Scientific journal
International Journal of Experimental Education
ISSN 2618–7159
ИФ РИНЦ = 0,425


Educational problem of foreign students in universities of the Russian Federation is becoming more important due to the establishment of new requirements for effectiveness of higher education institutions. And while the major cities of the European part of our country have a considerable experience, Chelyabinsk, the city that has been closed for foreign citizens for a long time, has been just gathering such kind of experience. Geography of the countries, from which foreign students come to Chelyabinsk is wide enough, which means that the students display and try to realize well-various cultural traditions and needs here as well. The policy of our university is aimed to the assurance of a favorable social and psychological adaptation of foreign students, taking into account not only their culture, but also their individual and psychological personality characteristics, their value and reason-for-being orientations.

At the present time, the educational system of the Russian Federation (in particular the higher education system) is actively integrating into the world educational space: there are a large amount of bilateral international diploma mutual recognition agreements signed by the government of the Russian Federation and a wide range of the CIS, European, Asian, African, Near Eastern and Latin American countries. In 2003, Russia joined the Bologna process (following 46 European countries), which aim is the formation of common education space in Europe, the maximal contingence of national education systems and training of specialists in accordance with the demands of the European labor market.

Education of foreign students in Russian universities is one of the competitiveness indexes of the Russian higher education system. The number of foreign students coming to Russia in order to get the higher education is increasing year by year. As a result, the necessity of investigation of the foreign students’ adaptation phenomenon is conditioned by its scientific and applied importance.

Adaptation process has a complex structure and represents interaction of different kinds of adaptation (psychological, socio-psychological, biological, cultural, physiological, etc.), which is allied to the overcoming of cultural and language barrier by a migrant surrounded by the defined ethnos.

Adaptation process supposes the fact of psychological mobilization oriented to the overcoming of difficulties and the formation of internal equilibrium.

Social adaptation is analyzed in academic literature as a process of an individuum entering into the new sphere of social, group, interpersonal relationships and the adjustment to the new social environment. (J. Piaget, S.D. Artemov, I.A. Miloslavova). Social adaptation phenomenon includes socialization process, i.e. an acquirement of base apparatus of social code and values allowing an individuum to act as an independent subject in the society.

Defining the adaptation as a process, it is necessary to mark such personality characteristic as its adaptability, i.e. that kind of personality-environment interaction condition whereby a personality carries out its main activity successfully and satisfy its own social needs, without long-term inner and outer conflicts.

Deviation in adaptation processes leads to the socialization process abnormality, which is evident as a feeling of instability, frequent conflicts between personality and foreign-language social environment.

In order to accelerate the socialization of foreign students under the new conditions, more extensive investigation of their personalities, value and reason-for-being orientations and provision them with psychological and pedagogical maintenance are possible. Foreign students, who for the first time found themselves in a new cultural environment, are often in mental dissonance and live a sort of double life: alone with themselves within a native culture, but they try to adjust the new culture in company.

This caused by both a half knowledge of language of the new socio-cultural environment and the failure to define different social roles which are taken by participants of a situation, the lack of implied sense knowing, understandable for native speakers [1].

In the numerous studies of foreign and national scientists several types of external and internal factors influencing degree and duration of adaptation are distinguished. Personalities of individual refer to the internal factors. First of all it is age of a person (the younger person is, the easier an adaptation takes place); secondly, the level of education (it is proved that well-educated people who can speak one or more languages adapt a foreign culture without big problems) Positive self-esteem, sociability, professional competence, readiness to adopt and respect code and traditions of a new culture, openness to changes, mobility also refer to personality characteristics making easier the adaptation process. Social status of individuum, experience of stay in foreign cultural environment and contacts with bearers of other cultures also have a positive impact on the adaptation.

Culture of any country, by definition of D. Mazumoto, includes a system of rules covering mindsets, values, opinions, images, code and behavior which are relatively stable in time and generations.

Individualism-collectivism (IC) has become the most noted index of cultural diversity in the cross-cultural studies. Anthropologists, sociologists and psychologists use this index equally for an explanation of differences between cultures. Representatives of individualistic cultures (The USA, The Great Britain, Denmark, Finland, etc) consider themselves independent and autonomous individuums whereas representatives of collectivist ones (China, Korea, Pakistan, Colombia, Venezuela) recognize themselves tightly bound with other people. In the individualistic cultures the personal needs and goals exceed the needs of other people; in a collectivist culture the personal needs are sacrificed for the group interests [2].

Since the interaction culture peculiarities (demographic, economic, political, socio-cultural) refer to external adaptation factors, it can be supposed with the high likelihood ratio that the more common things both in the culture of a migrant native country and the new culture are, the easier one adjusts the foreign culture space [3].

It should also be taken into account the following factors which have an impact on education systems of countries from which students come to Russia: geographical, economic, national, cultural and religious which are unique for each particular nation. Each ethnos has its own methods and approaches applying in pedagogical process and which should be taken into account in the educational process of foreign students.

Having come to Russia, foreign students change their socio-cultural environment. The accustomed communicative relations with family, fellow citizens and friends are disrupted. Process of adaptation to the new conditions of external and internal environment starts. Foreign students are emotional over failed exams and unsatisfactory marks more painful than their Russian classmates. The last point is conditioned by the feeling of heavy responsibility towards a family, government, university tutors, and immigration officials. Active cultural and social life, intercourses definitely help to overcome a lot of difficulties of entering into the new culture.

Not all of the foreign students have interest in an alien country. They contrast their own culture with what they see in Russia. Much of Russian reality shocks them and causes a misunderstanding. Foreigners respect a new culture, but keep their traditions, manners and habits alive. Differences between native and alien lifestyles surprise the one student and gladden the other. The most of difficulties appears for students who are indifferent to native and alien cultures. As a matter of fact such kind of passive and indifferent students is in the minority. Basically those are who came to Russia, «because of parents or government decision».

Under those conditions, the optimal algorithm for «entering» a foreign student into educational process is the integration taking place in the process of active acquisition of the other national culture and keeping their own national identity. Exactly the integration into the new cultural environment becomes the main index of successful adaptation [4].

As practice has shown, carrying out any public event with the participation of foreign students positively affects their integration and adaptation. That’s why the importance of such carried out events as the First Pan-Russian Festival of Foreign Students and First Festival of Scientific and Creative Achievements of Foreign Students in Tomsk in 2007–2008, in which the students from 51 countries took part, can hardly be overestimated.

The national science study results on this question and historical experience available in Russia from the time of the first youth and student festivals, clearly demonstrate that the introduction of foreign students to the Russian culture by group travels, celebration of traditional national holidays, etc. also are the efficient controller of adaptation, integration and overcoming the aloofness barriers [5]. Social and psychological adaptation of foreign students definitely is the key acquisition determinant of Russian cultural field and the factor of favorable and efficient education.

The work is submitted to the International Scientific Conference «Modern sociology and education», London, October, 19-26, 2013, came to the editorial office оn 22.10.2013.