REGISTERING FOR COURSES AND ACCESS TO STUDENT ‘PORTAL’
The Orientation Week (O-week) is the most essential time period when the most bureaucratic things are done. My personal experience was a disastrous one, as our coordinator at the faculty was on vacation.
As a result, our student cards were delayed, thus we could not get the library or transport cards in time, because the actual registration at the university data system is done by assigning you the student card. When you get your student card you will also get your student login information; with it you can log into your Blackboards and Share Point systems. Blackboard you can access from home, but Share Point you can access ONLY from the faculty building itself. Personally I did not end up using these system during my whole exchange period; maybe because of my specific course selection.
Further complication was registration for the courses. It was possible only two weeks after studies have begun. This is done because the host university wants to give you the chance to ‘go and see’ if you like the courses or not, and accordingly you can change them till they will be fixed in the Learning Agreement. Thus, during these two weeks, we were not unable to access any study materials.
This matter could be solved, as my coordinator suggested, by finding in each class (so called) “Старший” or “Старыста” (the oldest). This person is responsible for distributing any information in class and between students. Unfortunately, I did not find one, but luckily one person volunteered to help me.
The worst nightmare was still to come! After finding the list of mandatory and optional reading materials I started to search for them. I tried to buy one mandatory book per class, so that I would not need to worry of not having a copy; because I was not being able to take out any books from library. Unfortunately, in the book shop these books have been sold out and no orders would be coming. However, similar to Amazon.com webpage, there is a webpage Ozon.ru where you can order literature. This page literally saved my life, because in Russia even optional reading material equals to mandatory one in order to pass the assignments.
Before going to see your coordinator I would recommend you give a call to him/her, because I ended up running for nothing many times, especially when it came to signing the Learning Agreement.