Igor Meshakov-Korjakin Russian Scholarship

Igor Meshakov-Korjakin Russian Scholarship recipient Nicholas Baxter reflects on his Russian experience

The Igor Meshakov-Korjakin Russian scholarships were awarded to University of Melbourne students for the first time in 2013. These scholarships were established as the result of a generous gifting from the late Igor Meshakov-Korjakin, who was formerly a senior lecturer in the department of Russian and Language Studies at the University of Melbourne. This donation enabled the establishment of a scholarship (or scholarships) for students of Russian, allowing study in Russian language and/or Russian literature at a university in Russia, or at the Pushkin Institute in Moscow.

From an impressive array of applications, three fortunate and deserving recipients were chosen. Nicholas Baxter was one of those recipients, and here he shares his reflections on his time away.

"Having recently returned from the study abroad program I would like to express how incredibly grateful I am for the opportunity to have travelled to Russia. I applied for the scholarship so I could travel overseas to enhance my Russian language abilities within a culturally-immersive environment. I also wanted to discern how my knowledge of Russia and the Russian language could evolve to complement my studies in Medicinal Chemistry.

Learning Russian in an environment where it is spoken by everyone was initially quite difficult, but also incredibly rewarding, as I developed my abilities swiftly. In addition to learning in such a unique environment, the scholarship also afforded me the ability to focus on my studies by helping me to pay for flights, health insurance, vaccinations, visa/passport costs, tuition, living costs, food, warm winter apparel and accommodation.

Thanks to the support provided by the Igor Meshakov-Kojakin scholarship, during my time away I was also able to experience the Russian country and culture, travelling to many destinations in Russia, including St Petersburg, Kazan, Rostov and Volgograd among others. On some occasions I was able to travel with other University of Melbourne students, which gave me the chance to practice my language abilities with my peers.

Another highlight of my time in Russia was being able to connect with biomedical researchers within the physiology faculty at Moscow State University. There, I was able to collaborate on research and writing papers intended for publication in international journals. My time in Russian also gave me new insights into German and Russian bilateral trade within my spheres of interest, including; chemical engineering systems, analytical chemistry equipment, and the massive petroleum and pharmaceutical industries – both of which are particularly interesting in the case of Germany and Russia. I have gained significant insight and sufficient language ability to be able to comprehend developments in the research world of Russia, and I have identified major sources of potential funding for future Russian research projects. I am fortunate that experience has given me a solid foundation from which to make decisions affecting my future research and career, possibly even returning to Russia.

In summary, I wouldn't have been able to collaborate with researchers, develop my Russian language ability, or gain insight into Russia's industry without the generous help of the University of Melbourne, the State Trustees, and the donors of the Igor Meshakov-Korjakin Russian Scholarship. This trip has ultimately enabled me to experience the potential of future Australian-Russian developments and has renewed my motivation and passion for my education and future career aspirations. I feel privileged to have received such an honour as to experience this as an undergraduate."

Applications for the 2014 Igor Meshakov-Korjakin Russian Scholarships have already closed. Successful applicants will be notified of the outcome in late July 2014.