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18-year-old Rovshan Atayev, a student of Mechanics and Mathematics Faculty of the Belarusian State University from Turkmenistan, finished his first year with all tens

Ten points out of ten

18-year-old Rovshan Atayev, a student of Mechanics and Mathematics Faculty of the Belarusian State University from Turkmenistan, has surprised many people with his knowledge and broken stereotypes about foreign students. The guy finished his first year with all tens — this is the highest mark.

Rovshan Atayev has no difficulty studying in Belarus
A tall and robust guy is standing at the Pervomayskaya metro station. Recently, Rovshan has passed the final exam and is packing his things to go to his home city Ashgabat, where his mom and dad are waiting for his son, whom they haven’t seen for a year! Prior to this, Rovshan’s relatives learned about his successes through correspondence in social networks and Skype. By the way, Rovshan’s parents also were straight A students.

“I am looking forward to going home, however, I haven’t yet left, but already want to go back to Minsk,” Rovshan says as we are strolling along the quay close to his dorm. “My mother has asked me what she should cook for me. By the way, she can cook potato pancakes. However, they are different in Minsk — delicious in their own way.”

Well, the guy needs to be fed by his mother Jahan as he has lost 13 kilograms while living in Minsk!

Rovshan has been a straight A pupil from childhood, receiving only fives — this is the highest grade in Turkmenistan. He studied at a language school with extensive learning of French, English and German. Rovshan studied French for 12 years — first at school, then at the French Embassy’s Language Institute; he also studied English for 6 years and German for 1.5 years. Yet, he was inclined for exact sciences — physics and maths. After he entered the 9th grade with focus on mathematics, he began to study his favourite subjects profoundly. As a 4th-form pupil, he took part in city mathematics Olympiads — ranking first. When time came to decide where to receive higher education, he was choosing between Moscow and Minsk. The decision to go to study to Minsk was taken virtually by the entire family. Previously, Rovshan’s cousin Serdar graduated from the Belarusian National Technical University and returned home to work. He told many good things about Belarusian education. Besides, Rovshan’s elder brother, Arslan, is studying the profession of a design engineer in Brest. Why shouldn’t the two brothers live closer to each other? Thus, Rovshan, his father Mergen, and father’s brother with his daughter Jennet who entered the Economics Faculty of the BSU, boarded the Ashgabat-Minsk plane.     

“My first impression of Minsk was that I liked it. My first impressions after I entered the Mechanics and Mathematics Faculty was ‘oh, I have to study again’,” Rovshan jokes.

Algebra was the first discipline he passed during his first end-of-term set of exams. He was the first of his groupmates to enter the examination room.

“I drew a card with the task to prove two or three theorems and solve a problem,” he recollects. “The examiner looked at what I had written, asked me additional questions and wrote something in his paper. I peeped into it and saw the mark — 10!”

Rovshan didn’t celebrate the ending of his first end-of-term exams, he says shyly. During his winter vacations, he was reading, doing sports and playing the guitar. In Minsk, he made his dream come true — started attending music classes, bought his first classical guitar and started learning to play blues.

Along with being good at his studies, Rovshan is actively engaged with the research lab at the Mechanics Chair. Recently, he and other guys from the Mechanics and Mathematics Faculty took the first place in the national theoretical mechanics Olympiad in Gomel. Gomel also hosted an international Olympiad where the Mechanics and Mathematics Faculty’s team ranked 6th. Now Rovshan is studying yet more diligently to take revenge next year.

“In the second term, I started to pay yet more attention to studies. Now I always sit at the first desk and listen to the teacher attentively. Mechanics and mathematical analysis are two complicated but very necessary subjects. I am sure: if you’re well-prepared, the teacher will appreciate your knowledge. We don’t receive good marks for nothing.”

Rovshan eagerly shared his secret of preparing for exams, “While preparing, you shouldn’t get side-tracked,” he says. “I’d say, it’s inadmissible. Once my roommate invited other students to our room, they leaned out of the window and started shouting: ‘Freebee, come!”. I first didn’t understand what they were doing, but later I realised. No, this won’t help. I am not a dreamer, I am a rationalist. Of course, my fellow students would ask me how I could study so hard. I have a standard answer: don’t digress. There are opportunities to obtain knowledge, what is needed is just the desire.”

