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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

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