International Students Share their Impressions on Studying at HSE
There are many different reasons why international students choose to study at HSE — the university’s reputation, an interest in Russian culture and desire to learn Russian, an ambition to study with the acknowledged masters of economics, plans to work on the markets with Russian business, reasonably priced tuition.
France TV Info recently reported that increasing numbers of students are going abroad to study. The report showed French students on exchanges in Georgetown University (Washington, USA), The Moscow Conservatoire and HSE.
HSE News Service has spoken to some of French and German students currently going into their second semester at HSE who have shared with us their impressions of studying here, about their motivation and achievements, and about their plans for the future.
Bettina Grunleitner from the University of Passau in Germany is combining studies at the Social Sciences Faculty and the Faculty of Global Economics and International Affairs with classes in Russian language. She was attracted by the courses taught in English at HSE and clearly takes her studying seriously, but she also likes exploring life in the Russian capital.
‘The HSE buildings are located quite centrally, and crucially so is dormitory No.5, which houses most of the international students! I love Moscow, it's an exciting and interesting city, with a lot of opportunities and cultural events. I love the fast way of life here.’
Bettina is not thinking very far ahead at the moment, but living life to the full. ‘ Only the next 2 years are important. Even one second, one decision can change your life!’ And she has the support of her family in her choice to be in Russia, ‘They support it for my personal experience and for my development. They know I'm happy to be here, so they support whatever I decide, because they know, I know what to do best!’.
HSE has a partnership with my university, so I was aware of the good reputation of HSE thanks to feedback from other students
Paris Institute of Political Studies
Samuel Delpeuch, a student from the prestigious Paris Institute of Political Science, Sciences Po, is taking courses at HSE Faculty of Economics, ICEF, the Faculty of Social Sciences and studying the Russian language. He explained that he chose HSE because, ‘It was the most logical choice in order for me to study economics in a Russian environment. Being involved in a special programme focused on Central and Eastern Europe in France, it was the logical next step for me to come here. And HSE has a partnership with my university, so I was aware of the good reputation of HSE thanks to feedback from other students.’
Samuel plans to continue studying after he finishes his degree, ‘After this year at HSE I want to apply for a Master’s Degree in France which specializes in economic research, and in the long-run I would like to continue with a PhD. I am very glad to have this experience in Russia. It is a great chance to see the true color of this country and gain new perspectives about the world! The other side of the coin, however, is that it is quite complicated for the international student office to deal with us. But they are doing a great job and they are always ready to help me with my problems!’
Living and studying in Moscow is exciting because there is permanently something happening somewhere, exhibitions, events, theaters, operas, museums
Paris Institute of Political Studies
Manon Coyne is also from Sciences Po Paris, and is studying in the Faculty of Management and ICEF and taking classes in Russian. Her account of her struggle to understand how things work in HSE shows how student exchanges are a true learning experience in their own right. Accounts like Manon’s can help the university better understand what assistance foreign students need to acclimatize. ‘In the first semester I mainly took courses from ICEF at HSE,’ explains Manon. ‘These courses are quite demanding, but not especially difficult, the main problem was that as foreign students we were not integrated into one seminar as Russian students, so sometimes it was hard to follow new schedule changes, homework information, etc.’ Manon found the work requirements unfamiliar, ‘I was not used to have weekly long homework to hand in, and this was quite stressful, even though I quickly noticed that the homework was not so important. The last difficulty I faced was that my courses were in different locations, since I attended courses from two faculties plus the Russian language courses.’
By the second semester, Manon’s account suggests that she is more on top of things now. She says, ‘I am attending courses from the Faculty of Economics in the HSE/NES Programme, one course in the School of Sociology and one course in the School of Political Sciences plus the Russian language courses. But since the three latter courses are located in the same place, it is quite easy to follow, and the communication with teachers is much more intensive as the number of students is smaller than on the ICEF courses. We have a lot of reading to do for the Faculty of Economics, but the other courses are not too demanding, still very interesting however.’
Some might be put off by having to work hard to get to grips with the situation but not Manon. She would like to come back after graduation and study more in Russia. ‘When I go back to France I will have to choose my Master’s. I might come back to Russia in the frame of a double diploma with MGIMO. However I am quite sad not to have the opportunity to come back to HSE since there is no MA-level double diploma between HSE and my home university in Paris.’
Manon has enjoyed the social and cultural richness of Moscow, especially since she made a new discovery. She says, ‘Living and studying in Moscow is exciting because there is permanently something happening somewhere, exhibitions, events, theaters, operas, museums, etc. And everything is quite cheap. Besides, everything is easily reachable, students and people are very open and eager to receive foreigners in their activities, which can be unusual for us but still wonderful to discover. I, for example, discovered a new sport coming here: ultimate frisbee. It enables me to meet many Russian students and non-students, to travel to cities like Vladimir, Belgorod, Nizhny-Novgorod, etc., and all of this really cheap and with a lot of fun.
Communicating with teachers and students is easy since the people at HSE are very welcoming. The International Students Office do excellent work welcoming us to Russia, alongside with the buddies who help us find our way and entertain us in Moscow!
Alexandre Nachef from ESCP Europe studied Russian for a few years at home and was looking for an opportunity to practice the language and learn more about Russian culture. He was able to come to Moscow thanks to the partnership between ESCP and HSE. He said that as soon as he heard his university had a partnership with one of Russia’s best universities he knew he wanted to apply.
Alexandre is taking economics and finance classes and is very satisfied with his courses. He says that he can see that the professors Alexis Belianin and Olga Kuzina are real authorities in their subjects, and are also able to adapt to each student’s level. He also enjoys Oleg Iliasov’s Russian language classes.
He says, ‘Communicating with teachers and students is easy since the people at HSE are very welcoming. The International Students Office do excellent work welcoming us to Russia, alongside with the buddies who help us find our way and entertain us in Moscow! Russian students seem eager to meet foreign students. I am very grateful to them for helping me discover Russian culture and practice the language.’
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