Forum for students to learn Russian abroad

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Forum for students to learn Russian abroad

An increasing number of Korean students want to study in Russia or in a Russian-speaking country, but often face frustration because of the lack of information available.

In order to provide direct and accurate information for students wishing to study in Russia or Belarus, the countries’ two embassies co-hosted the second Russia-Belarus Education Information Exchange Forum on Saturday at the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in northern Seoul. The forum was supported by Info Belarus, an alumni association of students who went to school in Belarus, and Russian associations with Internet portal sites that provide information related to studying in Russia, Lovers of Russia and Experts of Russia Cafe.

Russian Ambassador Konstantin Vnukov told the students that he hoped for a thriving three-way exchange among Russia, Belarus and Korea in the 21st century.

“Twenty years of diplomatic relations between Korea and my country has lead to a great interest in each other,” said Belarusian Ambassador Natallia Zhylevich. “The basis of our cooperation in education was made in 2004 when we signed an agreement on cooperation in education, culture and information. Today we have 11 universities that signed MOUs between the countries.”

Professor Kim Hyun-taek, a Russian expert at Hankuk University, provided the students background on studying abroad in Russia and also a brief overview of the various schools. He also described to the students some of the common misconceptions that people hold of Russia, such as that it’s too dangerous or too cold. “It’s true that outside it’s cold, but Russia is well-heated indoors,” he said. “In fact, with the strange weather here these days, temperatures in Korea may be lower.” The professor said that based on 2010 statistics, there were almost 900 students studying in Russia.

Kim Kang-jin, 25, a Russian studies student at Hallym University in Chuncheon, Gangwon, attended the forum. “Everybody takes English, Chinese or Japanese as a second language,” he said. “I wanted to take Russian because I felt like it would become an increasingly relevant language.” Though Kim has studied the language for three years, he wants to improve his skills by studying abroad. He and three other students from his university learned about the forum through their school and the Lovers of Russia Naver site.

“I’ve been to Russia before, so I wanted to find out information about studying abroad in Belarus this time. I heard it is affordable, and I will be able to improve my Russian skills,” said Kim. “And also, the women there are very attractive.”

By Sarah Kim []
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