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‘Every Word and Grammatical Construction That I Learned in the Preparatory Year Is Very Useful for Me’

Roksana Ramirez

Roksana Ramirez
© HSE University

Though born in Ukraine, Roksana Ramirez has lived all her life in Bolivia. A native Spanish speaker, Roksana came to Russia with no knowledge of Russian. She is currently studying at the Graduate School of Business in a Russian-taught Master’s programme in HR Analytics. In an interview with HSE News Service, Roksana describes how HSE’s Prep Year programme helped her become proficient in Russian and how she is now mentoring current prep year students to help them adjust to university life.

International Prep Year programmes train international students with little or no knowledge of Russian before they begin Russian-taught full-degree programmes. Upon completing the programme, students are expected to possess intermediate-level language skills and be ready to enter the Russian-taught full-degree programmes at HSE and other Russian universities.

Roksana Ramirez

When I was deciding which university to go to, I wanted to prioritize age and reputation.  HSE is a new university and does not have the seniority that I was looking for. However, my opinion changed because the Consular of Russia in Bolivia told me about this university, its rapid growth, and rigorous education.

I decided to take the challenge!

I am currently studying in Russian with some courses in English on Coursera. Every word and grammatical construction that I learned in the preparatory year is very useful for me.

My level of Russian language is not quite enough to write big research papers or understand classes perfectly, but with technology, reading, practicing, asking questions, and my professors’ help, studying is becoming more manageable.

Also I have a lot of daily activities besides studying; I participate in sport clubs where I can be involved in the environment and can speak and listen to native speakers.

Coping with Pandemic-related Challenges

When the pandemic hit, I was studying in the Prep Year programme, and we moved to online study. I cannot say that I enjoyed this kind of study, but it was not because of the university. It was because I’ve never liked studying online. I am an active and sociable person who gets very stressed when I have to be on the computer 24/7. The adaptation process to studying online was slow and caused a lot of stress and physical pain for me, but the global situation was uncertain and the confinement was mandatory.

What was complicated was completing the homework. There were many activities, tasks, and classes that put a very heavy burden on the students. There was no time for rest, so the stress grew.

However, I must say that I had good teachers, especially an excellent teacher of Russian language, who taught us grammar in an entertaining way

It was nice to see how our older teachers learned and put effort into adapting to online teaching.

As for studying in the Master’s programme, the online classes are very difficult for me; it is harder to become friends with my classmates. I am the only person who does not speak Russian well, and trying to communicate with other students through a screen makes the situation all the more difficult.

However, my professors have been very kind to me. They help me and explain things. They understand that I am a foreigner and that I do not always know how the system of the University works. They have been patient with me when I make presentations and contribute to class discussions.

Mentoring Current Prep Year Students

Now I am a mentor in the preparatory year. At the moment, I am leading a project that involves translating a Social Sciences glossary from Russian to Spanish language with Prep Year students who want to participate.

The goal of the mentorship programme is to support students of the preparatory faculty so that they feel more comfortable studying and become closer to the university through students who passed through the same experience as them. We give them advice and also help them with whatever they need.

Living in Moscow

I have no complaints regarding living in Moscow. My dorm is comfortable and quiet. I love Russian culture; I like the food and the city. I am an art lover—I love classical music, ballet, sports and Russian music. I take a lot of advantage of being here, because I go to every cultural and interesting event that I see.

Moscow is a cultural paradise and I feel very happy here

HSE University welcomes applicants from all over the world and offers not only different levels of study, but also different formats in English and Russian, online and offline. 

International applicants can apply for Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programmes in a separate admissions process for foreign applicants and receive scholarships with full or partial tuition fee coverage. Students wishing to study in Russian can enroll in Prep Year programmes to imrove their language proficiency and prepare for entrance exams. Applications for the Basic Course are now open. International students can also register to take the Test of Russian as a Foreign Language. The results of the test can be used when applying to HSE University.

Undergraduate applicants can test their chances of admission now by taking mock tests. Master’s applicants also have the opportunity to get a preliminary assessment of their portfolio and communicate with their programme of choice 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.


