TPU and leading Science and Technology universities of Europe to help international students better adapt in new environment

Tomsk Polytechnic University became a member of a large European project, supported by EU grant under the Erasmus + Strategic Partnerships program. Together with leading Science and Technology (S&T) universities of Europe, university specialists will address the phenomenon of international student adaptation in a holistic and comprehensive manner and develop new solutions to create a comfortable environment at universities, thus enabling international students and staff to feel at home.

"This grant is highly important for the University since it was specifically designed for European universities and Russian universities tend not to participate in it. We became a member of this European project mostly due to our experience in international cooperation and work with international students.

TPU entered the project as a member university in the Consortium Linking Universities of Science and Technology for Education and Research – CLUSTER. TPU acts as a bridge between Russian and European universities. Our colleagues have long appreciated TPU expertise in the international academic environment”,

— says Svetlana Rybushkina, Head of International Programs Office.

For two years, Tomsk Polytechnic University has participated in a priority project of the Russian Ministry of Science and Higher Education. Currently, there are international students from 48 countries at TPU: Austria, Australia, Brazil, Germany, Egypt, India, Iran, Cyprus, China, Mongolia, USA, Czech Republic, and France. The share of international students is 28%. The University implements 16 network Master's programs, 13 of them in collaboration with international partner universities. TPU has an effective system of adaptation for international students.

The main participants in the supported project are leading European universities of the international rankings top league. This is KTH Royal Institute of Technology (Sweden), Eindhoven University of Technology (Netherlands), Technische Universität (TU) Darmstadt (Germany), Universidad Politecnica di Catalunya (Spain), Graz University of Technology (Austria), and Institute Superior Tecnico (Portugal).

Together they are going to develop a support and adaptation system for international students to expand the attractiveness and effectiveness of academic mobility programs.

The participation of Russian HEI is very important. The point is that today Russia ranks second after China in the number of international students who come to study in Europe for various programs. Unlike internal European academic mobility that is at a good level with students being integrated into the European academic environment, students who come, let us say, from Russia have more adaptation-related challenges.

Therefore, on the one hand, our participation in the project allows us to explain the needs of Russian students to the European academic environment. On the other hand, Tomsk Polytechnic University has many interesting practices to share with our European partners.

 — says Svetlana Rybushkina.

Under the project, experts will explore various practices to work with international students and offer specific tools to attract international applicants, starting with positioning the University in the global academic space, adapting students for the first time abroad, and ending up with the period when they graduate and become the ambassadors of their alma mater.

“We plan to apply business approaches to these processes so that international students being our clients will be satisfied with the academic process. At the University, the various structures, engaged in work with applicants and students, will join the project”, — says the specialist.

The project has already started and the first kick-off meeting of the working groups will be held this fall in the Netherlands.