International students share their impressions of living in Moscow and studying at HSE
What’s it like to study in Russia? Why HSE? The answers are, of course, different for everyone. We’ve asked some of our current international students to write about their experiences, in order to give a better idea of what it’s like to study at HSE. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This past May, the Russia-ASEAN summit in Sochi was attended by President Joko Widodo and the Ministers. As students from Indonesia, my friends and I do our best to represent Indonesia at HSE in Moscow as well.
Few students at HSE have been to Indonesia, so to introduce them to our country’s culture and traditions, we organized a Culture Café evening. Students from Russia, Ghana, China, Nigeria and Uganda all took part. The event had three parts: Ratya Permatasari began by discussing how Indonesia is a meeting point of Asian cultures, then I talked about distinct traditional pieces of clothing like batik, sarongs and skull caps, and finally Mas Muhammad Isa described Indonesian food and cultural attractions. When most people think of Indonesia, all they think of is Bali, which is a really small part of the country, so we were happy to introduce our peers to other aspects of our country’s heritage.
One week after the Cultural Café, HSE’s School of Asian Studies held Indonesian Day, in honor of the 70th anniversary of Indonesian independence and the 65th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Indonesia and Russia. The venue was decorated to give the feel of Indonesia and the seminar featured representatives from the Indonesian Embassy in Moscow. At the end of the show, students to sang Ayo Mama from Ambon. It was a very warm ending to a delightful celebration.
I had long looked forward to visiting the Russian State Library, which, with 44.4 million collections, is the largest library in Russia and the fifth largest in the world. The façade of the building shows its history: it is still written “V. I. Lenin State Library of the USSR.” This is what the library was called from 1925 to 1992, before being renamed.
Reading a good book in a nice library is one of life’s great pleasures. So let me tell you the steps that you have to take to get to this point at the Russian State Library:
A. Get a library access card
1. Go to the registration office
We were so excited to go read at the library, however, one of the guards explained to us that we needed an access card in order to actually enter the building.
Learn from our mistake! For your first visit, go first to the registration office located at gate two (Moscow, Vozdvizhenka, 3/5, entrance 2. Tel. +7 (495) 695-57-90).
2. Get your ID and student card, fill out a request form and take a queue number
It’s free to register and Russians and foreigners receive the same kind of library card. Present some kind of identification documents (for example, your passport) and your HSE student ID. Then fill out the request form and take a queue number.
3. Photo session
Time to take a photo for your ID! Wait until your number is called and then enter your personal data and then have your photo taken. The whole process is around 3 minutes.
And then you’re set! Be sure to say “spasiba” (“thank you”) to all of the people who helped you!
B. Reading Books at Library
1. Create an agenda for your library visit
It’s important to make a plan and follow it. This way you can avoid confusion and won’t feel rushed. In addition to your library card, you will be given a red piece of paper that has your name on it. This will serve as your log where all the books that you read will be recorded. Be sure not to lose this – you have to return it when you leave the library!
If you want to explore the library, you should know that:
• The first floor has an online catalog and a room for periodicals and new books
• The second floor consists of rooms for retrieving and returning books, a main reading room, the central catalog system and military books
• The third floor consists of rooms for retrieving and returning books, a main reading room, a room for making photocopies, a room for non-book publications, a museum collection of old and rare books, and a conference hall.
• More details here
2. Select a few books.
To find books, you can use the online catalog system on machines that look like ATMs but instead of cash give you tickets that you can use to retrieve the books that you are looking for.
3. Get the book that you want.
There are several ways to get your books:
• Get your books from the retrieval rooms on the second and third floors
• Take your books right off the bookshelves
So finally you’ve found the book that you want! Now you can take your book, find a comfortable and well-lit place to sit, and open the front cover!
When you’re done reading, don’t forget to return the book! You wouldn’t want there to be any problems the next time you visit this magnificent library.
1. Russia’s top universities are located in Moscow
Many of Russia’s premier universities are located in Moscow and together offer an expansive range of educational programs. Among them are:
And of course the Higher School of Economics!
2. Moscow universities are truly international
Russia's universities train tens of thousands of international student from around the world, preparing them for careers in the private and public sectors in their home countries and elsewhere around the world. All premier universities also have joined the European Universities Association and are signatories to the Bologna accords.
3. Great social life for international students in Russia
Outside of studying, international students in Russia can take part and attend all different kinds of events: concerts, dances, comedy nights, and every imaginable sport. University student organizations organize more events on top of everything that is going on in Moscow.
1. It’s a National Research University
Established 10 years ago by the Russian government, the "National Research University" designation granted to top state universities that integrate education with scientific research. This enables students to gain unique experiences while studying.
2. It’s international and rigorous
HSE has more than one hundred foreign instructors from 25 countries. The students are top notch and are challenged by their professors – so there’s no getting away with poorly written essays!
Final grades are not based exclusively on the final exam; instead it’s a combination of essays, homework assignments, exams, and participation.
3. HSE in the city and global events
Throughout the year, there are many academic events on campus, the largest and most famous of which is the HSE April International Academic Conference. The event attracts leading experts from around the world and not only academics: business leaders, policy makers, and other influencers all take part. This year, the renowned Indonesian communications specialist Dr. Mulyana (Universitas Padjajaran) participated.
Many ideas for projects that brighten and improve Moscow as a city originate at HSE. Open lectures are held in economics, sociology, history, philosophy, literature, psychology and engineering for anyone who wishes to attend. This HSE Lectorium series takes places all over the city, for example, in Gorky Park during the summer and at Moscow museums during the winter.