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Regular version of the site

From Pelevin to Computational Linguistics — Learning Russian on HSE’s Pre-University programme

Asher Bryant has been studying at the HSE Faculty of Pre-University Training course. Asher finished her education at Schoolcraft College in Michigan in 2005 and decided she wanted to learn Russian. She told HSE English News about her impressions of the course and how her desire to learn Russian has led her in unexpected directions.

When I was still in the USA, a friend of mine suggested I read Pelevin's Omon Ra.  Up until that point, I didn't enjoy reading fiction, but that soon changed as I continued to read other Russian authors.  I decided that I wanted to read Russian novels in the original.  So when I enrolled in the programme I actually wasn't too seriously considering going on to a degree programme at HSE; I was just looking for an intensive Russian language programme at an institution with a good reputation. HSE fit the bill.

If I were to describe the programme, I would say that it's very intensive with top-notch instruction. I chose it because I was just looking for an intensive Russian language programme at an institution with a good reputation.  When I enrolled in the programme I actually wasn't too seriously considering going on to a degree programme at HSE. But it suited me well. The aim of the programme is to give students a solid foundation in grammar and prepare them to pass entrance exams and in that we were well prepared.

For me, the most challenging thing was balancing intensive studies with work.  There was very little time (or energy) left for me to socialize, which I think is essential in order to fully develop language skills, by applying what you've learned in class outside of the classroom. So as far as colloquial language and conversation are concerned, I still feel like there's a lot of room for improvement. Having said that, I did quickly start to feel like Moscow was home, despite the linguistic and cultural barriers that I ran into.  Moscow is both a beautiful and unusual place.  In addition, the students and staff at HSE are very willing to help you with whatever troubles you may have.  I hadn’t intended to stay but, in the end, I am happy to say, I did apply to a degree course at HSE and was accepted into the bachelor's programme in Fundamental and Computational Linguistics. I am really looking forward to spending the next few years here.

The HSE Preparatory Year for Bachelor’s programmes includes courses in four subjects according to the chosen profile (1,152 contact hours) and helps students prepare for entrance exams at HSE. The training lasts 32 weeks, with two terms of 16 weeks.

The programme begins with Russian language training courses. Students then begin to study in Russian in their specific subject areas.

See also:

‘Everyone Quickly Engaged in Conversations and Demonstrated Their Creative Thinking’

The online Russian Speaking Club opened only a month ago, but has seen a rapid growth in the number of participants. Every week, the club holds free online meetings where participants and a Russian language tutor discuss various topics related to the Russian language and culture. Below, the club leaders share their impressions and plans, which include going offline.

Russian Speaking Club: Practicing the Language and Meeting New Friends

For HSE Preparatory Year students, the Russian Speaking Club is a way to improve their language proficiency in a relaxed atmosphere. At this year’s first such event, they discussed online communications and social media. Michael Dzodzoe from Ghana and Leen Sabbagh from Syria shared their impressions with the HSE News Service.

‘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.

‘Russia Is a Land of Openness and Possibility’

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.

‘Ecology Provides the Best Opportunities for Professional and Personal Development of Young People’

In early May, the HSE Institute of Ecology and the International Children's and Youth Award ‘Ecology is Everyone's Business’ held a joint seminar in Dagestan, where they discussed the launch of youth environmental projects for federal and international competitions. At the meeting, the Institute's experts presented methods of organising project activity in the field of ecology and sustainable development for educators and young people in Dagestan. Teachers and students from more than 50 schools, colleges and universities of the republic took part in the event.

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.

‘We Will Be Glad to See Winners of the Olympiad among Our Prospective Students’

In early April, the final round of the engineering profile of the Moscow Pre-Professional Olympiad was held at HSE MIEM. Fifty teams (about 200 school students) from Moscow took part in the competition. As a result, 52 participants received awards.

HSE Students Support Phonetics Competition for Chinese Students

The Glinka State Conservatory in Nizhny Novgorod has held a phonetics competition in Russian as a foreign language for Chinese students of the preparatory department. The spectators, jury members, and support team of the competition included HSE University-Nizhny Novgorod students of the Bachelor’s in Foreign Languages and Intercultural Business Communication, Academic Supervisor of the programme Marianna Korenkova, and Chinese language teacher Elena Ammosova. The Chinese students opened the event with performances of famous solo works in Russian.

‘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.