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Regular version of the site

“We enjoy studying!”: foreign students share their experiences

Higher School of Economics welcomes students from Russia and from abroad.

The “Advertising and PR” Bachelor’s Programme accepts an increasing number of students from around the world every year. Our students come from Canada, Asia and Africa (China, Korea, Indonesia), the former USSR (Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Moldova), Eastern and Southern Europe (Germany, Italy) and the Baltic States (Latvia).

“The Bachelor’s Programme pays special attention to organizing educational trips to various countries. This gives us a chance to select the most motivated students for the programme, and for the prospective students to get a taste of what they should strive for and what they need to accomplish in order to be accepted to their “dream programme””, says Maria Mordvinova, academic supervisor of the “Advertising and PR” Bachelor’s Programme). “During our international trips, we meet with students’ parents and school directors. As well as that, we conduct master class sessions and host an open house. Our faculty strive to immerse the students into their potential professional field. This helps prospective students choose their future area of expertise.

Getting into one of the top Russian universities is not an easy feat, but it’s an achievable goal.

“What matters most is that you know what you want and have the necessary skills to achieve it”, says Olga Afanasieva, vice-dean in charge of student applicants at the Faculty of communications, media and design. “Students who’ve won prizes at international academic Olympics competitions and the “Top Notch” (Высший пилотаж) project competition may apply for a scholarship. Students can also pass the entrance exams and successfully complete an interview with the selection committee. And for those talented students who have to pay tuition, grant programmes may apply. Anything is possible – the important thing is to devise a concrete plan to achieve your goal of getting into the university. You have to put in the maximum amount of effort.”

We had a chat with our former applicants, now first-year students – Ekaterina Chernaya (The Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic) and Ksenia Kiseleva (Latvia). They shared with us their stories of success – of getting into the Higher School of Economics. They told us how they chose to apply to HSE, how their entrance exams went, how their move to Moscow went and much more.

So, how did your application to the Higher School of Economics go?

Ekaterina: Getting into HSE felt so out of reach that I never expected to actually get in. I took two standard HSE exams: Russian and English. They are much like the Russian Unified State Exam (ЕГЭ), and I had studied very hard for that. Which is why my results were 98 points in English and 90 points in Russian. Based on my results, I received a university grant that would cover 70% of my tuition. The best part was that I already knew in April that I would be going to HSE. So while my classmates kept studying for the Unified State Exam, I could go out and enjoy the last moments of my carefree childhood.

Ksenia: I got into HSE as a result of winning the “Top Notch” project competition. It went in two stages: correspondence (creating a project) and full-time (presenting your project to a jury in Moscow). My project was on the value of theater as a cultural entity. I was awarded the first prize in the competition and now I can study at HSE for free! “Top Notch” gives a unique learning opportunity to foreign students. They get a chance to get into one of the top-rated Russian universities, which is a chance you can’t pass up. It was quite easy to apply for the university – everything is online now. This makes the whole application process accessible no matter where you are. I was pleasantly surprised by the attention I received from the HSE faculty and staff. Whenever I had questions about getting a visa or anything else, they were more than happy to help.

Why did you decide to apply to HSE for the “Advertising and PR” programme?

Ekaterina: Advertising is a growing and promising industry, and HSE offers all the opportunities to receive valuable knowledge and skills. HSE pulled off a successful advertising campaign by becoming one of Russia’s Top 5 universities within 25 years. That’s the kind of example you want to follow.

Ksenia: I’ve always been interested in advertising, since that’s the kind of art that can open many doors into multiple aspects of life. Advertising is present in so many spheres of life: managing the masses, business, creating new things, something that can catch the public’s eye. Choosing to apply to HSE was a no-brainer – it’s the best university!

What do you like the most about the Bachelor’s Programme?

Ekaterina: I love the fact that you don’t need to sit at your desk for hours, meticulously studying your textbooks, trying to memorize everything. We study actual cases, which makes our seminars fun and active. We even play games, such as “Research battle”. It’s not an arduous task to study here. I don’t go here to just obtain a prestigious HSE diploma – studying at “Advertising and PR” is addictive.

Ksenia: I fell in love with our professors at first lecture. They don’t simply bombard you with boring facts. Their lectures are a special process that makes you want to participate and develop.

What was the easiest/most difficult aspect of your journey?

Ekaterina: The most difficult thing about applying to HSE is to manage your anxiety. It’s vital to realize that no one wants to make you fail on purpose. You have to show your best, achieve the best result that you’re capable of. People who’ve had a concrete goal of getting into HSE for several years find it easier to manage their stress. You have to keep up with the HSE news published on the official website and take part in competitions. And you can’t overlook a strong foundation of a basic high school education.

Ksenia: Getting in wasn’t that hard for me since getting into a Russian university had been my life-long dream. The hardest part is to deal with nervousness, which is what most students experience. And when you’re a high school graduate moving to a different country – that’s so much more stressful. But it’s easier to deal with the stress when you’re excited about major life changes.

How did your move to Moscow go? Did it take a long time to adapt?

Ekaterina: My move has been very positive. I am really happy with my choice of university and the programme, I’ve made many new friends. Yes, I still miss my homeland, but Moscow is feeling more and more like home as well. And studying at HSE is what keeps me going during my low moments, since it gives me a sense of pride in my accomplishments. I was elected the head of our study group, faculty pays special attention to me since I’m active and want to make my mark. Moving is a way to gain new emotions and experience. It’s a brand new step in life.

Ksenia: When I first got to Moscow it was hard, since the atmosphere and way of life were completely different from what I was used to. But I adapted quite quickly and made some new friends who helped me deal with tough times.

Do you see a difference in your approach to studying and how Russian students approach their work?

Ekaterina: We are all the same within our educational programme, our citizenship makes no difference. I am just as much of a student as anyone with a Russian passport.

Ksenia: I agree with Katya, there is no difference. Everyone at HSE is equal. We all get the same materials and faculty treats us the same way.

What advice can you give to new foreign applicants based on your experience?

Ekaterina: The main point I want to get across is that if you’re 17-18 and you want to study advertising – go for it! It’s really interesting and offers great career opportunities. The Bachelor’s Programme “Advertising and PR” is highly respected, and it’s way cool!

Ksenia: Don’t be afraid and don’t doubt your choice. It’s really exciting to study at HSE. You have to listen to your heart, for it knows what you really want.

What are your plans for the future?

Ekaterina: My main focus is on maintaining my grant, which is a great way to motivate myself for success. It’s great that I know that I’m the one who makes a difference, I’m the one who can make things happen for me. Right now I want to gain as much knowledge and skills as I possibly can. It would be silly to miss out on those opportunities that are offered to me here. After graduation I’d like to get a great job and apply all the skills I’ve gained during these 4 years at HSE. I would like to succeed in my chosen field and I have no doubt that will happen, especially when I have such an impressive educational background to support me.

Ksenia: I’m planning to open my own business in PR communications. I am positive that earning a Bachelor’s Degree in “Advertising and PR” will help me achieve this goal.