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National Research University Higher School of EconomicsNewsEducationInterns at the Faculty of Economic Sciences

Interns at the Faculty of Economic Sciences

This year several students from University of Texas at Austin came to HSE’s Faculty of Economic Sciences for study abroad experience and to do internships as teaching assistants at HSE and as consultants at the Merrill Lynch Writing and Communication Center at the New Economic School. HSE and NES jointly run a bachelor’s programme in Economics. American students share their impressions of Moscow and working at HSE.

Katherine Alberti

Study abroad is all about placing yourself in a completely new environment. Unfamiliar surroundings, languages, and food must become the new normal. Perhaps the most daunting (and exciting!) part of this transformation is interacting with the people. The sheer amount that you can learn about culture, attitudes, perspective, and the mysteries of life from your new community is immense. It’s an experience that simply should not be missed.

The nature of my internship often put me in one-on-one situations with Russian students, and while it was my duty to help these students learn, they often ended up teaching me quite a bit, whether they realized it or not! Each student is different, and each has their own favorite topics to discuss and viewpoints on the world, but one thing that they all share is their drive to challenge themselves and improve. In the class the professor always prepares lectures that are meant to provoke discussions, and not only are the students up to the task, but they often ask questions that inspire the professor to elevate the level of discussion even further. It is in learning environments such as these that great minds are developed for the future.

Each student is different, and each has their own favorite topics to discuss and viewpoints on the world, but one thing that they all share is their drive to challenge themselves and improve

Work is only one part of the travelling abroad experience. How and with whom you spend your free time can be just as enlightening. I live in an international dorm, so I get to meet and talk with students from all over the world who are here on various different programs. The Russian students are often more than happy to show off their city and bring foreign students to places that might be inaccessible with the language barrier or perhaps just too cool to be well known (as is the case with some of the best anti-cafes and bars in Moscow). International students, almost as a rule, are more adventurous than average, and together they rush headlong into the unfamiliar; taking trips to distant cities and going to events and museums to see things that can only be seen here in Russia. There is a kind of comradery that they share, as they are all newcomers, and this allows them to celebrate their differences. My personal favorite way that this is manifested are the weekly dinners where each student contributes his or her culinary skills.

As in any community, an international student must interact with strangers, such as cashiers and store attendants, on a regular basis. In general, there is no reason to fear these situations. While Russians have a reputation of not being as friendly to strangers as people from other countries, I have found that they are almost always willing to work with me in case we have some problems in our communication. Also, it is not uncommon for people on the street to ask for directions or other simple questions about the area. The first few times I had to answer such questions, I was very nervous, but once I was able to say something, the other people were very appreciative. Over time, my confidence grew and these interactions became much more pleasant experiences.

Overall, I believe the most rewarding part of study abroad is being able to form relationships with a new set of people who lead lives that are at the same time very similar and very different to my own. While we all come from different places, we are all human, and by learning from each other, we learn more about ourselves.

Kerri Matulis

To put it simply, I love Moscow! The language, the culture, and the people are all so amazing that when I come to Russia, I never want to leave. While I was initially nervous about the thought of living in Moscow, at the same time, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to study the Russian language and live among the Russian people.

My experiences as a student at the University of Texas at Austin in the 2013 Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad, Moscow-Texas Connections Summer Program, positively affected my future educational and career goals. After living in Moscow, visiting some incredible places, such as Gorky Park, the Tretyakov Art Gallery, and the Bolshoi Theater, as well as using the Russian language and interacting with fellow Russian students, I decided to add a Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies major to my degree in Psychology. Consequently, Russia and Eastern Europe, including the Russian language, became the focus of my college career.

Upon my return to the United States, I vowed that I would return to Russia again one day. Thankfully, I was given the opportunity to serve as an intern at the Faculty of Economic Sciences at HSE. This means also becoming a consultant in the Merrill Lynch Writing and Communication Center at the New Economic School. Among the first of its kind in Russia, the Writing Center provides Russian students both at Skolkovo and at Shabolovka with the opportunity to work on their English language skills and assignments. Since January 2015, I have been able to work with Russian students on their Personal Statements and Curricula vitae, as well as their English conversation and interviewing skills.