Rovshan hasn’t made up his mind yet whether he wants to connect his life with theoretical and applied mechanics or with bio- and nano-mechanics. In the former case, he’ll be engaged in robotics and satellite development, for instance, while in the latter he’ll invent prostheses and study human anatomy from the mechanics prospective.

He will be studying for 5 more years, as he intends to take a post-graduate course. I wonder, if he had lower marks for his exams, would it upset him?

“If my average grade were 9 points, I wouldn’t be upset, but if it were 8…  You know, I’d learn the subject more thoroughly and re-pass the exam. I’ve seen the news the other day and learned that a National Graduates’ Ball takes place in Belarus. I’d like to participate in it,” he says seriously.

Rovshan tells that some teachers asked him if he was indeed just 18 years old, thinking that he might have another higher education. Sometimes, he didn’t pass his exams automatically just because professors liked to listen to a clever student speaking.

“Your people are very responsive and open, I like that. Next year, I won’t go home as my country will be hosting the Asian Games, and the city and airport will be overloaded. I plan to visit some Belarusian cities and lakes. And now I will tell my parents about my studies in detail and give an interview to my grandfather who teaches at the International Oil and Gas University: he needs to write a material about our students studying abroad”.


Dmitry Medvedev, Associate Professor, PhD in physics and mathematics, Dean of the Mechanics and Mathematics Faculty of the BSU:

This foreign student is not just a rarity — we just didn’t have such a student in the department’s history. He speaks languages, excellently communicates with other students, represents the university at Olympiads and studies well. It’s impossible not to notice such a talented young man — he seems mature and responsible for his deeds despite he’s just 18! He’s self-motivated and he knows what he wants. So far, we have a very good impression of him and hope it’ll continue be so. He passes many exams automatically and pleases his teachers and the university in general with his knowledge. Usually, it is guys who are in love with mathematics who enter the mechanics and mathematics department. However, not many receive the highest marks. I told Rovshan: don’t lose what you have, keep on learning. We’ll provide him with a discount for education at the end of August for his good studies.

By Alina Kasel

Education enjoys popularity

More foreigners studying in Belarus

The Belarusian First Deputy Education Minister, Vadim Bogush, notes that the number of foreign citizens seeking education in Belarus is on the rise. This year, they number around 19,000, with most being university students, from over 60 states; the majority come from Asia, the Middle East and Western Europe.

Foreigners often come to Belarus to gain a linguistic education, while courses on economics and high technologies are also in demand, alongside those relating to healthcare.

By Olga Korneeva

New uniforms for schoolchildren

Trade Unions for Children campaign launches new stage in Belarus

On the eve of September 1st, trade union organisations are providing assistance to families and social institutions, to prepare pupils for the new academic year. Trade unions are buying school supplies, stationery and textbooks, as well as clothes and footwear for children from large families and those on low income, and for children with disabilities and orphans, with special attention paid to first-graders.

Sponsored children’s social shelters, boarding schools, and family-type houses for children are being given material and financial assistance. In particular, Rechitsa Raizhilkomkhoz’s trade union is giving the first-grade children of employees schoolbags with stationery, for the sixth year in a row. In the Uzda District, the Association of Trade Unions, alongside district and primary professional organisations, has purchased schoolbags and stationery for boys and girls from families with five or more children, as well as for socially disadvantaged first-graders. Grodno’s Regional Committee of Trade Unions of Bank Employees has donated sportswear and footwear to children attending the Ivye District social-pedagogical centre, for the new academic year. The trade union organisation of the Kamenets District, alongside traditionally allocated material aid, has joined forces with the district organisation of the BRSM (Belarusian Republican Youth Union) for projects entitled With a Kind Heart to School and Prepare a Child for School.

In order to attract a greater number of people, charity volunteers have been visiting trade centres and ‘school markets’, encouraging others to help disadvantaged children prepare for school; those wishing to may buy school supplies, placing them in specially installed boxes.

By Olga Korneeva
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