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National Research University Higher School of EconomicsNewsOn CampusSouth American Students Reflect on Time in Moscow

South American Students Reflect on Time in Moscow

Students who choose to study in another country always find that the decision comes with a number of challenges. Distance from home, language, strange rules and regulations, and general cultural differences can make the experience both difficult and rewarding at the same time. Coming to Russia to study at HSE is no exception.

Two recent students from South America who came to HSE to take part in Preparatory Year programme – Gustavo Sussekind of Brazil and Joselyn Franco of Ecuador – ultimately had a positive experience despite the challenges.

‘The most difficult thing at the beginning was the language barrier’, said Joselyn during an interview with the HSE news service. ‘Coming to Moscow is like coming to a different world. I first felt this way when I was at the airport and saw everything in the Cyrillic alphabet’.

However, despite the initial language difficulties she encountered, Joselyn was able to get her feet on the ground, eventually mastering Moscow’s Metro system. She attributes her quick adaptation to the buddy system at HSE.

‘My buddy was great’, she said enthusiastically. ‘He picked me up from the airport and helped me the first few days. He took me to Red Square and we hung out a few times. I also met other buddies who still help me, and we have become great friends. They are like my family’.

Gustavo agreed with respect to buddies. ‘In a place full of bureaucracy and people who don’t speak English, having 'buddies' who can help me with the language and other things is great’, he says.

In addition to recalling stories of how they overcame some of the challenges presented by daily life, the two students also reflected on the educational system in Russia. ‘I enjoy that the system here in Russia, or maybe at least at HSE, is more focused on individual work’, Joselyn says. ‘We don’t spend so much time in class, but at home you can study and focus on the best method for you’.