To those interested in experiencing a truly unique culture, practicing their Russian language skills, or studying in a great scholarly atmosphere, I highly recommend studying abroad in Moscow

I also served as a teaching assistant to Professor Ashley Squires in her course on religion and its influence on modern America, and as an English language tutor at the Higher School of Economics at the Shabolovka campus. Overall, I have been incredibly impressed with the students as they are very intelligent and highly motivated.

Along with my internship, I have had the opportunity to continue working on my Russian language skills. Although I aided Ashley Squires with her research, translating Russian language literature reviews into English, I also interacted daily with Russian students and citizens, whether at the university, the dormitory, in stores and in restaurants. The ability to utilize the Russian language daily has been invaluable and I believe, has helped me to improve my speaking skills. Overall, the time I have spent listening and reading in Russian in Moscow, has been priceless.

To those interested in experiencing a truly unique culture, practicing their Russian language skills, or studying in a great scholarly atmosphere, I highly recommend studying abroad in Moscow. Both times I have been in Moscow, I have been shocked at how quickly the time passes. There always seems to be so many exciting, interesting things to see, yet so little time. I can say without a doubt, that the times I have spent in Russia have truly been the most rewarding and incredible experiences of my life.

Nile Miller

As paradoxical as it may seem given the city’s titanic size, Moscow is, in many ways, a hidden gem. The city doesn’t figure into the travel, professional or academic plans of most Americans, who stick to more popular destinations such as London, Paris and Rome. What they don’t realize is that Moscow is one of the world’s most important centers of economic and intellectual activity–a city where ancient, modern and future converge to provide foreigners with a dynamic mosaic of experiences that would be all but impossible to obtain in any other city. One of Russia’s most progressive and well-endowed universities, the Higher School of Economics is the perfect place to get access to everything that Moscow has to offer.

This was not my first time in Moscow — I had come here before to study the Russian language–but coming to HSE has given me my first real opportunity to participate in Russian academic life. At HSE, I wore a few different hats: in addition to taking a social anthropology course, I was interning in HSE’s Academic Writing Center as a proofreader and as a writing consultant in the Merrill Lynch Writing and Communication Center, which is available to students of the joint bachelor’s program between HSE and the New Economic School.

It is very evident to me that a student with a degree from HSE would be well prepared to work or study in just about any company or university. HSE students strive to get involved in all aspects of student life and have packed schedules. They’re also very open-minded and outward-looking; they are eager to learn about the way people live outside of Russia, and most of them have excellent command of the English language

This meant that I worked directly with both students and faculty of HSE. I have found them all to be exceptionally ambitious and motivated. HSE students have a very clear idea of what they want to after they complete their undergraduate careers, something that is uncharacteristic of their American counterparts. The level of discussion and student engagement in my social anthropology course (whose attendees are mostly underclassmen whose primary academic interest is economics) was simply higher than in any course I had ever attended. It is very evident to me that a student with a degree from HSE would be well prepared to work or study in just about any company or university. HSE students strive to get involved in all aspects of student life and have packed schedules. They’re also very open-minded and outward-looking; they are eager to learn about the way people live outside of Russia, and most of them have excellent command of the English language.

I lived in the HSE dormitory located a stone’s throw from Studencheskaya metro station. I could look out my dorm window and see the flashing lights and blinking marquees of the Moscow City business center. I could hear the hustle and bustle of trains arriving at Kievskiy Railway Station. In a 15-minute trip on the metro, I could be on Red Square. It never took longer than 25 or 30 minutes to reach the HSE campuses where I worked and studied. The dorm itself is inhabited by students from virtually every region of the planet; I could step into the hall and hear people interacting in Serbian, Spanish, Russian, French, English or German. International students at HSE are very closely knit and many participate in events organized by HSE’s International Office, which is staffed by English speakers whose sole responsibility is helping foreigners adapt to life in Moscow. At the same time, there are ample opportunities for international students to get involved in activities with Russian students. Finally, HSE offers its students many ways to spend their free time – from sports to lecture series to film societies to travel clubs – and international students are encouraged to make the most of these opportunities.

Life in Moscow is unlike life in any other city on Earth, and I know that the experiences I have had at HSE will benefit me throughout my academic and professional careers.

See also:

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