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For a cost-effective MBBS degree

RAMYA KANNAN

Relatively easier entrance to a medical course makes Russia an attractive option for Indian students.

Photo: S. R. Raghunathan

Real advantage: Recognised Russian Universities put technical degrees within reach of many.

Did you know that between 800 – 1,000 students leave Indian shores every year to pursue higher studies in Russia? Or that 80 - 85 per cent of them choose medicine as their career option?

There is apparently a steady interest among Indian students in exploring Russia as a higher education destination, despite the fact that language and the climate could be alien to them. Suresh Babu, director, Study Abroad, Russian Cultural Centre, says the interest does not wane at all. In fact due to good response, the Russian Education fair which was held at the Russian Cultural Centre in Chennai, originally scheduled for two days, was extended for the entire week.

Mr. Babu says that is not surprising since Mumbai and Chennai are the two top cities that send a large number of students to Russia every year. The queries come mostly about medical education, and in recent years, technical education has generated more interest. While students prefer to take only English language courses for medicine, they are even willing to take technical courses where Russian is the medium of instruction.

Aviation, Aeronautics engineering, aerospace engineering, aviation technology and IT are other areas that students seem to pick up, apart from medicine. Why study in Russia at all?

Mr. Babu explains that at least for medicine, the primary advantage is cost-effectiveness. A 5-year 10-month MBBS course recognised by the Medical Council of India will cost a student between Rs. 9 - 11 lakh, inclusive of study and stay. Also, the entry levels are not as tough as it is in India — 60 per cent marks are sufficient to get admission into a medical course there. Which is why most students are willing to put up with extremely cold climes and unfamiliar food to study in Russia.

What one must watch out for, however, is whether the university/course has been recognised in India. There have been instances in the past where students have taken up courses (medicine/dentistry) only to return to India to find that their course is not valid and thereby, their years of study and effort have been wasted, Mr. Babu said.

Study Abroad, in association with the Russian Consulate, only hosts those universities and colleges that are recognised in India. In medicine, only nine institutions have been recognised by the Medical Council of India among 48 universities, and in technical education, 640 Russian Technical Universities have been recognised by the All India Association for Indian Universities.

So if you intend to head Moscow-wards for the next stage of your life, do make sure you ask the following questions suggests Mr. Babu:

* * Does the university/college provide a degree that is recognised in India?

* * What is the language of instruction? Is accommodation included in the package?

* * What is the average temperature in the town you are going to be studying?

* * What are the resources available to learn the local language?

* * And finally, ask for the names and contact details of students already studying in the university from your home town or state.

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