The Faculty of Philology of Voronezh State University and the University of Göttingen offer the master's double degree programme "Russian Literature in the European Context". The students competing the programme will study in two universities: Voronezh State University and the University of Göttingen and will receive degrees from both universities. The programme started in 2015. The head of the programme is the head of the Department of Foreign Literature of Voronezh State University, Andrey Faustov (DSc in Philology), the Coordinator of Relations between Voronezh State University and the University of Göttingen is Professor Matthias Freise (the University of Göttingenn), and the head of the programme at the Slavic Department of the University of Göttingen is a research fellow from the University of Göttingen, Ksenia Kuzminykh.
'The master's programme "Russian Literature in the European Context" at the Faculty of Philology is unique not only for Voronezh State University but for Russian educational environment as a whole,' says Ksenia Nagina, DSc in Philology, professor at the Department of Foreign Literature of the Faculty of Philology of Voronezh State University. 'Now, Russian students regularly travel abroad and it is not something out of the ordinary. If you are determined and demonstrate good knowledge of a foreign language, you can spend a term or even more in a European partner university as an exchange student. Our master's programme is different. It is not an exchange programme, it is a chance to study simultaneously at two universities. Our master students are enrolled at Voronezh State University and the University of Göttingen. They study for one or two terms at the University of Göttingen, pass exams, write their master's dissertation and get two diplomas: of our university and the University of Göttingen. They get a master's degree in Slavic Philology. The diploma is issued in two languages, English and German. The English diploma says: "Master of Arts “with distinction” in Slavic Philology". When studying in Göttingen, students get a EU scholarship. They have enough money to travel around Europe."
"The only disadvantage of the master's programme is that it sounds too incredible. A semester in Russian in the oldest German university, a hefty scholarship, a double degree, free language courses with a native speaker, how could I even dream about this? Of course, you have to work hard if you want to enrol on the programme but it is worth it: after the enrolment, we had an unforgettable time full of interesting lectures and workshops, meetings with new people, impressive libraries, and trips around Europe. Many people think that a foreign language can be a problem when doing a master's degree programme but there is no need to worry about it: all compulsory courses are in Russian. And lecturers from both universities help master's students: starting with preparing the documents for the registration in the town hall and finishing with everyday problems," says master's degree student Yulia Tsai.
In Germany, master's students have a chance to complete main courses in Russian. All German lecturers speak several Slavic languages, including Russian. However, students also learn German. The educational system allows students to choose themselves additional subjects and the most popular among them are German and English.
Traditionally, among master's students are not only graduates of the Faculty of Philology but students who graduated from different faculties of VSU.
"I completed a bachelor's programme at the Faculty of Journalism. I chose a master's programme at the Faculty of Philology because of two things: an opportunity to live and study in Germany and a double degree which will be considered as a big advantage by my future employers. What's more, completing a master's programme at another faculty is a wonderful opportunity to extend your knowledge or even to train for another speciality. All disciplines in the master's programme were new to me and almost all of them were very interesting,' says the master's programme graduate, Maria Boboshko.
"People in Göttingen are very hospitable both to lecturers and students. I know it from my own experience," says Ksenia Nagina. "My trip to Göttingen was in January 2019 and I spent nearly a month with our students there. The programme is organised in such a way that lecturers from the University of Göttingen and our university "change places": we visit their university, and they visit ours. This time, I gave lectures in Göttingen and enjoyed my visit: the university itself and the communication with my colleagues and students".
"When studying at the University of Göttingen, you can see Germany "from inside", see its everyday and social life in a different way, not the way it is seen by tourists. I remember my trip as a wonderful but also a very valuable time. We studied new approaches to literature and the German language but we also found time for fun, enjoyable student's life, and travelling. I would like to thank VSU, our faculty, the heads of the programme, and all the people who organised our trip," says a master's graduate, Anna Shamshina.
In 15 years time, the University of Göttingen will celebrate its three hundredth anniversary. It was founded in the first half of the 18th century and soon developed into one of the largest institutes of higher education of those times. In the 19th century, it was popular among Russian noble class. It is not by accident that Pushkin sent a character of his novel, Vladimir Lensky, to study there. In the end of the century, the university turned into "the mathematical Mecca", and in the first decades of the 20th century, it became the centre of development of many areas of contemporary physics. 45 Nobel prize winners are associated with the University of Göttingen. According to different rankings, the university is among five-ten top German universities and 100–150 most prestigious universities in the world.