On 9 June, the university administration and representatives of the Faculty of Philology held an online meeting with representatives of Shanghai University of Political Science and Law in the White Hall of the main university building. The meeting discussed the opening of a centre of Chinese language and culture at VSU and a centre of Russian language and culture in Shanghai. It also considered the possibility of Chinese students coming to study at the Faculty of Philology and an academic staff exchange programme between VSU and Shanghai University.
VSU Rector Dmitry Endovitsky pointed out the importance of such collaboration:
“I’d like to stress the current need for specialists speaking two languages, Russian and Chinese, both in Russia and in China. It is crucial for the ambitious international project “One Belt, One Road”. Another project which can benefit from our activities is the “North Arctic Route” implemented by the icebreaking fleet of Russia. The rapid melting of polar ice caps will facilitate the fast and safe delivery of goods from Europe to Southeast Asia. This also requires specialists who speak both Russian and Chinese. Hence, our activities will benefit our partner states”.
“Our university is still young. It was founded in 1984. Today, we have about 500 teachers and 1,000 students. Most of them specialise in law studies. Our institute of languages and culture has the largest number of staff: it employs about 800 teachers and about 200 students (a third of them are from Russia and Central Asia). Our students study Russian and English, as well as Chinese as a foreign language. Last year we obtained approval for our master’s degree programme in translation from Russian into Chinese,” said Hua Li, Deputy Director of the Institute of Languages and Culture of Shanghai University of Political Science and Law.
The participants of the meeting also discussed summer and winter language schools for Chinese students at VSU, and the prospects of creating textbooks and study guides jointly by Russian and Chinese linguists.
The Dean of the Faculty of Philology Zhanna Gracheva shared her experience of teaching Chinese students at the faculty and stressed the importance of face-to-face learning.
“Direct, i.e. face-to-face learning lets students immerse themselves in the environment and feel all the subtleties of the language. During the pandemic, we’ve seen that online learning is in this regard less effective than offline learning”.
The representatives of both universities agreed to prepare all the documents and do all the preparatory work to sign agreements concerning the language centres.
“I hope we will be able to meet offline in Shanghai to sign the agreements. And we are looking forward to seeing our colleagues in Voronezh,” said Yulia Svetashova, Head of the Chinese Centre of VSU.