21 февраля 2020  |  
12:03 PM  October 10, 2019

Two polytechnics: TPU student on Italian largest tech university study

© РИА Томск. Элеонора ЧернаяTwo polytechnics: TPU student on Italian largest tech university study

TOMSK, Oct 10 – RIA Tomsk. More than 400 students of Tomsk Polytechnic University (TPU) annually practice abroad. So, first-year master's student Alena Zavyalova in 2019 spent a semester at Polytechnic University of Milan (Italy). In an interview with RIA Tomsk she told how educational approaches differ and what technologies Italian lecturers use.

Polytechnic University of Milan (Politecnico di Milano) is considered the largest technical university in Italy. According to open sources, about 40 thousand students study in it. In 2019, the university took the 16th place in the world among technical universities according to the Top Universities rating compiled by Times Higher Education.

© РИА Томск. Павел Стефанский
Tomsk Polytechnic University – is the leading technical university of the country. It's founded in 1896 as Tomsk Technological Institute of Practical Engineers of Emperor Nicholas II. It became the first engineering university in the Asian part of the country. Today TPU – is the largest technical university beyond the Urals; enters the top 10 universities of Russia and the top 400 universities of the world. Since 2013 participates in the "5-100" program to increase competitiveness in the world.

From university to university

"A technical university in Italy – it's technology literally in everything. For example, in lectures, the teacher uses certain smartphone applications to mark the attendance of students or to conduct some quick survey on the topic of the lecture. On the one hand, this is an element of the game, on the other – very convenient tool for our work", – says Alena.

The idea to get acquainted personally with a foreign education came to Tomsk citizen when she was not yet a TPU student.

"I learned about the opportunity to study abroad from friends who studied at the Polytechnic. It was 2018, and then I just graduated from another Tomsk university. In September I entered the master's degree program of the Tomsk Polytechnic, and then I applied to its center for work with students, where they gave me full information about possible practices and internships", – explains the girl.

The road to Italy was a long one. The master's student of the School of Engineering Entrepreneurship (Alena entered the direction of Engineering Entrepreneurship) collected the necessary documents for several months. Student's card, for example, had to be translated into Italian and notarized. When all the documents were ready, the visa process began.

"TPU employees actively helped – to understand the complex process of submitting documents, prepare for the trip, and so on. In addition, the university allocated a scholarship for me to study abroad. As a result, in February my plane landed in Milan – I became a Tomsk-Milan student", – recalls Zavyalova.

© предоставила Алена Завьялова
Polytechnic University of Milan does not require knowledge of the Italian language from foreign students. Fluency in English is enough – it became the key that opened the door for Alena to join the international team of the university.

Education with an Italian accent

"Initially, I applied for training in Rome, and then changed my mind and entered Milan. I was a little worried that I had made the wrong choice. It seemed to me that there was nothing to see besides the Duomo (the cathedral located in the historical center of Milan). Now I understand that was mistaken. Milan – is an amazing city!", – says the student.

Acquaintance with the city and Polytechnic University of Milan began with the so-called "welcome week". "I was assigned Baddy – an Italian who studies at the university, and shows it to a particular student. He was supposed to help get started, learn local rules and so on. To be honest, my Baddy was a little passive. I learned more about the university from new friends who met in the early days", – recalls the Tomsk native.

She adds that the university teachers offered courses to all new students: "I chose two – "Logistics" and "Leadership and Innovation". Considering that I am a humanist, and logistics – is calculations and analysis, then for me it’s quite big load. It was difficult, but interesting, including thanks to the very technologies during the lectures".

The practical part of the training consisted of preparing a project for a specific customer. The group in which Tonsk citizen was listed worked with Adidas. "We created a solution that would allow the company to enter the e-sports market. This is a special order for the university. In general, many well-known companies cooperate with the university. For example, Zara arranged for as a trip to warehouses to show how logistics works", – says Zavyalova.

In her opinion, education in Milan and Tomsk Polytechnics is differ by the organization of student work: "The Italian university is more focused on independent work. Teachers work with a large group: they spread the material, and we understand it. For me, this is a minus. In TPU, for example, we get an individual approach. As a result, there are no gaps in understanding the topics of the lectures".

Student weekdays

"In my group, most of the students – are Italians. They kept themselves somewhat separate from the others. Therefore, I mostly talked with visitors. We have formed a friendly, good international team", – recalls Alena.

The student spent breaks between couples, as in Tomsk, in classrooms or in cafe: "The difference – I never found the student cafeteria. There are, of course, a lot of cafes, but they are quite expensive. The ideal option – is to find a free audience, work there for laptop and dine homemade food. Audiences are always open, access is free".

There was no access control at the university as a whole; entrance by cards was only to the library.

"It seems to me that security is weak in this sense. Perhaps that is why thefts are stolen at the university. Bags, phones, laptops – man steal everything. Therefore, it is important to take things from the audience with, even if you go out just to call. At TPU, we are used to security – threw a backpack in the audience and went", – says the student.

An unpleasant surprise for Tomsk citizens was the price of rental housing and food: "I read on the Internet that Milan – is an expensive city, but did not imagine the scale of the disaster. I was looking for an apartment for a long time. As a result, I rented it for two with another Russian student. The price – is 700 euros by two. Prices in stores – are 2-3 times higher than Tomsk. In general, it was a shock".

To home with new experience

"Practice in a foreign university – is a huge step forward. This is an opportunity to become part of an international student team. Now I have many ideas, I want to participate in international work at my university, at TPU. It is also a language experience, communication. This is an opportunity to make new connections, which are useful for study, science and life in general", – summarizes the student of two polytechnics.

For reference:

Tomsk Polytechnic University has about 90 agreements with foreign universities on academic mobility programs. The most popular countries for internships among polytechnics – are China, Czech Republic, Germany. Grades received by students in foreign partner universities are re-read at TPU and subsequently entered in the appendix to the graduate’s diploma.

For its part, TPU annually accepts about 350 students from China, Kazakhstan, Germany, India and other countries to study under inter-university agreements. The most popular areas of study for them – are computer science and computer engineering, electric power and electrical engineering, software engineering, biotechnology, nuclear physics and technology.

In addition to the program of academic mobility, polytechnics can get an internship at a foreign university according to federal grants. Earlier it was reported that TPU became the leader among non-capital universities and the second in Russia in the number of president scholarships for studying students and graduate students abroad.

According to the data for the beginning of the academic year 2019/2020, immediately 10 polytechnics will go for internships at universities in France, Belgium, Spain, Germany, Portugal, China, Czech Republic and the UK. The president’s scholarship includes tuition, visa, travel to and from the place of study, accommodation, medical insurance and local transportation. Fellows receive the opportunity to study from one semester to 10 months.

It was also previously reported that Tomsk and Milan Polytechnic universities are implementing several joint projects. In particular, they launched the "Chemical Engineering" professional retraining program for "SIBUR Holding" PJSC specialists.

This is a modular program in which, in addition to chemical technology, there will be sections on lean manufacturing, information technology and big data. The program will also include a soft skills module, which will be conducted by specialists from the scientific and technological university "Sirius" (Sochi), where the final defense of the cases will take place at the end of the program.

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