The first MAI resident in Indonesia: how the academic exchange program works for MAI students

March 7, 2023

How to go study abroad? Are there any programs that students of Moscow Aviation Institute study in other countries? What do such trips give? Klim Predein, a 4th-year student of the Institute No. 6 "Aerospace", answered these questions to the MAI press service. He was the first MAI student who studied in Indonesia.

A success story is a story of the right choice. Why did you enroll in MAI?

MAI is my love at first sight. This is one of the few universities where there is a direction I chose – "Rocket systems and cosmonautics". At the same time, the university has great authority among educational institutions. Additional motivation for admission was given by the number of extracurricular activities at the university that amazed me, including more than six dozen sports sections.

How did you find yourself in Indonesia? Why did you choose this country to study in?

I went to study in Indonesia under the academic exchange program of students. MAI has many partners around the world with whom academic mobility agreements are concluded. This means that students of both educational institutions can go to the exchange partner university.

I chose Bandung Technical University (ITB) in Indonesia. The program lasts one semester. The first positive impression on me was made by the ITB website. Often, while studying European institutions, I simply could not find the information I needed – I wandered around like in a maze. And on the website of the Indonesian partner university, I was able to quickly understand what awaits me, contact the staff.

The important factor for me in choosing this particular program was the remoteness of Indonesia – both geographical and cultural. We know a lot about Europe as a whole – the life of people, their cities, the peculiarities of countries, but when people hear about Indonesia, most often they represent only Bali. It is interesting to be a pioneer, because I am the first on the MAI — ITB program.

Tell us who and how can study under the academic exchange program?

Every MAI student can apply for the program. This is a very interesting quest for the most persistent ones.

On the MAI website, in the Academic Mobility section, information about the selection criteria is collected, there is a list of universities with which an agreement has been made, and also brief data about each.

When the choice is made, you need to fill in an application form on the website and wait for feedback. The next steps are to contact the staff of a foreign university and fill in a questionnaire on the MAI website. The main criteria for selection are as follows: academic performance, foreign language proficiency, understanding of the details of the program at the partner university, motivation and active participation in the life of MAI.

The candidate is invited to an interview (in English) to our international department. And then it is only left to wait for the results.

When you are nominated, the formalities remain: filling in the documents – each university has its own package and obtaining a visa. Now you can pack your bags!

What goals did you set when you were going to Indonesia?

I had several main goals. The first is academic. I have never studied abroad. Such an exchange program is an opportunity to try out a demo version of training in compliance with the Western system.

The second goal is cultural. I wanted to get to know nature, people, their customs and way of life.

The third is a journey. Anyway, a trip to another country for such a long time is an adventure!

How long did your studies in Indonesia last? What language did the classes take place in?

The training lasted about six months – one semester. In addition to the actual study time, this includes a period of adaptation, as well as the examination and evaluation period. If the exams are passed successfully, there is free time to travel.

At the Technical University of Bandung, education is in two languages - local and English. Most of the most popular destinations are duplicated. One part is read in Indonesian and the other in English. Indonesians who want to study in English are engaged in separate groups of duplicate courses. All incoming exchange students study in these groups. Since the Indonesians are not native English speakers, the professors at the institute speak quite understandable and simple English for us, as do the guys studying with you.

How is the educational process constructed in Indonesia? Did you have your own project?

ITB is very similar to MAI. The large green campus houses many faculties, laboratories and extracurricular associations. Local students actively participate in the activities offered by the institute and create many of their own. Very often, walking around the campus, I saw students-surveyors who worked with real specialized instruments as part of their projects. All the same is available to a foreign student who came for exchange. I worked in the laboratory of the aerospace faculty, where there is a real MiG-21. ITB students, as well as in the MAI hangar, study the structure of products from nature.

In Russia, I am leading a project to develop wireless data transmission technology. In Indonesia, I was able to discuss ideas with local professors and students. Due to a completely different way of life, their way of thinking differs from ours. At the junction of different worldviews, you can get unique solutions to many problems.

Was such training useful for you?

Studying abroad first of all helped me to perceive already familiar information in a new way. The approaches chosen by the professors allowed us to delve into the topics again with interest. Often, when you learn even just an English term of a law or phenomenon you have studied in Russian, "Eureka!" involuntarily breaks out. There are completely new logical connections that you couldn't even think of before.

Serious language practice is so important for modern specialists. A lot of students come to Indonesia for exchange, now I have colleagues and friends all over the world.

Tell us about the living conditions of students who come to Indonesia for exchange? Maybe you can recommend some life hacks.

A student coming to exchange at ITB can independently find apartments in Bandung or contact the host faculty. I lived in a hostel, it is a clean and well-maintained two-storey house with a couple of dozen rooms with single or double occupancy. There is always a security guard and an administrator in the building who will help in any situation. There is a kitchen, but I didn't cook anything, since it's cheaper to buy ready-made food.

The university campus is the greenest corner in the city. Everything is located quite close: from the campus to the city center 3 km, to the hostel – 20 minutes by feet. You can rent a bike (very cheap by Moscow standards) and move around the island safely.

Tell us about your scientific plans.

At the moment I am writing a diploma in space flight ballistics and working on a software project that will help with import substitution of programs such as PowerPoint and Photoshop. I intend to continue studying for a master's degree, and at the same time develop in the direction of ballistics. Indonesia has given me international communication experience, as well as fluency in English – now there is no barrier for me in communicating with foreign colleagues.

As far as my Master's degree is concerned, I plan to take part in another exchange program at other universities around the world.

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