From China to Russia: Why Chinese Students Choose to Study in Saint-Petersburg Mining University

Report Post

Chinese students prefer to take their chances on studying abroad. However, strong demand, for the most part, remains unmet. The Chinese labor market is facing difficulties at the moment, with large-scale dismissals taking place. Industrial automation and slowdown in economic growth are the factors that influence the market. But while production workers get replaced with robots, high-qualified engineers are becoming the ones most sought-after.

Zhao Fuming, Master’s Student at the Oil & Gas Engineering Faculty in the Mining University: “In China, I went to a private school where I studied Russian as a foreign language. By the time I graduated from school, I had decided to study oil & gas. This is a sector our countries have been closely collaborating in. There is a China University of Mining and Technology I could apply for, but I wanted to study in Russia. Firstly, a diploma certificate from a foreign university is more valued. And secondly, it is almost impossible to be admitted to that university.”

When Zhao Fuming came to Russia, he was surprised by the lack of restrictions in universities, particularly on the use of research labs. In China, no student is allowed to enter laboratories without a written consent approved by the principal or vice-principal, obtaining which is not an easy task. Russian students, on the contrary, can visit labs whenever they want to, they only have to notify the teacher in advance.

Industrial placement practices also differ. Chinese students apply for internships once they are in their third or fourth year of study. Russian students get their first field experience in the first year. Thus, they can understand their career aspirations before they graduate.

Zhang Xuhuizi was born in Karamay, a city in the north of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. In 1955, one of the largest oil fields in China was discovered in the region, which was the primary reason for building the city. Over time, the city has grown into an oil-producing and refining centre.

Zhang Xuhuizi, a student at the Mining University, about the reasons behind her study choice: “My great-grandmother was Russian, which undoubtedly affected my decision to come to study to Russia. By the time I finished school, I had already known that I wanted to study here, and I decided to apply for one of the universities in St. Petersburg. I came to the conclusion that the Mining University was the best option given the high demand for engineers. Now all I need is a Master’s Degree to launch my career in China.”

Zhao Fuming adds: “When my studies commenced, there were only 15 Chinese students at the Mining University. By now, that figure has increased several times. The university has also become more popular in my country, mostly through extensive international work.”

In July, St. Petersburg Mining University hosts an event of international importance – the Forum-Contest of Young Researchers “Topical issues of rational use of natural resources”. It is aimed at scientists and students coming from the BRICS countries and is itself part of the BRICS summit. This year, over a hundred Chinese guests are expected to participate in the contest.