My Journey as a Public Policy Student at HSE
"I still remember the first day I landed in Moscow. It was autumn, the weather was slightly chilly and Moscow felt surprisingly familiar to me. It took me a good two weeks to finish all the paperwork (which was quite daunting in the beginning), after which I started feeling much more settled in Moscow. The program is truly international - I was amazed by the number of students from different countries such as Syria, Mexico, France, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Nigeria, Uzbekistan, Turkey, Kazakhstan and so many more." - by Sambhavna Biswas, alumni of the programme
We dove into serious work beginning from the first class itself. I still remember how one of our professors charted out the plan for our term paper (which was supposed to be submitted a year later) in the very first week and we had to start submitting our research proposals ( which included research problem, questions, task, theory and methodology etc) in the first month itself. It was a tough start but it ensured that were able to submit quality work by end of the term.
An integral part of our coursework was internships, term papers and the thesis which, in my opinion, helped me get a headstart on my research career while I was still a student. I did two research projects in areas which I had never ventured into before. My first work was on social security pensions in a state called Jharkhand in India and the second work was on immigration policies of Italy and EU with a special focus on Bangladeshi small business entrepreneurs in Italy, which I pursued during my dual master’s degree in University of Bologna, Forli Campus (Unibo). During both my projects, I received great support from my supervisor, Sanjay Rajhans, who gave me the flexibility to choose the topic that I would enjoy doing and provided me resources as and when required.
My supervisor also gave me several opportunities to hone my skills. One such opportunity was to be the teaching assistant for the course “Human Rights in Non-Western Societies” where I worked with students to improve their understanding of the material while also occasionally lecturing the complementary undergraduate class. Being a TA was an incredibly fruitful, fulfilling and joyous experience; I had never imagined being bombarded with questions would be so much fun!
The study office was a place where I regularly barged into quite frequently - Katya and Elena, the two study office managers were perpetually helpful and supportive throughout my course of study. My suggestion to all prospective students would be to constantly reach out to their professors for any help and look out for all the opportunities available for students at HSE such as exchange programs and research projects. Such projects will not only help you hone your skills but will also ground you in the job market.
My study at HSE was filled with life changing experiences. I made incredible friends from all over the world who I constantly reached out whenever I needed any kind of help. This program also gave me the opportunity to go to Unibo and study there for a semester where I remember going out every weekend to a new city in Italy. The knowledge I gained and the relationships I made during these two years will be of enduring value to me and will continue to bring smile on my face whenever I think of HSE .