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‘Everyone Is Cool and Loves What They Do’

‘Everyone Is Cool and Loves What They Do’

© HSE University

Ulyana Rusetskaya of Belarus is in her first year at the HSE Art and Design School. She entered HSE University by winning the HSE Global Scholarship Competition (GSC) for foreign citizens in the area of design. Ulyana spoke with the HSE News Service about how to prepare a project for the GSC and how the HSE community differs from other university communities. Prepare for the GSC 2021 with the winners of the GSC 2020!

The Beginning of a Journey

In Minsk, I studied at the state gymnasium college of arts, and before that I studied at an art school for five years, but I learned most of what I know at the gymnasium college. I learned about HSE from a friend who also came here through the GSC (she is studying in the Communication Design Programme). And before her, several other people from our college came here by participating in the competition.

The first time I participated in a competition was in my third year of college. But then, about three weeks before the deadline, I started to panic – I was working on my graduation course, I was about to get my diploma…. Basically, I was not in the right state of mind and ended up not submitting my project. The second time I participated was better planned and, in the end, successful – I got in.

The Global Scholarship Competition will be held for the eighth time October 22–29, 2020 both on campus and remotely. Online registration begins May 25. For foreign citizens planning on entering undergraduate or specialist programmes, participation in the competition is free. Participants can prepare for the GSC by participating in free webinars led by HSE teaching staff and following projects on the HSE University for International Students group page on Vkontakte.

Preparing for and Participating in the GSC

The design competition differs in format from other areas: there are no tests in real time. You need to come up with a project, draw it up, send it, and wait for the result.

Four other students from my college cohort got into the competition, and we all got into HSE and are now students here. I’m even in the same group as some of them. We kept in touch throughout the process in a group chat on Telegram, and, frankly, it was a continuous stream of panic.

What if someone receives a letter from HSE, but someone else doesn’t? What a disaster, what a nightmare – we all failed and we’ll never achieve anything in life!

What if everyone gets a letter except for one of us? That would be even worse! Overall, it was a very nerve-wracking experience, but I’m glad we went through it together. It’s much more difficult to deal with stress when you’re on your own.

I did not study up on anything specifically for the GSC – what I learned during my time in art school and college came in handy. If you already have a similar foundation, you are very lucky! My project was a series of illustrations for Eduard Uspensky’s story, ‘The Little Dog Astra’. It seems that I submitted 12 illustrations à la children's drawings: the book turned out cute, and I’m proud of it.

An Academic Family and the HSE Community

There are always pros and cons to one’s academic experience, but, ultimately, I’m happy with everything at HSE. I chose animation and illustration because I like it. One might say, I’ve realized a childhood dream.

This creative kind of activity allows my ‘inner child’, who is constantly thinking up different absurdities, to express herself

I especially like the HSE community. When you go to major university events (or at least major events at the HSE Art and Design School), you feel like you’re a part of an academic family. It’s an unusual feeling, because I was never a part of a community like this before. In college, for example, my cohort had a total of about 50 people. At HSE I chose the animation and illustration track, and in the first year of the animation track alone, there were about 200 students. People are erudite, smart, many of them have earned 100 points on at least one State Unified Exam. In this kind an environment, you feel challenged to be as good as those around you, and you become even better. I am delighted with the teaching staff. They’re all really cool and they all love what they do. They are inspiring!

Ulyana Rusetskaya

There are also some cons, of course: sometimes things aren’t very well organized, but usually people learn from their mistakes, and there are less and less cons. There can be quite intense competition at HSE, which also makes you nervous—especially for those of us who are studying on a scholarship and are afraid of losing it because of our rating.

But the pros outweigh the cons, and for me personally they are more significant. I like HSE.

Tips for GSC 2021 Participants

In my field, it’s rare for someone to just randomly end up here. I am sure that everyone who plans to enter the programme already has experience in one way or another with a field related to the fine arts and has managed to accumulate their own experience. I’d better give a general and, I think, useful piece of advice not just for those in design: less nerves, more information. If something is stressing you out about the competition—such as enrolling or getting your documents together—it is better to carefully read the site. On the site, you can find either an answer to the question, or the contact information of HSE employees who can tell you what to do and how. Sometimes it can be difficult if you’re shy or nervous—I know from experience—but it’s better to write or call once than to walk around getting more stressed out.

To learn more about the benefits of participating in the GSC 2021 and how to register, click here.

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