ITMO International Days: International Collaboration as One of the Main Trends

In her welcome address, Daria Kozlova, ITMO's Vice Rector for International Relations, greeted foreign colleagues and shared some of the milestones in terms of ITMO’s international strategy and infrastructure development. She emphasized creative student environment as a contributing factor to efficient educational training; Vice Rector also spoke about ITMO’s international research activities and the five Schools offering a variety of programs to students from different countries.

“Each semester we welcome students from all over the world. As of now, there are students from 71 countries enrolled in different majors. Some pursue their studies in Russian, some - in English; it depends on the language proficiency and programs’ goals. We offer all kinds of programs: short-term and long-term programs, courses of Russian as a foreign language, summer schools, double degree programs, etc.”  - Daria Kozlova shares. 

According to Ekaterina Tulugurova, head of ITMO’s International Educational Programs Department, this year most guests represented the universities that, despite a long collaboration history with ITMO, had never taken part in International Days before; the only exception was the delegation from the ITMO’s long-standing partner, University of Eastern Finland. Among the newcomers were ParisTech, University of Technology of Troyes and ESIEE Paris from France, Tampere University of Technology, University of Eastern Finland and JAMK University of Applied Sciences from Finland and Ilmenau University of Technology  from Germany.

“We follow the same strategy as in the previous years: we show our guests as much of ITMO as possible: its laboratories, buildings, departments, and get them to meet our faculty and researchers. It goes without saying that we want to see talented and motivated students at our university. Our focus on Photonics, optics and computer science doesn't mean that ITMO has no programs in other areas of science to offer. We regularly receive applications for our programs in economics, mechatronics, physics, chemistry, etc. We base our assessment and a subsequent decision on student’s scores and motivation,” Ekaterina Tulugurova comments .

At ITMO International Days, participants try to come up with new joint initiatives to enhance their international collaboration. For instance, ITMO University and ParisTech are considering launching a new joint educational program this year.

According to the organizers, collaboration with the French university has been developing quite successfully, and many students from both sides traditionally participate in academic mobility programs, including those within Erasmus+. ParisTech has a great optical institution, and its representatives have come to ITMO to discuss a possibility of launching a double degree program. The main bottleneck is the difference in master’s programs’ duration: in ParisTech, master’s students study for three years, compared to two years at ITMO. Yet representatives of both parties promised to find a solution.

On the first day the participants got a tour of ITMO’s Museum of Optics and FabLab. Later in the day they participated in the roundtable discussions on soft skills for technical students, as well as discussed the importance of strategic partnerships.

On the second day, ITMO students got a chance to learn of the partner universities and ask questions about academic mobility programs, educational process and living conditions, which are specifically crucial for those who will be studying at one of these universities in the fall semester. Such initiatives help students build up self confidence and acclimate to a new educational environment more smoothly. The second day’s sessions were devoted to ITMO’s best practices of international student recruitment and support as well as efficiency of online resources. During the second day of ITMO International Days, the participants also got a chance to learn about the German governmental student support program DAAD and discuss how tuition correlates with education's quality.