• A
  • A
  • A
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
Regular version of the site

‘The 4th International Economics Olympiad—My Journey’

‘The 4th International Economics Olympiad—My Journey’

© HSE University

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.

Oghogho Joy Isibor

School Work and Competitions

My name is Oghogho Joy Isibor. I’m from Edo State, Nigeria, but grew up in Port Harcourt in Rivers State. I am currently enrolled in the Russian Language Programme at the HSE Preparatory School as a prelude to studying Economics, which is my main course of study in the coming years.

In the early years of my secondary school, I avoided participating in any competition or olympiad because I felt competitions distract you from your school work. In my secondary school, students that took part in competitions hardly attend normal school academic classes because the school management had special training for olympiad competitions (in economics, mathematics, science etc) and that training usually did not cover all school subjects.

So, in my school, partaking in competitions could make you exceptionally good in one subject, eg mathematics or science, and make you deficient in other school subjects

However, in 2021, I had a chance to participate in the Economics Olympiad at the state, national, and international levels. Initially, I didn’t take it seriously because I was preparing for my West African Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) and National Examination Council (NECO) within the same time period. This was also during the global pandemic period—preparation for both examinations and the Olympiad was really very stressful.

Competing in the Olympiad

Interestingly, I passed the first round of the Economics Olympiad. I was happy and highly motivated and started taking the Olympiad more seriously, as Economics was of great interest to me as a course of study. I also passed the second and third rounds. Unfortunately, the final round of the Economics Olympiad clashed with my NECO examinations and I had to choose between participating in the Olympiad and taking the NECO examinations. This was a really tough decision for me. I had some discussions with my Economics teacher and other people in my school, and the key point I got from the discussion was that ‘This is an opportunity.’  I discussed it with my parents and they agreed that I should participate in the Olympiad finals.

I prepared really hard for the final round—the international round.  I had some late nights during the various sessions for the final round due to the time difference.

While preparing for the final round, I had to do a lot of studies, research and practice on past Olympiad questions relating to creating an economic model to solve real life economic problems

I also had to review various Microsoft PowerPoint presentations with my team members. Of course, the Olympiad examinations involved a lot of mathematics, ranging from easy to much more complex. There were challenges with internet connectivity during the final rounds of the Olympiad and this greatly affected my final scores. I came first in my country, Nigeria, and I was awarded a trophy and a gold medal. How I would have loved to clinch the gold medal at the international level! Nevertheless, I was really elated to have been awarded a scholarship grant by HSE University for participating up to the final round.

I am happy I participated in the 4th International Economics Olympiad because of the experience and knowledge gained. The experience was really worth it, as it has exposed me to the world of economics—various economic case studies, economic solutions and financial literacy.

Coming to Moscow

In November 2022, I arrived in Moscow. A buddy picked me up at the airport, escorted me to the dormitory, and assisted with all the hostel formalities. Later that day, we also went to get some basic items I required. The weather in Moscow was not initially friendly for the first two months—it was exceptionally cold for me, coming from a tropical climate. I had mild frostbite on my hands (which hurt a lot) and seldom contemplated leaving the dormitory, but I gradually got used to the weather.

In the proceeding weeks, I had to do my registration, compulsory medical test and fingerprinting for foreigners, which was a very tedious process because I was underage. I was referred to various hospitals and agencies before I was able to complete my fingerprinting and other requirements. I am most thankful to Oxana Budjko and Elena Andrianova  for their help with the compulsory procedures I had to undergo.

I have a lot of classes in my Preparatory Year right now because I arrived late for the Language Preparatory School.

I am currently registered for five subjects: Russian as a foreign language, Mathematics, Scientific Language (a subject to teach you basic terms you need for other subjects, for example how to say mathematical equations in Russian), Social Studies and History 

It has not been easy learning the Russian language, but attending classes regularly and completing my assignments has helped me to understand the language better. The accommodation and social environment at HSE is very good. Sometimes I get a little discouraged by other people, because everyone says studying economics at HSE is tough and studying it in Russian makes it much tougher for foreign students. In spite of these, I strongly believe that with the right mindset, I will surely excel—nothing is impossible.

See also:

‘When I Got Out of the Airport and Felt the Cold, I Was Like, “Oh, Welcome to Moscow”’

Ndubuisi Johnbosco Ezenwa, 28, is a recent graduate of the Master’s in Strategic Corporate Finance at the HSE University Faculty of Economic Sciences. In 2023, he won first place in the Finance category of the Student Research Paper Competition (SRPS) for his paper ‘Impact of the Target Firm's ESG Rating on the Bid Premium Paid in M&A Transactions.’ Although he returned to Nigeria in July 2023, Ndubuisi still has plenty to share about his time at HSE University in Moscow. Read on to learn why he recommends HSE University to anyone looking to seek out new knowledge.

‘You Meet Incredible People Who Are Always Ready to Help’

The summer break is an opportunity for hard-working HSE University students to relax, recuperate, explore the city and travel. Two such students, Daniel Suarez from Colombia and Oluwafunto Abimbola from Nigeria, share their experiences of the positives (and pitfalls) of summer in the city and life at HSE dormitories.

‘Exploring Moscow in Summer is an Adventure Like No Other’

Ayomide Adedini, from Nigeria, is a second-year student of the Master's in Political Analysis and Public Policy.He is also the current Chair of the Council of the International Student Association (CISA) and Vice Chair of Dormitory 7. In his interview, Ayomide talks about broadening his horizons in HSE University’s student dorms and making the most of summer in Moscow.

‘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.

‘I Believe in Having a Career that Focuses on Solving Both Academic and Industrial Problems’

Mutiu Iyanda Lasisi is a first-year master’s student of Critical Media Studies at the Faculty of Creative Industries. He chose to pursue his master’s at HSE University out of a desire to combine theory and practice and to create real solutions. Mutiu spoke to the HSE News Service about why HSE University was the right place to realise his ambitions, how theory shapes learning into frameworks for action, and how he has already put his knowledge to real-world use.

‘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.

‘We Want to Make Sure that International Students Have Fulfilling Academic and Personal Lives’

The Council of the International Student Association (CISA) works to ensure that international students can live and study comfortably at HSE University and in Russia in general. At present, CISA consists of nine international students and its Chair. Its current activities include dealing with border closures, arranging vaccinations, and creating information channels for international students.

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.

Sun from Inside St Petersburg: Artistic Opportunities for Nigerian Artists

The diverse HSE University community includes people from different countries and continents who can share their cultural experiences and generate novel ideas with their never-ending creativity and love for art. The Master's programme 'Arts and Culture Management' welcomed several students from Nigeria last year. Today, they are happy to share their sources of inspiration and their expectations of the programme and their future life.

‘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.