See also:

International Students Explore Russian Literature in HSE’s Preparatory Year Programme

HSE’s Preparatory Year Programme for international students includes not only intensive Russian language training but also subject specific courses. One such course is ‘Russian Literature’, which introduces international students to classic works by Russian writers such as Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and Chekhov. In the course, students read and discuss select texts in the original Russian, which helps them gain a better understanding of the Russian culture and history.

‘Coming Here Has Been a Very Good Opportunity for Me’

HSE Preparatory Year students not only learn Russian and get ready to enroll in Bachelor’s or Master’s programmes but also explore Russian culture and way of life, which includes trying the local cuisine, sightseeing, and interacting with Russian people. Three international Prep Year students have talked to HSE News Service about learning the language, getting used to living in Moscow, and joining in New Year celebrations in Russia.

‘I'll Definitely Be Here for the New Year’

On December 20, the students of the International Preparatory Year programme at HSE’s Moscow campus got together to usher in the New Year in true Russian style. They all first arrived in Moscow this September with zero or very limited knowledge of Russian. So, their programme started with an intensive course of Russian as a Foreign Language. Now, three months later, they have already mastered enough Russian to make mini-presentations, perform sketches, take part in a Russian culture quiz, and solve Russian riddles.

Drawn by Russian Language and Culture, German Student Enrols at HSE

Having fallen in love with Moscow and the Russian culture during an exchange programme three years ago at HSE, Alis Maria Endres, a native of Germany, decided that she wanted to return to the university to complete a Master’s degree in management. In order to be able to study in Russian, Alis Maria first enrolled in HSE's International Preparatory Year programme.

Prep Year Graduates Ready to Make a Start

On July 12, HSE officially congratulated the graduates of the 2018 Preparatory Year programme. The 10-month intensive course, which was introduced at HSE in 2015, is designed for international students with little or no knowledge of Russian who wish to undertake Russian-taught full-degree programmes. The curriculum focuses on basic language skills (reading, listening, speaking, and writing) and students are able to study in their chosen academic field (humanities, economics, or engineering). This year, young graduates from 40 different countries attended the ceremony, where they were congratulated by their teachers, friends and families.

Admissions Made Easy for International Students: 2018/2019 Academic Year

On November 15, international student admissions for undergraduate and Master’s programmes opened. This year, prospective students can apply to two programmes simultaneously. They’ll be able to track the application process online in their personal profile on the HSE website where they will receive notifications on the stages of their application’s review and decisions by the admissions committee. The documents for visa invitation can also be submitted there.

‘Everyone Finds It Challenging in the Beginning, but I’ve Progressed a Lot, and Now I Can Speak Russian Very Well’

On July 21, 2017, the graduation ceremony for the Preparatory Year programme was held. During the ceremony, more than 170 students from 40 countries received their diplomas, which will enable them to continue their studies in Russia.

Learning to Speak and Write in Russian

HSE’s Preparatory Year trains international students with little or no knowledge of Russian before they begin Russian-taught full-degree programs. Over 10 months of intensive study, students improve their language skills (reading, listening, speaking, and writing), study in a chosen academic field (humanities, economics, or engineering), and adapt to the new educational environment. Upon completing the Preparatory Year, students are expected to possess intermediate-level Russian language skills and be ready to enter Russian-taught full-degree programmes at HSE and other Russian universities.

Over 800 International Students Recommended for Full-tuition Scholarships at HSE

On July 5, the application window closed for international students who made it through the selection process for state-funded spots at the Higher School of Economics. Those students who were not selected are still able to apply to the university for tuition-paying spots, or can enrol in the university’s Preparatory Year programme.

International Students Ready to Study in Russian

On June 27, the first cohort of HSE Preparatory Year graduates received their diplomas after passing the exams. Launched in 2015, the programme offers international students an excellent opportunity to develop their Russian language skills and prepare for Russian-taught programmes at HSE and other Russian universities. This year, approximately 90 people from over 30 countries studied in the programme, which included several tracks – economics, humanities and science.