstan, Germany, France, China, South Korea, Belarus and other countries

We run double degree programs, academic mobility of teaching staff and students, and joint research and conferences. USUE students study at foreign partner universities: more than half of the students participating in academic exchange programs received scholarship support in the framework of the Erasmus + project for study at the University of Trento (Italy) and Varna University of Management (Bulgaria). The number of exchange students increases every year.

- Do young people from other countries who already know Russian come to you?

- The Russian language is spoken mostly by students who came from CIS countries. For applicants from the far-abroad countries who are not proficient in Russian, there is the Faculty of Pre-University Training for foreign citizens, where they take classes in additional educational programs in Russian for admission to higher educational institutions of the Russian Federation.

- What does studying in the university give to our students, where they have many peers from different countries?

- Joint training provides good practice of communication, including language. Students not only study together but also rest, play sports, immerse themselves in culture. Our students are open to foreign guests. And foreign students, in turn, become real "people's ambassadors" of Russia in their countries when they return there. They tell their fellow citizens about the Urals and Russia, about what they learned and what they saw.

- What are the plans for the international development of the University?

- First, to expand the list of countries from which students come to us to study and to increase their total number. For example, last year, for the first time, 12 people from China entered the University, who were trained on an individual program. In addition to studying the Russian language, they also had a number of subjects: international etiquette and protocol, customs regulations, foundations of international trade, and others. The arrival of these students became possible after the conclusion of an agreement with Shihezi University. Next academic year, we also plan the arrival of a group of students from China; an agreement has already been signed.

Secondly, the university plans to take part in the preparation and holding of the XIX World Festival of Youth and Students in Sochi. Now we are recruiting students and volunteers to participate in this event.

USUE was awarded the honor to host in May 2018 the All-Russian sport Olympiad among foreign students. Students will compete for the right to become champions in the following sports: basketball, football, volleyball, table tennis, rock climbing, sambo, chess, etc.

I want to note the importance of working out the communication skills with representatives of different ethnic groups, countries, societies, and religious confessions. Teachers of the University need to be able to teach everyone, because the language of economics is universal.

Ural State University of Economics is the only specialized economic university in the Urals. We are striving to become one of the best universities in the field of economic training in Russia, so that students from all over the world would come to study with us. And we have the potential for development.


Rector of Ural State University of Economics Doctor of Economics, Professor at the Department of Regional and Municipal Economics and Management

Yakov Petrovich Silin

This year Ural State University of Economics celebrates its 50th anniversary. During these years the University graduated more than 110 thousand highly qualified specialists. More than 18 thousand students, including foreign students, study at Ural State University of Economics today.

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