For over 10 years Voronezh State University has been collaborating with the Oxford Russia Fund, whose scholarship programme is currently implemented by 20 Russian universities. The programme aims at encouraging research and practical activities by talented students of the humanities, social sciences, and economics.
We talked to a second-year master’s degree student of the Faculty of Philosophy and Psychology and a staff member of VSU library, Yury Malik, about studying at the faculty and his title of the Scholarship Holder of the Oxford Russia Fund. He said that it is important to have enough courage to submit your application for the scholarship competition. You should also be very enthusiastic and use all the opportunities provided by the fund, i.e. participate in various workshops and conferences.
“Philosophy has broadened by mind and taught me to be moderately sceptical about the things we are used to. The faculty is my second home now. Due to its location, it has managed to create a sort of close community. We all feel like a family here: everyone knows each other, the groups are quite small, and each faculty member teaches several courses, which is also a huge advantage. At the faculty, students are given certain freedom, they may choose whatever research topic they like. But this freedom is intertwined with great responsibility. Philosophy is a special science, you can’t be superficial about it. It requires a thoughtful and thorough approach. It gives you a chance to see what the humanities can give you and to gain a unique experience. I heard about the scholarship programme of the ORF at the beginning of my second year at the university, and in the second term decided to submit my application. It wasn’t the money I wanted. I wanted to try my luck, to see what the competition task was, and to prove, first of all to myself, that I could do it. I’ve been the scholarship holder for four years now, and I can say that the ORF has given me a lot of opportunities and strengthened my belief in the humanities and education in this sphere”, said Yury.
The scholarship is awarded on a competitive basis. In order to participate in the competition, students submit an online application form, where they describe the key aspects of their research, and name academic, social, and cultural achievements they have made while studying at university. The winners of the competition receive a monthly scholarship paid over ten months (September – June). Furthermore, the fund seeks to promote the balanced development and personal growth of the scholarship holders by organising several scientific and practical events every year. Originally they were traditional scientific conferences, but today they are mainly practice-oriented workshops and schools.
“In the summer of 2017, I started participating in the workshops, conferences, master classes, and other events organised by the Oxford Russia Fund. Each workshop is unique, has its own charm and specifics. The participants of the workshops have to complete a certain competition task, and it is not only the scholarship holders who can take part. The fund often invites other students and young teachers from partner universities to participate. Their workshops are different from the usual academic environment. They are usually interdisciplinary and involve group work. It is a unique learning environment, where you study certain phenomena together with experts and supervisors using various approaches and methods. For example, the research topic may be “Free time and free times”, “The concept of fashion”, or “Horizons of expectation”.
I think that the Oxford Russia Fund provides arts students with a great support, and it is not sensible to ignore the scholarship competition and the chance to take part in workshops and grow together with the fund. It is an excellent opportunity to test your own abilities and start believing in yourself. My advice for those, who are considering participating in the programme right now is to stay focused, to set a clear goal and to pursue it persistently in your research, academic studies, and career”, said the scholarship holder.
Every year, 73 students of Voronezh State University are awarded scholarships of the ORF and become members of this respected community. Information about the fund and its events is provided to students of all the humanities faculties of the university by appointed coordinators. It is also available at the university’s website and official social network pages.