Religious studies scholars in China

5 September 2017 Department of Political History, National and Religious Relations

Students of the Department of Political History, National and Religious Relations majoring in Religious Studies have been taking additional courses and undergoing training in China for 10 years already. In 2017 master’s degree students Natalia Dvoryanchikova and Sergey Belikov underwent such training. They study Government and Religious Policy and Ethno-Religious Processes program under the supervision of Head of the Department of Political History, National and Religious Relations majoring in Religious Studies, Doctor of History, Professor Petr K. Dashkovskiy. Natalia Dvoryanchikova underwent linguistic training in the framework of SCO University program at Dalian University of Foreign Languages in Dalian. Sergey Belikov studied at Heilongjiang University in Harbin. He also entered into a contract with this higher education establishment in order to teach the Russian language there for a year. They shared their impressions on their training.

Natalia Dvoryanchikova:

“This trip to China was not the first one for me, so I didn’t encounter anything unexpected. Chinese language and Chinese food everywhere – these things were quite usual for me. However, I was surprised at student dormitories. Our apartment was like a small flat with three different bedrooms, living room, kitchen, balcony, and several bathrooms. Such apartment holds 6 persons. I was happy to live and study in such wonderful conditions. My schedule included such linguistic subjects as Chinese grammar, listening comprehension, reading and different subjects connected with SCO: Shanghai Cooperation Organization and Global Order; Regional Policy of SCO Member Countires in Central Asia”; etc. Besides main program, I also managed to attend a number of additional courses on ink wash paining and Chinese papercutting. I got acquainted with completely different world, view of life, and culture. Such experience is very important for me as a religious studies specialist. Moreover, I visited and saw Buddhist temples and read Confucian literature in the Chinese language.”

Sergey Belikov:

“I studied the Chinese language in Heilongjiang Institute. All in all, there are about 10,000 students. Foreign students are usually divided into three groups – A, B, C. Group A is for students, who haven’t studied Chinese before, group B is for students with HSK level 3–4, while group C comprises students with HSK level 5–6. There are about 20 people in each group. This time we had students from Yakutsk, Vladivostok, Chita, Irkutsk, Barnaul, and South Korea.
This educational establishment has its own fence and security, as everywhere else in China. Campus territory is like a mini-town with 3 educational buildings, 7 dormitories, 2 big refectories, a cafeteria, a library, several sports grounds, a stadium, a gym, a post office, a supermarket, a drugstore, a laundry, and a hairdressing saloon. The library operates from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. It is usually noisy in the dormitory, so students prefer to do their homework in the library. The institute has all necessary condition for successful education, the trick is not to get lazy. I think that studying at such educational establishment for some time would be very helpful for Russian students in terms of personal enrichment.”

Altai State University takes an active part in academic mobility programs and is planning to develop even further in this field.

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