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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:

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.

'I Fell in Love with HSE University at First Sight'

HSE University offers a wide range of online and in-person preparatory programmes for international students, including various Russian language courses for future Bachelor’s and Master’s students, intensive Maths training in Russian, and an English-taught course in Economics. Students come from all over the world, drawn to HSE by the strength of its international reputation and education quality. Several students of this year’s cohort have shared their impressions of the Prep Year programme.

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.

What It Is Like to Be an HSE Student

Van Ly Vu took Prep Year programme at HSE University before enrolling in BA in Advertising and Public Relations. In her column for HSE Illuminated, an online student newsletter, she shares her story of becaming a student of HSE University.

'It Was Nice to Experience the Charms of Student Life in Russia'

Ljiljana Filipović, from Croatia, is currenttly studying in the Master in International Management programme at the HSE Graduate School of Business. This year she was also helping international students with Russian language in 'Russian speaking club' organized by International Prep Year programme. In her interview, Ljiljana Filipović shares her experience of the Prep Year programme and offers some useful tips for international students.

‘I Feel at Ease in Russian Class’

Since September of this academic year, the HSE International Prep Year (IPY) programme has offered a supplemental Russian language course for international students studying at HSE. It is designed for students who have successfully graduated from the preparatory programme and are now studying in undergraduate or graduate programmes at HSE on Russian government scholarships. The HSE News Service spoke with students about the course and learned how it is helping them in their studies at HSE.

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.