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What’s it Like to Study in Australia as a Russian Student?

What’s it Like to Study in Australia as a Russian Student? main image

Studying abroad is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will give you many fond memories to look back on, as well as increasing your employability (among many other benefits).

However, it’s no secret that it can also be very daunting, especially if your chosen study destination’s quite different to your home nation, meaning that you’ll likely experience some culture shock as you settle in.

We spoke to Russian student Andrey Kirsanov about his study abroad experience in Australia, as well as its experience taking part in an internship with Hyundai in South Korea. Andrey previously studied both his bachelor and master’s degrees in Russia, but decided to study his PhD in aerospace engineering in Australia. He now works for the major helicopter design and manufacturing company Russian Helicopters.

Read on to find out what Andrey had to say about studying abroad in Australia, and how it’s helped his career to progress.

Hi Andrey! Why did you choose Australia for your PhD?

After returning from an internship in South Korea and completing my master’s degree at Moscow Polytechnic University (formerly the Moscow Automechanical Institute), I had a plan to continue my studies. I’d been invited to do a postgraduate course at the University of Ulsan in South Korea, and while South Korea was one of the top countries for postgraduate studies in my list, I experienced some language and cultural difficulties that made me consider other countries.

Australia had it all: one of the highest ranked universities, English-speaking people, a multicultural society, warm climate, and amazing nature.

Which Australian university did you study at? Why did you choose that university?

After researching different universities and courses, I discovered a School of Engineering and Information Technology within the University of New South Wales (UNSW). Being ranked as one of the top universities in Australia and worldwide, it also had an Aerospace Engineering research group that was of particular interest to me. In 2012 I was awarded a prestigious University International Postgraduate Award for study toward a Doctor of Philosophy at UNSW in Canberra. This campus is located on the military base of the Defence Force Academy and the Department of Defence sponsors many research projects.

Did you experience any culture shock when you moved to Australia?

Australia is a multicultural country that combines cultural traditions from all over the world. From the first days, Australia made me feel very welcome. However, in the beginning, I sometimes experienced difficulties understanding some Australian English words and accents. There are some words, especially slang ones, that you would never hear anywhere else. It was frustrating at times, but the more I lived there the more I learned about Australia’s unique language.

How should Russian students prepare for studying in Australia? What can they expect when they first arrive?

I would recommend future students work a lot on their English language, particularly academic as studying involves learning a large amount of information. Reading and analyzing scientific papers in your interest’s field would be definitely helpful as well. When students first arrive, they are usually granted with an establishment grant, covering some expenses on their settlement. Their university’s student unit will make sure that they get all the required support before starting their course.


Would you recommend studying in Australia to other Russian students?

I would definitely recommend choosing Australia as a place to gain a high standard of education. While studying in Australia, I kept collaborating with my alma-mater Moscow Polytechnic University on sharing my experience of studying abroad. This helped two of my fellow students to be accepted for the postgraduate course at the University of New South Wales.

What was the highlight of your experience in Australia, either during or after your studies?

It is very hard to name only one highlight of my experience in Australia as my whole journey, which began in 2012, was full of amazing adventures - starting from the university’s campus, located on a military base where you could see military helicopters landing right in front of your office, continuing with state-of-art research facilities and conferences where you could meet Bill Gates, and ending with unforgettable trips to the coast during weekends.

Do you have any insider tips for Russian students, based on your experience of studying in Australia?

Australia is a very progressive country which gives one many possibilities for growth. However, students should prepare for the higher cost of living compared to Russia. Normally, the scholarship provided by university allows for a decent living, but it might be not quite enough if you come to Australia with your family.

How easy was the process of staying in Australia to find work after your studies?

Australia’s job market provides a wide range of jobs for both university graduates and mid to high-level professionals. While education is essential for most employers, work experience is equally important for finding a good work. In addition, job seekers must prepare to get a permanent visa before they can apply to open positions in Australia. Having a world-class education and previous work experience in the aerospace industry allowed me to get a position in Thales – one of the largest aerospace corporations in the world and main contractor for the Australian Defence Force.

How did your Australian postgraduate degree help lead to you becoming a Project Portfolio Manager at Russian Helicopters?

My combined experience gained in international organizations such as Thales Australia as well as my PhD in aerospace engineering have surely given me an opportunity to integrate my knowledge into the Russian aerospace industry. Being a Project Portfolio Manager at Russian Helicopters, I aspire to help progress the Russian aerospace industry into being world leaders.

And finally, what did you gain from your internship with Hyundai in South Korea?

My internship with Hyundai gave me a lot of both professional and personal development. With great support from our mentors, I gained theoretical as well as practical knowledge about automotive engineering, got a chance to get a hands-on experience of the Hyundai plant, and of course, made many valuable contacts and friends.

This program was a stepping-stone in my career, which allowed me to discover a world of possibilities.


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Sabrina Collier's profile image
Written by Sabrina Collier
The former Assistant Editor of TopUniversities.com, Sabrina wrote and edited articles to guide students from around the world on a wide range of topics. She has a bachelor's degree in English Literature and Creative Writing from Aberystwyth University and grew up in Staffordshire, UK. 

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