Every year more and more students from different countries around the world choose South Ural State University for their higher education studies. Today over 2,000 students from 37 countries from around the globe are studying at SUSU in various specialties and fields. And in a little while new foreign students will come to study at our University. To help our foreign students adapt to life in Russia and studying in a Russian university, a Center for Sociocultural Adaptation was established at SUSU in 2016.
The Center for Sociocultural Adaptation is a part of a big project on ensuring comfortable accommodation of foreign students – М.3.3.2 “Developing infrastructure of the bilingual environment, forming linguistic and intercultural competences of the employees” fulfilled at South Ural State University within the framework of Project 5-100 under supervision of Elena Doronina.
“The majority of foreign students initially do not speak Russian at all and have quite a hard time adopting to new studying and household conditions, that is why our Center gives its assistance regarding adaptation at the University and in Russia in general. We have a team of the SUSU students acting as volunteers – both volunteers helping with studies, and volunteers helping to get to know the culture of our country better and to organize leisure activities of foreign students. Together we go to theatres, cafes, movies, take walks around our city and excursions to the places of interest in the region,” says the Head of the Center for Sociocultural Adaptation, Dina Valeeva.
The volunteers helping with studies normally come from the same classes where foreign students are studying. They help with the process of studying, introduce the foreign students to our professors, give tours of the University indicating where and what is located, show the classes’ timetables, and even help taking notes at lectures. Trainings on intercultural communication are regularly held for our volunteers. English language trainings and courses are also organized for the employees of dormitories, library and the students’ Human Resources Department. The skills of speaking English will help our employees communicate with the students more efficiently and understand each other more easily.
“Every week we hold meetings at our Conversation Club, where our foreign students speak only Russian. The Center employees and volunteers help communicate and keep up conversations on various topics. They also make sure the guests of our Club do not switch to their native languages and avoid serious mistakes. The meetings at our Conversation Club are held in small groups, so that each guest would feel comfortable and could freely speak out in Russian,” explains Dina Valeeva.
In the course of the year the Center for Sociocultural Adaptation organizes various events, so that our foreign students could feel themselves at home. In winter we take them skiing, skating and tubing. They always widely celebrate the days of their national cultures. One of the most memorable events of this summer for our foreign students has become a trip to the Olimp Student Sport and Health Center. There the young people had everyday workout sessions, attended to musical classes and interactive lessons.
Amr Zivana (a student from Syria):
“Moving to a new country and studying of a new language is very difficult, but when you get to meet people, as I did, everything becomes wonderful, because they are very kind and their hearts are white as snow. Now, after seven months here I know that it doesn’t matter what language you speak because feelings don’t need translation. And finally, I can only say that I love Chelyabinsk, SUSU and the Conversation Club, who helped me acquire a big family that will stay in my heart forever.”
Anastasia Ustselemova (a volunteer of the Center for Sociocultural Adaptation):
“I got to know about the Center for Sociocultural Adaptation six months ago and it fascinated me. I have always wished to dedicate my life to working with foreigners since it is a great opportunity to immerse into cultures of various nations, learn at lot of new things and find a way to self-perfection! The Center supervisors and volunteers simply charm with their kindness and understanding. Very often they organize interesting concerts and events, and it is sheer pleasure for me to attend these memorable meetings!
Everyone can find a hobby for oneself, me included. I was lucky to find something that makes my soul soar! Every celebration event leaves me with an ocean of emotions! I am overflowing with new feelings which just can’t be put into words. I want more and more!
The Center for Sociocultural Adaptation makes life better not only at the University, but beyond it as well! I’m very happy that I have an opportunity to be part of this team. Now I understand: it is cool to be a volunteer! I am a Volunteer! And I am exceedingly happy! Today I have many friends from all over the world, and I’m very proud of it!”
In the new academic year South Ural State University is expecting even more foreign students. The Center for Sociocultural Adaptation invites all those willing to join our team of volunteers. It is a great opportunity to meet friends from around the globe.
Contacting information of the Center for Sociocultural Adaptation:
272-31-01, 8-951-461-06-75, Room 374 Main University Building