In May 2017, a representative office of St Petersburg University was opened in one of the leading universities of the Republic of Korea - the Hankuk University of Foreign Languages. St Petersburg University has been cooperating with it for many years.

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Ekaterina Babelyuk, the first vice-rector for academic, extracurricular and methodological work of St Petersburg University took part in the awarding ceremony of the winners of the VIII All-Korean Russian Language Competition. She spoke about the prospects for the development of the university centre in Korea and the interaction of St Petersburg University, which has the oldest school of Korean studies in Russia, with Korean universities.

Annually, universities of the Republic of Korea produce dozens of specialists in the Russian language, whose future profession is connected with Russia. Do you think that the representation of St Petersburg University in Seoul can become a platform for the formation of business contacts between such alumni and employers?

Representation of the University in Korea was opened specifically to use all the resources of St Petersburg University to promote our educational programmes among both Korean students and students studying in our educational programmes that include the Russian language with other subjects. Another task is to develop contacts with Korean companies. This allows us to acquaint representatives of organisations of the Republic of Korea, as well as graduates of the University oriented to work with Korean business, with the business potential of Russia including St Petersburg and the Leningrad region.

During your visit to Hankuk University and Seoul University, the possibility was discussed of providing online courses at St Petersburg University for Korean students. Is it planned to open access to Korean online courses for Russian students?

Despite the fact that St Petersburg and Korea share thousands of kilometres, we will be happy if our students have an opportunity to study Korea, and for Korean students to study our country. If we talk about closer contacts, then there is such an approved format as distance learning through online courses. Seoul University and Hankuk University are interested in our courses, and we hope that thanks to this form of education, Korean students will learn more about St Petersburg University and about Russian science. For its part, St Petersburg University is ready to provide Korean universities with the opportunity to post online versions of their educational programmes on our platform to teach students of the University. In particular, Seoul University offered us its own course in the Korean language, and we consider this proposal interesting.

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Currently, the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation is working to create a draft agreement between Russia and the Republic of Korea on the joint recognition of education. Does St Petersburg University consider it important to sign it?

The existence of such an agreement will significantly help develop the educational contacts between Russian and Korean universities. Practice shows that the adoption of the agreement on joint recognition of education increases the intensity of academic contacts. An example is the intergovernmental agreement between Russia and France.

What plans does the Korean representation of St Petersburg University have?

Together with the pro-rector of the Hankuk University of Foreign Languages ​​Kim Hyun Taek, we discussed many different projects that can be implemented on the basis of our office in Seoul. For example, in the future it is planned to hold thematic webinars of teachers, cross-screenings, organise exhibitions of students works, screenings of a series of video materials of Russian students at Hankuk University and the works of Korean universities' students in St Petersburg University, and other events.

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