Adaptation Challenges of Domestic and International Students in a Russian English-Medium Instruction University


  • Natalia V. Volkova HSE University
  • Anatoliy A. Kolesov Teesside University



student adjustment, international students, student diversity, international education, Russia, English-medium instruction


With the increasing focus on the internationalization of higher education, universities are developing student mobility. This paper examines the challenges experienced by domestic and international students who adapt to a Russian English-medium instruction university. A mixed-method approach with interviews and surveys was utilized to specify, evaluate, and discuss the students’ internationalization experiences in these educational settings. The results indicated that both groups of students mentioned different aspects of language barriers, friendship networks, and university social life as critical areas for adjustment. Domestic students avoid taking part in university social life, instead focusing on their academic performance, this fact probably rooted in the Russian approach to secondary education. The specific finding of the Russian educational landscape is a lack of differences between domestic and international students concerning academic integration. These suggest institutions to adopt more student-oriented adaptation mechanisms, informed by the concept of inclusion in education; these implications are discussed.

Author Biographies

Natalia V. Volkova, HSE University

Natalia V. Volkova, (PhD in Psychology) is an associate professor in the Department of Management and the deputy of academic supervisor at Englishmedium instruction Master’s program in Management and Analytics for Business at National Research University Higher School of Economics. Her research focuses on internationalization in higher education, student involvement in university life, and students’ association with the university brand. 

Anatoliy A. Kolesov, Teesside University

Anatoliy A. Kolesov (orcid: 0000-0002-5281-5135)

Anatoliy A. Kolesov is a student of a Master’s program in Applied Data Science at the School of Computing, Engineering and Digital Technologies, Teesside University in the UK. Among his research interests are the internationalization of higher education, cross-cultural communication, and student experience.



How to Cite

Volkova, N. V., & Kolesov, A. A. (2021). Adaptation Challenges of Domestic and International Students in a Russian English-Medium Instruction University. Journal of International Students, 12(2).



Research Articles (English)