Unique experience, international friends, different culture and education system, new professional contacts – these are just a few of the benefits our students get participating in student's exchange programmes that VSU offers its students every year. We've asked some of the students – participants of these programmes – to tell us about their experience.
Anastasiya Smolianinova, a third-year student of the Faculty of Romance and Germanic Philology, has just come back from Spain, where she was studying for a full semester at the Faculty of Philology of the University of Granada.
– This was a great experience for me. I enrolled on various courses, such as Methodology of teaching Spanish language, English classes, and History of the Spanish language. I also got to know Spanish culture better and now I know more about higher education in Europe. All the classes were in Spanish. We had two-hour lectures and workshops. What is different about the University of Granada is that they divide students into groups of five or six. There are two reasons for this: first, the number of students enrolling on a course may well reach 100, which makes it practically impossible for everyone to attend; second, the teachers want students to get to know each other better and to work together. The University of Granada is one of the oldest in Spain, and it welcomes students from all over the world. The university and its communities organise a variety of events for students, such as trips to other Spanish cities, hiking tours, national cuisine festivals, etc. At the University of Granada I also gathered a lot of material for my research project "Aspects of the speech intonation and tempo" and conducted one of the planned experiments – analysing these aspects in interviews with Spanish native speakers.
Maria Batischeva, a third-year student of the Faculty of Geography, Geoecology and Tourism, told us about her studies at the Faculty of Economics of the Leon University.
– I had classes in Food marketing, National heritage, Tourist Destinations, and Trade law. This semester gave me a lot of new experience and knowledge, and helped to broaden my mind. Meeting other international students also helped me a lot in learning about tourist destinations. My German groupmate has shown me her native town – Quedlinburg in the west of Saxony-Anhalt, whose old town is listed in the UNESCO world heritage list. I've also visited Berlin and Hamburg – the second largest city in Germany - as well as other tourist sites such as the ancient part of Rome, and the largest city in the South of Italy – Naples. The famous saying Vedi Napoli e poimuori (see Naples and die) has become so popular, that people now use it to describe other great places too. I also gathered a lot of material on various tourist destinations, national traditions and customs, and history of ancient cities and famous monuments.
Margarita Panferova, a second-year student of the Faculty of Romance and Germanic Philology, studied at the Faculty of Philosophy and Philology of Leon University.
– From the many classes available, I chose the ones that could give me the knowledge I can later use as a professional linguist – Sociolinguistics, Oral and written Spanish, History of the Spanish language, and English language course. The best thing about my trip is that I could practice my Spanish in real life. The experience has totally changed my outlook. The education process in Spain is quite different from the one in Russia, and at VSU in particular. We had, for example, a heated debate with our sociolinguistics teacher and with each other about the differences in vocabulary between men and women. At weekends and on holidays we used to go to various Spanish cities – Barcelona, Seville, Cádiz, and Salamanca (one of the most important university cities in Spain). All the trips were organised by AEGEE volunteers.
The University of San Carlos in Madrid is another Spanish partner of Voronezh State University. Anna Meremianina, a third-year student of the Faculty of International Relations, has recently come back from Madrid and shared her experience with us.
– I went to Spain in order to enrich my Spanish vocabulary with professional terms used in international relations. I studied the following courses: Military conflicts and international humanitarian law, International relations, Society and globalisation, International security, and Spanish language courses. I also worked on my research project "Democratization process in Russia". Studying abroad and getting into a completely different environment is a very useful experience for our students. They are given the chance to learn the subjects they need for their future profession, but that are not taught at VSU. Studying abroad thus improves students' professional competence and career opportunities.