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Regular version of the site

‘I Really Enjoy Learning Russian’

‘I Really Enjoy Learning Russian’

© HSE University

Karla Sofía Torres Pesquera is an exchange student from ITAM, Mexico City. She is spending one semester at HSE University, from January to June. She has talked to HSE News Service about the courses she is taking this semester and also described her life at the HSE dorm.

Karla Sofía Torres Pesquera

I’m taking four courses at HSE—Russian language and three courses which will be revalidated in my home university. All my exams are in June, which is when all HSE students sit exams.

I chose to take Russian classes because I really want to improve my language skills. Exchange students are assigned to six different levels of Russian. On that scale I am on the second level (which represents an A1 or a little more).

Now because of the lockdown we study online. I have six hours of Russian language classes per week. For me, studying Russian has being particularly hard because Russian is so different from every other language I have learned. I do feel, however, that I have improved since I arrived. Oleg Ilyasov, our teacher of Russian, is the best professor I could ask for.

It is not just that he gets that it can be hard for some of us, but also he encourages us to keep learning and helps us feel motivated about class

I really enjoy learning Russian with Professor Ilyasov’s lessons. Also, he talks a lot about the Russian way of living, which tends to be super interesting.

As for my other courses, I’ve chosen Human Rights in Post-Communist Societies, because for me it is very important to understand the country that I was here to discover, and I thought through this course I could do that. I am also taking Cross-cultural Management, because it is a course I had to take in my home university.

Finally, I chose International Relations in the Asia-Pacific Region, because I thought that I could get a different perspective on the international issues, not biased by the United States’ perspective. For me something very different is the view of the world the Russians have, which completely differs from the Mexican view, being underneath the United States. I have learned a lot about the other side of the coin.

Exchange students at HSE University are not enrolled in any particular degree programme or faculty and are free to take courses from any faculty at any level of study

Since I am just taking four courses, I do not have such packed weeks. On Mondays, I do have a full schedule from 11 am to 7 pm. Then on Tuesdays I just have classes from 3 to 6. On Thursdays I have, again like on Mondays, from 11 to 7. And on Fridays and Saturdays I do not have any classes. For Russian, the homework is mostly lessons and exercises, but for my other classes there are essays and presentations to do.

Living in a Dormitory

I live in the Dormitory 4, located in the centre of Moscow. I share room with another girl, and we share the fridge that is in the room. Other than that, we share the kitchen, bathroom, showers and the study room with the other people from our floor. Each person has their own pans, dishes, and everything to cook and eat.

Once every two weeks, each room is in charge of cleaning the kitchen. The cleaning lady is the best—every day she cleans the bathrooms, the corridor, the kitchen, and the study room. The cleaning of each room is on us, and once every month or two the dorm manager checks that the rooms are in order and that we follow the dormitory rules.

I cook for myself usually. I like to cook Mexican food. It makes me feel more "in my place". Mexican food uses a lot of tomato, corriander, onion, and garlic. So it is basically to season everything you want with those ingredients. Also spicy pepper would work, but that is hard to find in Russia.

On the last three floors of the building (out of six), there are study rooms, where people go do study and do their homework. There are also two gyms in the building. I don’t go there, but whoever wants to exercise, can do it from 10 am to 10 pm, which is the time the gyms are open.

Admissions to HSE’s Bachelor's and Master’s programmes are now open. International students can apply online. To learn more about HSE University, its admission process, or life in Moscow, please visit International Admissions website, or contact the Education & Training Advisory Centre at: inter@hse.ru, or via WhatsApp at: +7 (916) 311 8521.

Undergraduate applicants can take mock exams online to evaluate their chances of being accepted. Graduate applicants can register for preliminary portfolio assessment

See also:

Applications Open for HSE University Intensive Summer Language School 2022

This summer, the HSE University Russian Language Centre will offer intermediate and advanced Russian-language students an opportunity to learn and practice their skills while immersing themselves in Moscow life.

‘I Am Very Pleased with My Choice: HSE Is a Very Good University with Good Lecturers and Smart Students’

Many international students choose HSE University as their academic mobility destination. Some travel to Moscow to immerse themselves in a new culture, while others take online mobility options due to pandemic-related restrictions. HSE News Service spoke to three students about their exchange semester at HSE University.

Let's Learn to Speak Russian

A growing number of HSE University’s international students are actively learning Russian, even if their degree programme is taught entirely in English. To help them build fluency, the HSE University Preparatory Programme launched a Russian Speaking Club for its students in March 2021. Now, all HSE University's students, regardless of the programme they are in, can take part in the meetings.

HSE and Peking University Strengthen Scientific and Educational Ties in Mathematics

HSE University has signed a student exchange agreement with Peking University, one of China’s biggest and oldest universities. The signing took place on November 26 as part of the closing ceremony of the China-Russia Year of Scientific and Technological Innovation.

Challenging and Rewarding Months in Moscow

Vania Valeria Álvarez Gaona, an exchange student from Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (Mexico), talks about her Spring 2020 semester at HSE University Moscow.

'We Can Have Precious Experience Every Day'

Yuri Ishitoya, a Spring 2020 exchange student from Akita International University (Japan), tells about her favourite place in Moscow and how cooking helps you make new friends.

How HSE Supports Its Students

HSE supports its students in many ways, from providing financial assistance to helping students reach their academic and professional potential. Read on to learn more about what the University does to support its undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral students.

Learn Russian Online

The HSE Centre for International Preparatory Programmes is launching an intensive online course of Russian as a Foreign Language. The course will start on October 1, 2020 and will be part of a blended preparatory programme that aims to help international students gain proficiency in Russian so that they can enrol in Russian-taught undergraduate and graduate programmes. Registration for the course is already open.

Russian Language Unites: HSE Students Come Together for Online Classes While in Self-Isolation

Elena Aisakova teaches Russian to students of International Preparatory Programmes. Her five groups have all transitioned to distance learning. HSE News Service has asked Elena and HSE's international students what it’s like to study Russian online as well as what tips they have to help others learn effectively while being on ‘opposite sides’ of the computer screen.

If You Say So: HSE Launches New Open Access Resource for Studying Russian

Do you have some knowledge of Russian but want to hone your skills and speak like a ‘real Russian’? If so, faculty members and instructors of the HSE School of Linguistics have worked together to create a free online resource just for you. Как скажешь (‘If You Say So’), which will launch April 4, is a virtual textbook and workbook built around video clips that feature HSE faculty and students.