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Participants of the BRICS Educational Internship Program at Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU) master the relevant areas of undergraduate and graduate programs using e-learning and distance learning technologies. Due to the self-isolation regime and the epidemiological situation, 70 students from universities of Brazil, India, China and the Republic of South Africa and 38 participants of the FEFU Academic Excellence and Honors Education program participate in all online classes. Thanks to the transfer of the internship in electronic format, even students from China who could not come to Vladivostok because of the closed borders were able to join the educational process.
Far Eastern Federal University initiated the BRICS educational program in connection with the Presidency of the Russian Federation in the international association in 2020. Students started to attend classes at FEFU on March 2 and will continue their studies until mid-July. After closing the borders and introducing a self-isolation regime, the participation of 17 Chinese students in the program who did not manage to come from China to the FEFU and were forced to stay home was threatened. However, the training online allowed them to participate in the program on an equal basis with everyone.
According to the FEFU educational programs directorate, being at home or on campus dormitories, students listen to lectures, participate in research seminars and engage in project work. Classes are conducted by leading teachers of FEFU, as well as invited scientists from other universities in the world. For example, the module on the discipline "Surgery" for students of the direction "General Medicine" is taught by a Candidate of Medical Sciences, a Specialist in the field of Laparoscopy and Gastrectomy, a surgeon, a member of the Royal Australian College of Surgeons (RACS) Vasily Vilgelmovich von Braun.
“The work continues in the usual rhythm, but in a remote mode. Interaction with participants is built in a comprehensive manner, in addition to the educational process, the program also includes extracurricular activities: language lessons in a conversation club, master classes on the cultural traditions of their country, informal online meetings with Russian students”, said Sergey Zhdanov, Head of the FEFU Educational Programs Design Center.
Teachers note that all students are motivated to complete assignments, attend lectures and learn the material received. Several weeks of remote work showed the effectiveness of the established system, which is confirmed by the program participants themselves.
“The transition to online gave me the opportunity to join an internship at this difficult time. We meet with teachers in real-time video communication "face to face", which helps to better absorb the received material. In addition, you can always review the lesson at any convenient time”, said Jiaxin Zheng (China), Student of General Medicine.
“Such a sharp transition to online learning was very unusual because no one expected a similar situation. But when the classes started, I realized that there wasn’t much difference. I still have the opportunity to ask questions to the teacher and communicate with classmates. As a computer science student, I understand that organizing classes and finding slots suitable for everyone is not easy. The organizers did an excellent job, and even in a pandemic, they were able to maintain the level of material supply at a height", said Muhammad Ahzam (India), a student of Cybersecurity.
“Despite the fact that such a format is also a novelty for teachers, they quickly orientated themselves in new technologies. In my opinion, the classes are organized very efficiently, they have become more interactive, nothing distracting, it’s easier to concentrate. I really like classes in Russian as a foreign language, like most of my classmates, because they are the most interesting”, said Enrique Daimling (Brazil), student of International Business and Project Management.The BRICS Educational Internship Program includes the most relevant and popular Bachelor's and Master's programs for international countries: international relations, general medicine, cybersecurity, international business and project management, and biological research. The internship is designed to facilitate academic and cultural exchange aimed at intensifying social and humanitarian cooperation, strengthening dialogue and mutual understanding in the BRICS member states.