Report on participation in EDUFAIRS Turkey, Azerbaijan 2014

On April 25th-30th, 2014, a representative of Centre for International Cooperation of Warsaw University of Technology, Ms. Agata Wierzbińska, and representatives of a recruitment agency from Istanbul, Truva Education Services, participated in education promotion fair EDUFAIR.

WUT and Truva Education Services cooperate voluntarily for enrollment of Turkish students for WUT, for undergraduate and graduate studies as well us for English B2 preparatory courses. The fair was organized in Marmara Hotel at Taksim square, a very convenient localization for participants and visitors. The Turkish youth showed a lot of interest in the fair, which may have been due to the date on which it was organized: 2 months before the end of school year. This is the time the graduates need to take decision about their next higher education plans. At the fair, there were present universities from Australia, Canada, Malta, Great Britain, USA, New Zealand. Among Polish universities the participants included WUT, as well as Łódź University of Technology and University of Łódź. The offer of WUT excited great curiosity – the Turkish students were making a lot of inquires not only about the studies and programs, but also about the life in Poland and Warsaw, Polish tradition, accommodation possibilities, students life, costs of living, etc. Due to the date of the fair undergraduate programs were the most popular, and among them Civil Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering and Electrical Engineering. The excitement may have stemmed also from the fact that the majority of promotional brochures, leaflets and roll-ups were available also in Turkish language.

On April, 28th, Ms. Agata Wierzbińska visited the TRUVA agency in their office with the aim of recapitulating the fair and discussing the vision of cooperation, the general application procedures and the detailed steps to be taken in case of particular students. On the meeting, there were present also few potential candidates, who had visited the WUT stand the day before during the fair.

On April 29th, Ms. Agata Wierzbińska visited Istanbul Technical University, the Turkish equivalent of WUT. The two universities already have agreements regarding the students exchange LLP Erasmus program, however there has not been any other form of cooperation between them so far. During a meeting a representative of ITU, Ms. Merve Calimli, the director of ITU International Office, presented and talked about the fields of international cooperation of ITU, types of agreements that are usually signed with foreign universities, the scope of activities of the Office, its structure and history, the methods of enrollment, the number of international students, the details about staff exchange programs and international research projects. Ms. Wierzbińska had a chance to be presented to the workers of the Office and to get to know more about their duties. Following the visit in the International Office Ms. Wierzbińska held a meeting with Ms. Sanem Albayrak, the director of ITU Erasmus Office. The two talked about issues related to the Turkey’s future in the Erasmus+ program and cooperation with Poland and WUT. Ms. Albayrak also showed Ms. Wierzbińska around the campus.

On May, 1st, Ms. Wierzbińska traveled for another fair held in Baku, Azerbaijan. The fair was another part of the same event – the EDUFAIRS. It took place on May 3rd-4th, in Hilton Hotel downtown. Institutions participating in the fair included universities from all over the world, among them USA, Great Britain, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Turkey, Russia, Georgia. The Azerbaijani visitors were greatly interested in the fair, and among all the universities the technical ones caught the most attention. Technical universities constituted the majority of participants of the fair.

Azerbaijan is quickly converting into a wealth country thanks to oil industry. Because of that in the last years the government decided to invest greatly in providing the Azerbaijani students with possibilities of education abroad. Currently 8.2% of all governmental expenses is dedicated to education. The Azerbaijani society is also a wealth one, where as many as 82% of population can afford tertiary education. 100% of Azerbaijani youth aged 15 – 24 is literate, while, for comparison, the same index in USA is 82.3%.

During the fair, Ms. Wierzbińska was supported by an Azerbaijani student, who is currently participating in language preparatory course at WUT and is going to start undergraduate studies on WUT next year, at the Faculty of Electronics and Information Technology. Thanks to his presence and support, the WUT’s stand proved very popular among the visitors. The students and candidates were glad to hear the testimony of, and get all the information from, a person who actually is a real student of the promoted university and, what is more, speaks their own language. The fair ended on Sunday, May 4th, and on next day Ms. Wierzbińska took her trip back to Poland.