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    An Iraqi Kurd Student Shares his Experience of Studying at Saint-Petersburg Mining University

    Hassan Rezhna Ismaiil moved from Iraqi Kurdistan to St. Petersburg to fulfill a dream of his own. Now he is on his way to becoming an oil & gas specialist and ready to share the story of how he ended up studying at St. Petersburg Mining University!

    Hassan was born in Sulaymaniyah, a city in the east of the Kurdistan Region. The last three years of school Hassan was studying in a Turkish school, and it was therefore expected he would move to Turkey and take his chances of entering a university there. However, the choice of specialties he could choose from was rather limited – history and legal studies – and as the Kurdish student himself admits, he had never had any interest in liberal arts.

    Hassan says: “I wanted to become a mining engineer. Besides, in Kurdistan, engineering, and also medical, students are the most needed. There are three state universities where mining specialists are trained, but the quality of education is quite poor, and Iranian commodity-sector enterprises prefer hiring graduates of foreign universities. When I was about to graduate from school, Gazprom Neft Middle East, a subsidiary of Russian Gazprom Neft, was running a contest to pick out competitors for its scholarship program. By agreement with our region, those graduates who had been selected had to relocate to Russia for studies. The company pays the tuition fees, provides scholarship allowances, and enables alumni to start working at one of the company’s projects sites. This was the opportunity I took advantage of, and this is how I became a student at St. Petersburg Mining University.”

    The most challenging issue for Hassan was the Russian language.

    “Regardless of how easy it is for an individual to learn foreign languages, it is nearly impossible to master Russian in one year, during which international students attend pre-university courses. And a year later, one has to be able to study on par with native speakers. The good thing is that teachers are always ready to help and explain something foreigners may find difficult. As a soon-to-be-graduate, I can confirm the Mining University provides high-quality mining engineering education. There are labs here with machines simulating oil extraction processes, as well as research facilities equipped with modern tools and installations. We are often visited by professors from abroad who come here to give workshops or participate in some international events held within the university. Each student here can learn as much they can want. There are simply no limits.”

    Talking about his forthcoming return to the homeland, Hassan notes, “I always wanted to see for myself what it is like to live in another country, get acquainted with other people’s traditions, their mentality. Russia has turned out to be a fascinating country in many aspects. I am even somewhat frustrated I will have to leave soon. I have been living in a comfortable dormitory, with a fitness studio, canteen, ping-pong, and billiard tables. I have the best groupmates ever and I seriously hope it is not the last goodbye yet. If I proceed to master-level studies sometime later and I get to choose an institution, I would want to come back here, to the Mining University.”