SPbU is a one of the largest centres in Russia for learning Russian as a foreign language.  Oksana Chukhaeva, Director of the Additional Educational Programme Centre for Russian as a Foreign Language “Institute of the Russian Language and Culture” at SPbU told us what countries international students come from and what the most popular programmes are.

 St Petersburg University offers a wide range of programmes in the Russian language. The main programme for international students is “Russian Language as a Foreign Language” and comprises 19 main and 3 correction modules at various levels. Thus, the programme is designed both for those who would like to start Russian and for those who are willing to make it more fluent. The duration of the course is 4 weeks (80 hours) and at the end of the course students must take a test.

 — The programme is designed for people of various levels of Russian: from beginner to proficiency, — said Oksana Chukhaeva. — All international students who arrive at SPbU take an entrance test to assess their Russian language level and then they are placed into appropriate groups. As they make progress in Russian, they can move up a level at the programme. So they can pursue different prgrammes without having to dismiss from one programme to be enrolled on another.

Students can start the programme “Main Course” at any time during the whole year. At the end of the programme students are given a certificate of completion or can take a state test on the Russian language as a foreign language (ТРКИ, TORFL) to get an official certificate.

 Recently, SPbU has been actively engaged in developing programmes both for students and teachers with a particular focus on continuing education for philologists and philologists in Russian language and literature. For those who are willing to teach Russian as a foreign language in Russia and abroad, SPbU has opened a programme of professional retraining “Teaching Russian as a Foreign Language”. Anyone who has a degree, not necessarily in Philology, can start the programme.

 The majority of the centre’s students are international students who study Russian to enter a Russia’s university or pursue degree programmes at SPbU: from undergraduate to post-graduate programmes. Among other reasons why international students come to Russia is it provides an opportunity to delve into the Russian culture, language, and read Russian literature in original to name but a few. On the whole, SPbU has accepted international students from 65 countries worldwide. Among them China takes the lead, followed by South Korea and Japan. Europe is not an exception: mostly students come from Finland. Short-term courses attract students from Italy. SPbU has a partner relationship with a number of European universities and students can apply for exchange programmes. After a long pause British and American students are starting to gain interest in studying Russian. Each year, the number of students is constantly rising: in 2014 the Centre enrolled 1,431 students, in 2015 — 1,838 students, and in 2016— as many as 2,166 students. Although there are many Russian citizens among students, it is international students who make up an overwhelming majority.

 The Additional Educational Programme Centre for Russian as a Foreign Language is one of the largest centres in St Petersburg and Russia. St Petersburg can boast unrivalled experience in teaching Russian and its own approach to teaching methods, which is highly praised by its students and partners. Apart from the lessons, students can have focused events and memory events to get a brief insight into Russian history and culture. SPbU holds Open Days for international students to get information on admissions and educational programmes for international students at SPbU.

At times the world is more keen on learning Russian, at other times it is less. It is like a wave and sand and it will never disappear, said Oksana Chukhaeva.  — Russia is rich in history, culture and science. And the Russian language is an only means to delve deeper into the Russia’s experience. The Russian language is a language of one of the largest university worldwide. It is a state language of the Russian Federation, an official language in the UN and UNESCO, and is gradually becoming a language of international communication, which makes it popular worldwide.