International Students: The Pandemic is a Non-Issue

17 November 2020

The 2020 admissions were extremely challenging for universities, as they were frantically trying to adapt to an unprecedented situation. The period was equally exhausting for prospective students, who had to make hard decisions in such uncertain times, especially those applying to a foreign university. However, despite the spread of coronavirus disease across the globe, the enrollment process at Moscow Aviation Institute was probably more accessible and straightforward for international students than ever before.

Before the start of the admissions, the MAI International Department held a series of webinars, dedicated to getting the prospective students acquainted with the available schools and programs. This allowed the applicants to learn more about the enrollment process and ask important questions, while staying safe at home. The entirety of the admissions was carried out remotely: the candidates submitted their documents online, the exams were taken via web conference, and the tuition fees were paid using the MAI electronic payment system. All these means were implemented at MAI long before the pandemic.

— The admission experience of MAI was undoubtedly one of the most organized processes I had come across. The website advertised the Admission Webinar that showed the application process, — shares her experience Aminath Akmal Mohamed, a student from Maldives. — I was also contacted by the MAI international department who then gave me a whole briefing of how the admission process went. It is to be noted that the response of the International Department was swift and patient with each concern of mine. I am truly lucky to be part of a university that caters to each student individually.

The efforts of the International Department resulted in more than 600 first-year students being enrolled. This number has increased more than twofold over the past five years.

The restrictions enacted due to the epidemiological risks have prevented the majority of freshmen from coming to Russia. The students who are not able to attend their classes in person have been taking the courses remotely, using the MAI learning management system (LMS). Lectures are pre-recorded, so that students from different time zones can access them at a convenient time. Practical classes and seminars are held online, according to a friendly schedule. The LMS allows students and teachers to stay in touch for solving any educational matters. In addition, International Department supervisors have been assigned to foreign students to help them overcome the trials and tribulations of university life, even if it is off-campus at the moment.

— Why did I choose MAI? It is a dream that came to be after I developed a keen interest on how planes work, what gets them off the ground, what keeps them there, what allows them to turn and accelerate, to gain and lose altitude, and a spark immediately ignited within me to learn as much as i could about it, — says Nyoni Derrick Thomas, a freshmen of the School No.1 "Aircraft Engineering".

There are currently 1500 international students from 80 countries at MAI. In 2020, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Portugal, Kuwait, and Maldives have been added to the list. The People’s Republic of China has traditionally provided MAI with a great number of students, peaking this year at 388 people. The MAI engineering degree is likewise sought-after in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, and Malaysia.

China is one of strategic regions for University development. Apart from having strong industrial cooperation MAI is actively developing its educational activity with the best technical universities of China. The global situation did not become an obstacle for students, and MAI Joint Master’s and bachelor’s degrees were in high demand this year.

— MAI is a leading Russian university in the aviation field, and many well-known engineers like Wang Yongzhi graduated here. I have obtained a bachelor’s degree in aero-engine and want to continue my study in this field.— double degree program student from China, Xu Hao, tells about his choice. — Besides, it’s a double degree program and you don’t have to spend any extra time to get one more master’s degree. Sounds tempting, so why not?

School No.1 "Aircraft Engineering" was the most popular among foreign applicants this summer, with more than 170 people enrolling. Also in-demand among prospective students were School No.3 "Control Systems, Computer Science and Electric Engineering", School No.2 "Aircraft and Spacecraft Propulsion and Power Plants", and School No.6 "Aerospace".

— Given the situation at hand , we had to switch to a new format, hold a number of online events, and, as a result, were able to maintain the number foreign applicants we had last year, — says Alexei Zarechenskiy, Deputy Head of the International Department. — We are hoping that the situation improves and our students are able to come to MAI next semester.

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