ITMO University Students Returned from University of Rochester
Maksim Melnik and Andrey Gaydash, Master students of the Department of Photonics and Optoinformatics and participants of the double-degree Program of ITMO University, shared their impressions of studying at the University of Rochester.
What makes studying in the USA different from Russia?
Maksim Melnik: American students almost have no time for self-education. All professors gave us homework every day. It was very hard for us to get into the habit of such control but thanks to this system we learned a lot. Russian students plan their studying by themselves but it means that they are more responsible for their knowledge. However Russian students cannot choose subjects like Americans because we have no credit system.
What everyday life difficulties did you face?
Maksim Melnik: it sounds ridiculous but we were surprised that there were no sidewalks in Rochester!
Andrey Gaydash: to buy vegetables and meat we had to go to supermarkets because small grocery stores didn`t sell them.
Tell us about your studies.
Maksim Melnik: we had a lot of laboratory classes. Thanks to the credit system we had a choice of elective disciplines. For example there were a variety of classes in the field of physical optics, so we chose polarizing; we also took “optical qualities of materials” class.
What useful skills did you acquire?
Maksim Melnik: now we definitely speak English better. It was rather easy to discuss research topics because we constantly used glossaries. Spoken language was the most difficult. We also had a lot of practical classes. Unlike classes in Russian universities where students have to follow the instructions without extra activity the classes that we had at the University of Rochester were full of self-guided work. Now the professors of our department are going to organize the same lab-based classes at ITMO University. The advantage of American professors is that they helped us to study because they gave us more than lectures and homework checking. They practiced individual approach to each student.
Andrey Gaydash: one of our lab classes was based on creative work. We had to choose a topic and invent a strategy. We discussed the details with our mentor and then constructed the equipment.
It means that you got deeper knowledge.
Maksim Melnik: yes it is true because American educational system focuses on it. We could ask our professors to clarify all issues that we didn`t understand.
Andrey Gaydash: lectors always noted that they were ready to explain those topics that we found difficult even if they had explained them before.
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