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International Partners’ Week at HSE: Preparing Students for an Uncertain Future

On June 18, the third International Partners’ Week ‘Academic Agility: Preparing Students for an Uncertain Future’ began at HSE University. The event brings together representatives of more than 30 universities from 16 countries, including France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Turkey, the USA, Finland, the United Kingdom, and China. They have all come to Moscow to learn more about the kind of learning experience HSE University can provide, as well as to discuss practical challenges and solutions regarding international mobility.

Aims and Structure of International Partners’ Week

Last year HSE University held its International Week in a conference-like format for the first time, conducting several parallel roundtables daily, so as to provide a forum for presenting effective strategies and working out new solutions together. Participants were able to engage in thought-provoking and fruitful discussions. This year, the International Week will follow a similar structure.

Ivan Prostakov, HSE University Vice Rector, welcomed the participants at the opening ceremony, stressing that the event presents a unique opportunity to not only learn more about HSE University but also to exchange experience, ideas, and knowledge. He emphasized that universities have to be agile and be able to learn, adapt, and create networks in order to effectively respond to challenges that an uncertain future presents.

One of the key ‘soft skills’ required for the future is cross-cultural awareness and communication, and while there are many ways to develop it, academic mobility programmes for students play a significant role in cultivating this skill and internationalising the study process. In order to boost student exchange and give students a valuable educational experience, it is essential for partner universities to build closer understanding regarding their study programmes and discuss how to resolve the shared difficulties that arise in encouraging and supporting international student mobility.

The first keynote session on features and development of education at HSE University was chaired by Yulia Lezhnina, deputy Vice-Rector of HSE University and included presentations by Isak Froumin, head of the HSE Institute of Education, and Ivan Gruzdev, Director for Internal Monitoring and Student Academic Development at HSE University. Universities should equip students with necessary knowledge and skills for a successful future – but how can this be done in a constantly changing world where knowledge becomes quickly outdated? HSE University has introduced many innovative changes to its degree programmes with a view to offering students more flexible study tracks and providing not only high quality education but also a wide range of opportunities to practice skills individually and in teams.

The event will also feature two keynote roundtables devoted to innovations in curriculum design and online learning. In addition, there will be four parallel roundtables focusing on more specific issues, such as student mobility in the context of employability, on-site offices in partner countries and universities, effective evaluation practices for mobility agreements, and support for innovative teaching approaches through academic exchanges.

Networking Opportunities

An undisputable benefit of hosting – and attending – an international partner week is the chance to meet colleagues from partner universities in person, discuss common points of interest, strengthen existing partnerships, as well as develop new ones. HSE University seeks to further develop both its university-wide and faculty- or programme-level mobility partnerships, and that’s why this year there will be a dedicated event for networking. After a joint lunch with the partner universities, representatives of almost all HSE faculties will hold short presentations, and they will be available at faculty tables for partners to discuss potential cooperation in greater detail.

International Partners’ Week will also give HSE students an opportunity to talk to representatives of HSE partner universities during Exchange fair that will be held on June 19. Students will be able to ask questions about exchange programmes, as well as get insights and life hacks on exchange. Several universities will make extended presentations of the educational opportunities open to international students. There will also be an exhibition area with stands of partner universities. The fair will kick off with the opening ceremony of Ca' Foscari Information Corner at HSE University. This will be the third Ca’ Foscari representative office in the world and the first in Russia. The purpose of the office will be to reinforce Ca’ Foscari’s relationship with HSE University. Moreover, it will give Ca’ Foscari an opportunity to be active and participatory abroad and to have a platform from which to launch different kinds of collaborative programmes.

© Mikhail Dmitriev/ HSE University

Regina Rahm, International Student Mobility Coordinator, Freie Universität – Berlin, Germany

We have been cooperating with HSE for many years already, so HSE is our most important partner university in Moscow. Our university actually has its own liaison office in Moscow and this office is very helpful concerning the exchange of both students and scholars. We have many programmes with HSE: there is a double degree programme in Comparative Social Research and also various exchange programmes. For example, I'm dealing with Erasmus+ programme. In fact, tomorrow I will meet two new HSE students coming to FU Berlin in the winter semester, and they will sign their grant agreements under my supervision. I will also meet a student who was at Freie Universitat Berlin in the last semester. She wanted to get an original confirmation of stay, and so I brought it with me. So, this is a chance to see also former students who went to FU for their study abroad experience. I am interested in student mobility above all, so I will take part in the roundtable still in student mobility.

As for German students, there is great interest in coming to study in Moscow. We always use the spots we get here. For example, in the next winter semester, four or five students will come to Moscow in order to spend one semester. For most part, they major in Sociology and Political Science. Some of our students are also learning languages. All of them know some Russian. We have an Institute for East-European Studies at FU Berlin, and there they have a chance to learn Russian. We select students who already know Russian, because it offers more chances for them if they know Russian, so they can improve their Russian language.

© Mikhail Dmitriev/ HSE University

Sabine Sainte-Rose, Associate Director for Promotion and Internationalization, Universite Grenoble Alpes, France

Our cooperation with HSE University is quite recent – we had partnership with HSE in Nizhny Novgorod and now we are developing this for Moscow in the fields of IT and applied mathematics. This is a strength at our university as it is here. We would like to expand this relationship – this is why I am attending this event.

We also have cooperation in terms of Russian language studies but we could explore other different types of collaboration. I am looking forward to learning more from HSE faculty and different events. We are eager to see what will be of interest here. An event like this is very useful to have a better knowledge of an institution, to start liaising with different faculties so that when I get back home I can also liaise with my colleagues and start collaborating.

We are developing a lot of double degrees and a lot of different language programmes. Internationalization is an important development aspect of our activity. We are really interested in this type of institutions, like HSE, which is very high quality and open to the world.

© Mikhail Dmitriev/ HSE University

Andrea Adam Moore, Director of the IU Europe Gateway (Berlin), Indiana University, USA

Indiana University has been cooperating with HSE for quite a while now. What we like about HSE obviously is that this is such a strong research university and very international. We currently have a faculty exchange agreement that we are very interested in extending. I’ve been very much involved with collaborations in Russian studies and regional studies. There is a new Laboratory 'Russia’s Regions in Historical Perspective' at HSE Moscow. Indiana University has a very strong regional studies orientation at Bloomington, where we have a Russian studies workshop. The colleagues there work very closely with HSE. We have been hosting joint research workshops with scholars from HSE and Indiana University in Berlin, in our Europe Gateway. Next year we are planning a joint summer school in Berlin. We do not have yet student exchange programmes. That is partly because the relationship has to evolve but we are very open to developing them.

During this week, I’ll be participating in the round table on on-site offices in partner countries and universities chaired by Marina Batalina. I’m excited to hear what other colleagues are going to present about their institutions but to also see what questions representatives of other universities have towards people like me who are running such liaison offices.

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