• The authors:
    Olga Borodkina
    Anna Shendrikovskaya
  • Issue: July 24-26th, 2019
  • Pages: 88-94
  • URL:
  • DOI:

Abstract. Russia is actively involved in the process of international
education. The number of international students in Russia is increasing, and
in 2016/2017, it was almost 230,000. In this context, researching the
international education and student migration has scientific and practical
importance. The purpose of the study was to find out the main barriers for
international education in Russia as well as to identify the key problems
international students face in Russia. The main research methods were the
analysis of statistical data and data of previous studies on student migration
in Russia. In addition, to identify the main problems of international
students studying in Russia, survey of 100 international students from
various universities in Russia was conducted (45 male and 55 female
respondents). The majority of respondents were from the following
countries: Uzbekistan (N=16), Kazakhstan (N=15), Moldova (N=6),
People’s Republic of China (N=5) and Tajikistan (N=5). The findings show
that there are a lot of barriers to the development of international education,
and researchers highlight bureaucracy, too complicate process of quality
assessment and university accreditation etc. Some scholars believe that
Russia has entered the process of international education without fully
taking into account the specifics of Russian higher education, and without
conducting a deep analysis of the consequences of the transition to
international principles of academic mobility. Analysis of the results of the
survey of foreign students studying in Russia revealed key patterns of
educational migration and the main problems faced by international
students. Firstly, in contrast to academic mobility in Western European
DOI: 10.22363/09669-2019-88-94
universities, international students come to Russia for a full-time program,
and the number of foreign students visiting one or two semesters is very
low. A significant part of international students have poor skills of the
Russian language; sometimes even students of Russian-language programs
demonstrate only basic Russian. Russian language is a significant obstacle
to including of students in the processes of academic exchange, and the
insufficient level of Russian skills reduces the quality of education for those
who study in Russia. Of course, there is every reason to assume that most
international students have difficulties not only in study process, but also in
everyday communication. At the same time a lot of international students
studying in Russia do not speak English. One of the problems identified by
international students is that in Russian universities, the practice of
orientation week is not widespread, although the international students need
in such kind support. Many students noticed that the process of granting
academic visas is rather complicated and takes a lot of time, beside that
there is a problem to get long-stay visa for relatives (spouse and children) of
international students. According to survey, in some Russian regions there is
a serious problem related to living conditions in dormitories. Also some
international students have mentioned about follow problems of staying and
studying in Russia: adaptation to climatic conditions, depression, difficulties
in finding housing, poor environmental situation, loneliness, refusal of
financial assistance to international students with disabilities, insufficient
work of education department of university. The recommendations related
improving situations were also discussed with international students. There
is demand to developing online services, to facilitating visa services. The
living conditions in dormitories need a special attention of regional and
universities authorities. Among the most urgent measures for the further
development of international education in Russia there are the promotion of
the study of the Russian language abroad before coming in Russia and the
development of social support system for international students in Russia.
Keywords: international education, international students, problems, Russia

Olga Borodkina1, Anna Shendrikovskaya2
1 Saint Petersburg University, Saint Petersburg, Russia,
ORCID ID: 0000-0002-0936-5757
2 Saint Petersburg University, Saint Petersburg, Russia,

Arefyev A. L., Sheregi F. E. 2014. Foreign students in Russian universities.
Center for sociological research. Moscow: Center for Sociological
Research. 215pp. (in Russian)
Bessudnov A., Kurakin D., Malik V. 2017. The Myth about Universal
Higher Education: Russia in the International Context. Educational Studies
3: 83–109.
Kupriyanov R. V., Vilensky A. A., Kupriyanova N. E. 2014. Bologna
process in Russia: specifics and difficulties of implementation. Bulletin of
Kazan technological University20: 412-415. (in Russian)
Plaksiy S. I. 2012. Bologna process in Russia: pluses and minuses.
Knowledge. Understanding. Skill 1: 8-12. (in Russian)
Schofer E., Meyer J. W. 2005. The Worldwide Expansion of Higher
Education in the Twentieth Century. American Sociological Review 70(6):
898– 920.
Schedrovitsky P. 2016. The Bologna system – the forced action of the
education system”. Political education. URL: [Accessed April 10 2019].
(in Russian)
Study in Russia. 2019. URL [Accessed April 25 2019].
Strategy to attract international students. 2018. URL:
[Accessed April 20 2019].
The concept of the state migration policy of the Russian Federation for
2019-2025. [Accessed March
20 2019]. (in Russian)