CHENNAI: Before flying out to Russia for their MBBS courses in September, aspiring doctors will get a month-long crash course in spoken Russian.
Over the past decade, with much concern over ‘language problems’ while studying abroad, the pre-departure orientation has evolved into a comprehensive 20-lesson module in collaboration with the Russian Centre of Science & Culture. “But don’t worry, the Russian alphabet is a lot less difficult than Tamil,” joked Dimitri Lomakin, Vice Consul, Consulate General of the Russian Federation in South India on the sidelines of an event to announce the annual Russian Education Fair.
Out of the 9,000 odd Indian students studying in Russia across various streams, 90% are medical students. The reasons include everything from comparatively affordable tuition fees as opposed to countries like the US and UK as well as a less intimidating visa application process.
To top it off, medicine is the only course offered in Russia that has language lessons built-in as part of the programme for students from other countries. “By the end of the course, they will be able to read, speak and write in Russian so there’s no question of a language barrier,” Lomakin elaborates. And this is perhaps why Tamil medium students from South India are eligible to apply for the course as well.
It certainly dispels any fears for non-English medium students worried about struggling in a foreign country. In fact, as per statistics, the failure rate of Indian students studying medicine in Russia is as low as 3 to 5 per cent, according to Ravichandran C, managing director of Study Abroad, the authorised Indian representative for Russian Universities. For an added incentive, among 400 medical seats available across various institutions that will be present at the Russian Education Fair, five medical seats will be offered with full scholarship.
Recently, Russian Medical University also signed a tie-up with SRM University, Chennai in April. “Russia has had academic tie-ups for streams like Engineering and Aviation in the past, but this is the first collaboration for medical students. Talks are also underway with Apollo Hospitals, JIPMER and AIMS,” said Ravichandran C, managing director, Study Abroad.
The Russian Education Fair will be held at the Russian Cultural Centre, Kasturi Rangan Road on May 7 and 8. Tamil medium students are also eligible. For details, call 9282221221 or 24988215.