THE NATIONAL: SYNERGY UNIVERSITY DUBAI

DUBAI // The largest private university in Russia, Synergy, has opened a Dubai campus – and the emirate’s education regular believes it will help meet a growing demand for Russian-accredited educations.

There are about 80,000 Russian residents and tens of thousands of former Soviet state citizens in the UAE, plus many Russian businesses.

There were about 400 Russian-UAE joint venture companies last year, according to the state news agency Wam.

The university, which has 40,000 students in Russia and international campuses in countries including China and the US, has about 35 students enrolled in its first two bachelor’s programmes, in global economy and hotel and restaurant management.

Most of the students have come to the UAE specifically to attend Synergy.

Maria Zyryanova, 24, came from Russia on a scholarship.

“I think the campus has a great future,” she said. “My friends are already asking about it and are even thinking of coming here. Synergy is very popular in Russia and well known as one of the best.”

Shams Alizada, 19, from Azerbaijan, came to Dubai from Moscow, where she studied at a Saudi International School.

“I wanted a Russian education but in English and with international teachers, which is why I liked the look of this,” she said. “It is important to see the world from different perspectives.”

Dr Warren Fox, head of higher education at the Knowledge and Human Development Authority, which regulates and licenses universities in the emirate’s free zones, welcomed the new addition.

The university is at Jumeirah Lakes Towers (JLT), the emirate’s fastest-growing free zone.

There is one other Russian institution in Dubai, the University of St Petersburg, but its offerings are few and it has not developed at the rate Synergy plans to.

While Dubai International Academic City (DIAC) near Silicon Oasis and Knowledge Village beside Media City are the two educational clusters in the emirate, Mr Maleh said JLT was more suited to the direction of the campus.

“Knowledge Village has very little space now and the infrastructure it provides is already outdated,” he said.

“There’s not much for students and DIAC still has very poor infrastructure whereas here, you are directly connected to the Metro, which is very important for students.

“It provides the students with great opportunities being here,” she said. “We wanted our students to be close to business and in the heart of Dubai to experience Dubai at its best.”

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