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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:

‘My Prep Year Experience Has Been Phenomenal; I Would Repeat It All over Again if I Could’

The International Preparatory Year programme held its graduation ceremony in July. This academic year, 125 students from 50 countries were enrolled in the programme. They will continue their studies at Russian universities, most of them pursuing bachelor's and master's programmes at HSE University. The graduation was organised as a quest, where the students were able to demonstrate their achievements in learning the Russian language. Graduates from Ecuador, Syria, and Mexico shared their impressions with the HSE News Service, Deputy Director Polina Shanko talked about plans for the coming year, and mathematics teacher Vladimir Gordin gave his advice to future students.

HSE University and Rossotrudnichestvo Agree to Train Specialists in Teaching Russian as a Foreign Language

HSE University and Rossotrudnichestvo have signed an agreement to establish a Russian Language Centre at HSE University in St Petersburg. It will train teachers of Russian studies and future leaders of educational programmes and courses of Russian as a foreign language. The document was signed by HSE University Rector Nikita Anisimov and Head of Rossotrudnichestvo Yevgeny Primakov at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum.

‘Russia Is a Land of Openness and Possibility’

Lorenzo Trufolo graduated from Bologna University and is studying in the HSE International Preparatory Year ahead of his master’s studies in international trade at HSE University. In his interview, he talks about his studies in Russia, participation in academic conferences and competitions, and the challenges of living in Moscow.

HSE Prep Year Students Present Their Research Papers at International Conference in Tomsk

From April 25 to 27, a scientific student conference was held at Tomsk Polytechnic University (TPU). It was attended by international graduate students and postgraduate students from 57 countries, including four students from the HSE Preparatory Year programme. The HSE News Service talked to the conference organisers and participants about their impressions of the event.

‘The 4th International Economics Olympiad—My Journey’

Oghogho Joy Isibor came to HSE University after earning a scholarship from the Faculty of Economic Sciences for her performance in the International Economics Olympiad. She is one of several foreigners to apply via the same competition. Oghogho is currently studying on the HSE University Preparatory Year Programme before starting her Economics degree. Read on to find out about her experience of the Olympiad, adapting to life in Russia, and the challenges of learning Russian for her future studies.

‘I Made a Lot of Friends and My Speaking Level Improved’

On December 23, students of the HSE Preparatory Year got together for a festive Russian speaking club. They expanded their vocabulary and cultural outlook by immersing themselves in Russian winter holiday traditions and even played the role of Ded Moroz—the Russian Santa.

‘The City of Moscow Inspires Me with the Joy of Living’

The new academic year is gaining momentum at the HSE Preparatory Year, with students from over 40 countries currently enrolled. The HSE News Service talked to the new students about their first impressions and the challenges of studying at HSE University and living in Moscow, while teachers of the Prep Year extracurricular clubs shared their ideas and plans for future activities.

‘A High Concentration of Intercultural Communications’

The team of the HSE International Preparatory Year said goodbye to its students at a graduation party that took place at the HSE Cultural Centre. 197 students from 58 countries graduated from the programme this year. They learned Russian and profile subjects in Russian, which has helped over 100 of them to enrol in degree programmes at HSE University.

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.

American Students Delve into Russian Language, Culture, and History

On February 1, a group of American students started their short-term on-campus study programme at HSE University. During three months, the students will take courses in post-Soviet Russian history, contemporary Russian domestic and foreign policy, social anthropology, and a practical course of Russian as a Foreign Language.