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Russian Culture Festival Held for the First Time at HSE University

In early March, the HSE building on Pokrovsky Bulvar hosted the Russian Culture Day Festival. The event was organised by the HSE Department of Internationalisation. International students participated in quizzes, lectures, and workshops. They also had the opportunity to taste a traditional Russian dish—blini with jam.

Today, over 5,200 international students are studying at HSE university. Traditionally, integration events are held by the Department of Internationalisation. However, this festival was organised for the first time in order to introduce students from various countries to the diversified culture of Russia.

Russian literature, history, art, and geography quizzes were available for each participant to choose from. At various workshops they could make a craft doll, paint a wooden spoon, or even learn to play some of the traditional folk instruments. Students also enjoyed games hosted by the Russian Speaking Club, as well as lectures on the history of Russian cinema.

Foreign students shared their thoughts and impressions of the activities.

Aya Haidar studies Russian as a foreign language at International Preparatory Programmes. She has Russian-Syrian roots and this festival has given her an opportunity to better understand Russian culture and feel more connected to it. ‘I am half Russian, so I felt like I was disconnected from my culture when I didn't live in Russia,’ she said. ‘Now that I have this opportunity, I don't want to miss out. Everyone here is so friendly and hospitable, I feel welcome, which is really important.’

Muyue Xu came to Russia from China, and is now a second-year master’s student at HSE Faculty of Law. She noted that participating in the festival had helped her to expand her knowledge of Russian culture. ‘I have been involved in various activities over the past few days, and I have learned more about Russian painting, language, and history. I also really enjoyed the traditional Russian blinis!’

Kyungkook Kim from South Korea had the most positive experiences during the holiday. He graduated from HSE University in Nizhny Novgorod, where he met Russian people, learned the language, and got to experience the culture. At the festival, Kyungkook performed well in tasks based on Russian classical literature. He currently lives in Moscow and plans to pursue a master's degree in applied mathematics and computer science at HSE university.

Indonesian students of the bachelor’s in Urban Planning enjoyed the virtual reality session ‘Flight over Russia,’ especially the breathtaking view of Lake Baikal.

The event was entertaining not only for foreign students, but for the Russian ones as well.

Alexandra Fedotova, third-year student at the HSE Faculty of Economic Sciences, said that she often attends student festivals, and this one will certainly be remembered. ‘I really enjoyed the atmosphere. I also found it interesting to try playing some of the traditional Russian instruments. These events help bring different cultures together and allow international students to better understand life in Russia, both of the past and present,’ she said.

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