Why international students could be as valuable as Russian oil

With over 107 billion barrels of oil reserves, Russia is the world’s third-largest oil-producing nation. In 2020, Russia earned $73.4 billion in crude oil exports, making it one of the country’s most valuable income streams1.  

However, the increased damnation and boycotting of fossil fuels around the world has put Russia under mounting pressure to find alternative revenue streams. So much so, some policymakers have pinned their hopes on the income generated from international students. 

Foreign enrollments have quickly become one of the most important trends in Russian higher education. Since most international students pay full tuition fees, they provide a vital and stable source of finance. However, for higher-education to become one of Russia’s biggest export industries, admissions need to surge. 

Do international students want to study in Russia? 

The number of international students studying in Russia has grown by over 60% in the last five years2. Although this is great news for universities and their surrounding economies, the figure could be significantly higher. 

Countries like the USA, Australia, UK, and Canada continue to claim the lion’s share of internationally mobile students, leaving Russia playing catch-up. 

Russia’s reputation as a study abroad destination is still scrutinized too. In a recent survey, Russia only just made the top 10 countries for international students3. For a country that wants to establish itself as a first-choice for foreign pupils, this is disappointing. 

If your university wants to benefit from the economic and cultural contributions of international students, you must do more to attract them. But, before you can level up your recruitment strategy, you need to understand the reasons pupils aren’t choosing your university

What challenges do you face? 

Limited global reach

If you want to increase the diversity of your university population, you need to engage with pupils from a wider range of markets. At present, Russia predominantly relies on students from the former Soviet Union, including Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Ukraine. But to move up the popularity rankings, you need to cast your net wider. 

Thousands of students from every corner of the globe visit studee.com daily. So, by partnering with us, you’ll gain access to a brand new selection of markets and leads. 

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Program validity 

Many students discount Russia as a study abroad location because they’re concerned their qualifications won’t be valid when they return home. However, this simply isn’t the case. The vast majority of Russian qualifications are now internationally-recognized, so make this clear to prospective students. 

Gen-Z students gather most of their information online, so making your website inclusive and informative couldn’t be more important. Tailor your program information around common questions and concerns to reassure students that your course is a worthwhile investment. 

Lack of language comprehension 

The Russian language is another factor limiting your overseas enrollments. Russian is not widely taught in schools outside of the former Soviet Union, so the majority of foreign pupils won’t study in a language they have no mastery of. 

Lots of universities have already seen the benefits of offering pilot courses in languages like English, French, and German. So, if you want to maximize the diversity of your student body, it’s worth doing the same. 

Poor marketing 

A little marketing magic goes a long way when it comes to recruiting international students. Unfortunately, most Russian universities lack the marketing skills needed to compete in the global arena, so they fail to stand out to prospective students. 

Research shows the recommendations of friends and family members are the biggest influence on foreign students’ decisions to study in Russia. So, you’re potentially missing out on thousands of international pupils, just because their loved ones didn’t study in Russia.

You need to make your online presence and marketing promotions pop. Our team has decades of experience working in the higher-education and tech industries, so we’ll help you promote your university and programs to a global audience. So far, over 180,000 international students have started their journey through Studee. Let’s start getting them enrolled at your institution. 

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Ineffective communication

Students want to study somewhere they’re valued as a human rather than a paycheck. If they feel welcomed and safe, they’re more likely to enroll and remain on campus. 

To communicate effectively with international students, you need to understand their cultures, beliefs, and concerns. Treating every student as an individual is key to recruitment and conversion success. 

At Studee, every member of our international student advice center is a NAFSA-trained expert interculturalist. We can act as an extension of your team, supporting students all the way from application to arrival to secure you the best enrollment rates. 

COVID-19 concerns

With over 4.3 million coronavirus cases and counting, Russia has been one of the countries worst-affected by the pandemic. Understandably, students will be concerned about the health risks of studying in Russia, so reassuring them about the safety of your campus is key. 

Showing that you’re listening to their worries and actively taking steps to address them will build trust and, subsequently, admissions.

Thousands of students use Studee every day to find their dream university 

When it comes to finding and recruiting higher-caliber students, we’re professionals. We’re excited to help you hit your international admissions targets, so just book a free, non-obligatory meeting to get started. 

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1 Statista, 2020 

2 Eurasianet, 2019

3 CEOworld magazine, 2020