Calluso Adriana, Rifatto Simona, Roberta Canale, Zangari Maria Pia are 3rd year students of the University of Messina (Italy) that have studied Russian and literature at Minin university during the fall semester. We asked Rifatto Simona what is the difference between education in Russia and in Italy and why it is necessary to know Russian in Italy.

University of Messina and Minin university are partners. Three other students and I chose to go to Minin university because we really liked its educational program. During the semester we studied the Russian language and literature, English. I decided to study Russian because it is highly-demanded and relevant in Italy. Few people know this language in my native country, so I will have a great advantage in employment. I will definitely use Russian in my future work. I will be able to be a teacher and continue my studies in pedagogy or be a translator. During this semester we have learned Russian really well, practiced our language skills a lot, and got acquainted with Russian culture and many nice people.

Education in Russia and Italy differs greatly. There are not many people in groups in Russia. In Italy everything is different and one group can include about 200 people. At Minin university every teacher knows the names of all his students; in Italy the situation is entirely different. Also, students in Italy don’t have homework assignments. All education is based on independent work during the course and final exam at the end of the program. We really liked that in Russia students regularly do homework, so at the end of the semester you are ready for the exam. In Italy we start preparing to our exams just by the end of the semester.

Another difference between education in Russia and in Italy is that duration of undergraduate studies in Italy is 3 years and in Russia – 4 years.

This is our first visit to Russia. During the very first days we were shocked: we did not understand Russian people or their mentality. We live in southern Italy and are used to talking loudly. When we came to Nizhny Novgorod, at first, we’ve been reproved in public transport for this because people in Russia speak much quitter. Also, we did not figure out at first how to pay in buses because everyone here pays his fare passing money and even bank cards through other people! It’s hard to imagine the same situation in Italy. But we realized that Russians trust each other and this is the part of their mentality. During first meetings it seemed to us that people were not happy to see or meet us. But now we understand Russians better and we know that, in fact, people here are friendly and always ready to help you.

Apart from this, we did not quite understand Russian cuisine at first. But in the end, we got used to everything. Most of all, we liked the pancakes that our Russian groupmates cooked for us. We visited local restaurants of Italian cuisine, but food there is not quite the same as in Italy.

I will definitely recommend my friends to visit Russia. We really liked Nizhny Novgorod for its tranquility and sights.


Minin university and the University of Messina have been collaborating since 2018. Within this cooperation both sides are planning to organize bilateral symposia, seminars, conferences and implement joint research programs and projects. It is also planned to implement academic exchange programs for faculty members and university students. In November 2019, Minin university students took part in competitive contest in order to participate in academic exchange program in the University of Messina. Participants of the competition presented motivation essays and presentations to the commission members, where they explained why they want to take part in this program and how this will help their further professional and personal development. According to the results of the competition 3 winners have been chosen: Zimina Daria, Khodyreva Anastasia, Shapovalova Anastasia. During the second semester these students will study at the University of Messina under the joint education program, that has been started as the part of cooperation agreements between the University of Messina and Minin university.