‘International Professors Came to the HSE with their Unique Courses’
On March 23 - April 3 the Higher School of Economics hosted a joint Spring School Public Policy and Transformation. Roman Kotov, Head of the HSE Center for International Education speaks about the project.
- Mr. Kotov, who initiated this project?
- The School is the first joint project by the recently established HSE Center for International Education together with the Willy Brandt School of Public Policy of the University of Erfurt (Germany) and was generously supported by the Franz Haniel Foundation.
From our side the HSE Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs as well as the Faculty of Applied Political Science were highly involved in this project together with the Saint-Petersburg branch of the HSE.
With the help of our colleagues from St. Petersburg, the School has become not only international, but mobile. During two weeks of the School the participants had an opportunity to study both in Moscow and St Petersburg.
- Why were the German partners involved?
- The cooperation with our German partners is based on mutual interests. In Germany it is the norm that students need to spend at least one semester of their studies abroad. This is why German students are very mobile, they frequently travel to different countries. In turn our professional interest is for international students to come and study at the HSE, which is why we were happy with the request by the University of Erfurt. We organized this program according to world standards of international education.
- How many students participated in the School?
- In our School we had 20 students, half of them from Erfurt University, and half from the HSE. The German side actually included people from 9 countries:Brazil, India, Indonesia, Greece, Macedonia, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Ethiopia, and of course Germany. Such a wide range of participants meant careful planning and more complex arrangements. But at the same time it provided greater satisfaction from the whole project.
- Who were the professors?
- The School benefited from the international faculty of the Erfurt University who gave lectures together with the faculty from HSE. This initiative is particularly important to us as it meant we had international professors coming to the HSE with their unique courses. This was an invaluable experience for Russian students.
- Tell us some more about the events that were planned as part of the program?
- From our experience, a good programme need more than just events just inside the classroom, and that is why we organized an intensive program of visits to government bodies, NGOs and mass-media which, together with a rich cultural programme, allowed our students to gain a full and well rounded vision of contemporary Russia. We consider this to be a particularly important part of destination marketing.
One of the visits was to the Russia Today TV station where the students discovered a lot about the concept behind this TV-channel. They also had the opportunity to visit the studios to witness live broadcasting in English and Arabic. Also the students were able to visit Saint-Petersburg, where they participated in a special programme prepared by our colleagues from the Petersburg branch.
- What can you tell us about the selection process?
- In terms of the entrance criteria for the students we did not have standard requirements. Time was off the essence when we planned the School and we relied on our colleagues from the department of World Politics and World Economy to carry out the selection process. In turn the students from the German side were selected based on their academic success and of course their level of English, which was the working language of the School. The competition for places was intense - we had 3 applicants per place.
- Were there any cultural barriers for the participants?
- Language or cultural barriers were not an issue for the School. It was a matter of proper administration, we initially targeted our efforts on student needs which led to the overall success of the whole program. Students are really excited about opportunities for cultural immersion, about having the ability to meet and communicate with the representatives of different cultures. A good illustration for this is our Facebook Group - ‘International Students in Russia'which we launched recently and now has more than 300 members
- Did the School have any formal conclusion?
- This was a certificate programme and at the end of the course students were given joint certificates from the HSE, Erfurt University and the Haniel Foundation. We believe it is a good line for the CVs of our future alumni.
- This was a pilot project. What will happen next?
- Our German partners are extremely happy about this project and after this initial phase we have their commitment to continue and extend our partnership. We are now thinking about running a similar School in Germany and I believe the university has the resources for that.