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‘Russia Is a Land of Openness and Possibility’

Lorenzo Trufolo

Lorenzo Trufolo
Photo courtesy of Lorenzo Trufolo

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.

The Choice of University

I am 23 years old. I come from Abruzzo, a region located along the Apennines in Southern Italy. My hometown is Atri, an old Roman town in the province of Teramo.

My decision to study at HSE can be traced back to my participation in HSE Summer Schools, namely in two online courses held by Prof. Vladimir Zuev in the field of international trade. My feedback after this experience was very good, because the courses were extremely interesting and full of details.

I had never had such an astonishing educational experience, which is why I later decided to ‘trust’ HSE for the future, putting it at the centre of my next educational career

Moreover, having focused my bachelor’s degree on Russian studies during my previous experience at Bologna University, moving to Russia was certainly an influential factor in this crucial decision for the future.

After the Prep Year, I am planning to enrol in the master’s programme ‘International Trade Policy’ supervised by Prof. Vladimir Zuev. I dream of specialising in the field of international trade and corporate management in agriculture, a desire which I have had since the Next Generation Prize—a scholarship awarded by the Italy-USA Foundation in Italy to enrol in the ‘Leadership in IR and in Made in Italy’ MBA programme.

I am sure that HSE is going to provide unique opportunities and crucial knowledge for my professional future and career

International Academic Events in Tomsk and Izhevsk

In April 2023, I participated in the 2023 Tomsk Scientific Conference remotely from Moscow. The theme of my paper was ‘The Eurasian Economic Union and the European Union: Competition in Eurasia through Regional Integration’. The reason behind this choice of topic was very simple: my ambition was to demonstrate how, in the current state of affairs, international relations are determined by crucial factors such as the growth of economic interdependence and the increasing degree of political and juridical integration between nation states. I wanted to publicly demonstrate that this sort of ‘leitmotiv’ also applies to western Eurasia, where the European Union and the Eurasian Economic Union are the most evident example of successful regional integration, even if mutually interacting as pivotal and colliding, conflictual blocks.

The HSE Summer School held by Professor Vladimir Zuev in 2021 in the field of ‘Challenges to Russia-EU Economic Links’ really inspired me to write this scientific report

I wrote this essay at the conclusion of the International Summer School he held, receiving very good feedback from Professor Zuev. This year, my Prep Year Professor Anastasia Ivanenko has given me crucial help to make sure this report meets the grammatical standard of the international conference. I am very satisfied with the final result.

In April and May, I participated in another major academic event: the International Olympiad in Russian Language for foreign students from non-former-USSR countries. It was held in an online format by Izhevsk University. I came second in this competition and I’m grateful to Alexandra Nazarchuk, Director of the Prep Year programme, and Natalia Nikitskaya, Russian language teacher, for helping me to reach this position.

Learning Russian

Learning Russian in the Prep Year has been crucial. I owe a lot to all my professors, who with all their passion and kindness have taught me this complicated, yet fascinating and unique language

My current level is quite satisfactory—an overall intermediate between B1 and B2. I want to improve even more in the coming years so as to feel no limits and make the most of all the opportunities I encounter.

Russia Beyond the Stereotypes

Studying and living in Russia is amazing. In general, I have to admit that I feel and live better here than in Italy, despite the fact that the process of adaptation was not so easy at the beginning. The main challenging factors were not related to the climate—as you might expect for an Italian living in Russia—but rather to stress and the high intensity of the rhythm of everyday life. This was (and to be honest, sometimes still is) difficult to acknowledge, due to the fact that my hometown and Bologna are as big as a single neighbourhood in Moscow. This is a typical feature of the Italian landscape.

In Russia there are far more amazing opportunities than in Italy, especially for young people

Russia is different from how it is represented in Europe; it is a land of openness and possibility. That is why I love being here; I feel the possibility to build my future with my hands and on my own.

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 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.

‘I Have Felt Welcomed Since the Very First Day’

Yohei Shiiba from Japan, Eunsong Gu from the Republic of Korea, together with Luca Volponi and Nicola Bressan from Italy shared their impressions of living in Moscow and studying on the English-taught Master of International Business (MIB) programme, which is open to students from all over the world.

‘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.

Pursuing a PhD in Russia: ‘Attractive and Exotic’

After getting his Master’s degree in Computer Science in Rome, Julio Carrasquel decided not to pursue a corporate career in IT, but to move to Moscow to get a PhD at HSE University. As a result, he received a scholarship on the Advanced Doctoral Programme, successfully defended his thesis, and was named one of the university’s Best Teachers. Julio talked with the HSE News Service about his path in academia and life in Russia.

'Studying and Living in Russia is so Enriching, Fun and Interesting'

Under an agreement between HSE University-St Petersburg and the University of Trento (UniTrento), students of the Master’s programme 'Modern Social Analysis' can participate in a double degree track. Cecilia Brazioli, from Italy, is a participant of the track who shared her impressions of studying in Russia.

From Italy to HSE University-St Petersburg: A Master's Student on Her Education Experience in Russia

Giordana Carbone, student of the Master's programme 'Russian Literature in Cross-cultural and Intermedial Perspective', shares her impressions of her first year at HSE University-St-Petersburg. She explains the difference between European and Russian teaching styles, what pitfalls international students might encounter, and how to adjust to the education tempo of HSE University.

‘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.