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.
Karla Sofía Torres Pesquera is an exchange student from ITAM, Mexico City. She is spending one semester at HSE University, from January to June. She has talked to HSE News Service about the courses she is taking this semester and also described her life at the HSE dorm.
The HSE Centre for International Preparatory Programmes is launching an intensive online course of Russian as a Foreign Language. The course will start on October 1, 2020 and will be part of a blended preparatory programme that aims to help international students gain proficiency in Russian so that they can enrol in Russian-taught undergraduate and graduate programmes. Registration for the course is already open.
Elena Aisakova teaches Russian to students of International Preparatory Programmes. Her five groups have all transitioned to distance learning. HSE News Service has asked Elena and HSE's international students what it’s like to study Russian online as well as what tips they have to help others learn effectively while being on ‘opposite sides’ of the computer screen.
HSE’s Preparatory Year Programme for international students includes not only intensive Russian language training but also subject specific courses. One such course is ‘Russian Literature’, which introduces international students to classic works by Russian writers such as Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and Chekhov. In the course, students read and discuss select texts in the original Russian, which helps them gain a better understanding of the Russian culture and history.
Do you have some knowledge of Russian but want to hone your skills and speak like a ‘real Russian’? If so, faculty members and instructors of the HSE School of Linguistics have worked together to create a free online resource just for you. Как скажешь (‘If You Say So’), which will launch April 4, is a virtual textbook and workbook built around video clips that feature HSE faculty and students.
HSE Preparatory Year students not only learn Russian and get ready to enroll in Bachelor’s or Master’s programmes but also explore Russian culture and way of life, which includes trying the local cuisine, sightseeing, and interacting with Russian people. Three international Prep Year students have talked to HSE News Service about learning the language, getting used to living in Moscow, and joining in New Year celebrations in Russia.
On December 20, the students of the International Preparatory Year programme at HSE’s Moscow campus got together to usher in the New Year in true Russian style. They all first arrived in Moscow this September with zero or very limited knowledge of Russian. So, their programme started with an intensive course of Russian as a Foreign Language. Now, three months later, they have already mastered enough Russian to make mini-presentations, perform sketches, take part in a Russian culture quiz, and solve Russian riddles.
Dr Anna Whittington is currently a Research Fellow at The International Centre for the History and Sociology of World War II and Its Consequences through the end of August 2019. She recently spoke with the HSE News Service about her work on changes in Soviet-era language policy, her thoughts on life in Moscow and how the city has changed, and much more.
'In fact, the Russian language is very logical and my task is to disclose this to my students', says Alevtina Iagodova who has been teaching Russian for over 20 years. At HSE University – St. Petersburg she gives Russian classes to exchange students, organizes a language club, and promotes the Russian culture awareness among foreigners. Recently, she has been invited by the University of Indonesia to lead a workshop in order to share her knowledge and experience of teaching Russian as a foreign language with the local colleagues.
Having fallen in love with Moscow and the Russian culture during an exchange programme three years ago at HSE, Alis Maria Endres, a native of Germany, decided that she wanted to return to the university to complete a Master’s degree in management. In order to be able to study in Russian, Alis Maria first enrolled in HSE's International Preparatory Year programme.