‘HSE Is a Non-Stop Generator of Events — Just Try and Attend Them All!’
HSE University attracts international students both from countries of the former Soviet Union as well as Europe. Anna Grokhovska (Latvia), a Master’s student at the Institute of Education, and Karina Samokhvalova (Kyrgyzstan) a fourth-year student in the Faculty of Humanities, share their impressions of studying at HSE and living in Moscow.
Anna Grokhovska (Riga, Latvia), Institute of Education, HSE University
I came to Russia from Riga in 2015. I earned my Bachelor’s degree in management with a specialization in marketing. Now I am studying in the Master's Programme in Education Economics and Management at the Institute of Education at HSE. (I entered on a general basis.)
When I moved to Russia, I mainly wanted a change of scenery and to try something new after leaving my hometown. When it came time to decide where to go, HSE seemed like the most suitable option. I learned about HSE from some HSE representatives who came to our school and gave a presentation about it. In addition, at that time some students from my school were already studying at HSE—they were two or three classes ahead of me—and I could ask them about their studies and life in the Russian capital. Language was another decisive factor, since European universities required English proficiency certificates.
When applying, it was necessary to fill out a large questionnaire and write a motivation letter. The candidates who passed the preliminary selection were invited for an interview in Old Riga (the cultural centre of the city). I was lucky because the event for all Baltic State applicants was held in Riga, so I didn’t have to travel anywhere. They asked questions about what I am interested in, what I do for fun, and what I have achieved. The committee suggested that I consider the Faculty of Business and Management instead of the Faculty of Economics, which I had originally planned to apply to.
I am still grateful to the selection committee for suggesting that I consider another faculty. Exact sciences aren’t for me
In terms of common issues that come up when you move, everything turned out to be not so difficult. Life in Moscow mainly differs from Riga in terms of how spread out it is and the fact that there is a metro. Otherwise there is almost no difference. It took me a while to get used to the daily commute by commuter train and the metro.
I had no expectations for HSE, and I didn’t know what I wanted—but I got all the best of it. I moved into the dorms in Odintsovo—I was in a two-room unit on the 24th floor with three roommates who I am still friends with now. At HSE, I love the endless opportunities for realizing your potential: everyone can find their calling.
As a student at HSE, you can be sure that you will find a job after graduation—if you take initiative, attend extracurricular events, open days, and master classes, of course. HSE is one of the top universities in Russia and certainly the most progressive.
After earning my Bachelor’s degree last year, I decided to stay in Moscow. Now I am applying for a residence permit. I was lucky that in the fall of 2020, amendments to the law on the rights of foreign citizens came into force, which allow foreign graduates of Russian universities to obtain a residence permit in a simplified manner (it will be even easier for top-performing graduates to do this).
Karina Samokhvalova (Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan), Faculty of Humanities
I am a 4th-year student in Philosophy at the School of Philosophy and Cultural Studies. I chose a Russian university because education here is much better than in Kyrgyzstan, where every year more and more material is taught in Kyrgyz, which I don’t speak. I heard about HSE from my math teacher. She advised me to try my hand at the university olympiads, which were held in person in one of the central schools of the city. Later, I learned about the high quality of teaching there and the strong job placement record of HSE graduates. The Moscow campus is attractive, and the capital has more jobs and career opportunities. The chances of continuing your studies in Europe after studying in Moscow are higher. In addition, there is a more active social life and many cultural events.
For admission, you need to enter all the necessary information in your HSE foreign applicant account, upload your documents, and select your three top-choice programmes. In the spring, HSE organizes face-to-face exams in subjects corresponding to the programmes you selected. If an applicant has won an olympiad, then they can be admitted to a programme without having to take the entrance exams. If you do well on the exams, then you proceed to the interview and submitting your portfolio. In fact, it is pretty straight forward. The admissions process is clearly organized.
First-years then go through the process of getting used to the new environment. I personally adapted quite quickly: I got settled, got used to the new place, and did well in my classes. I have lived with my parents all my life, and it was unusual for me to live on my own in a dorm. It is different having to buy food for myself and deal with various everyday issues on my own.
In terms of academics, I am especially pleased with my teachers. In addition, HSE is a non-stop generator of a wide variety of events, just try and attend them all!
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.
When applying to a Bachelor’s programme, including five English-taught programmes in Moscow, it is possible to submit international certificates you have received in English and mathematics, such as IELTS, TOEFL, A-Level and other international exams and they will be recognized by HSE University, so taking entrance exams in relevant subjects will not be required.
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. The staff are happy to advise applicants and their parents via e-mail at email@example.com, by phone +7 (495) 531 00 59, or WhatsApp +7 (916) 311 85 21, as well as on social media in Russian and in English: Vkontakte, Facebook, Telegram and Instagram.