HSE – An Ideal Choice for History Students
Samrat Sil, a student from Presidency University in Kolkata, India is currently studying on the Master’s programme in Applied and Interdisciplinary History at HSE St. Petersburg. The programme focuses on the analytical part of history and how it can be used and applied in our day to day life. It comprises a wide variety of crucial topics like memory, identity narratives and the use of sources in history and historiography. It also focuses on heritage and its relation to history and economy. The students are encouraged to develop their own research topics for their Master’s thesis.
In an interview with the HSE News Service, Samrat told us about his studies and the reasons why he would recommend every history student to take the opportunity to head to HSE St. Petersburg.
— Samrat, you are currently studying at HSE in St. Petersburg. Is Russia a popular destination among Indian students? Why did you decide to come to Russia?
— It's a very popular destination among Indian students, especially among medical students, but, as far as I know, I'm the first who came to St. Petersburg to study history. St. Petersburg is famous for its museums and historical sites, so if you’re a history student, this is the place to be!
— Tell us about your first impressions of St. Petersburg.
— This is my first time in Russia, as well as my first experience abroad. I’m thrilled to be here; the city and its architecture are amazing. I like to venture out and discover more about my surroundings, so I have already been to many places, like Kazan Cathedral, Isaac's cathedral and many Russian museums.
— How has your perception of Russia changed while being here?
— Back in India, people generally think that Russia is a cold place with cold people, but when I met them, my perception changed totally. They are open, warm and sociable. Russians are interested in the surrounding world and they love to show off their own culture, as well. As an Indian, I was fascinated to see Russian culture.
I also discovered that many Russians are interested in Indian culture, too. This has been such an amazing cultural experience. I have learnt something new every day, not only at the university, but also in everyday life.
The education process here is very engaging; you learn more about the basic concepts. My historical knowledge is increasing; I'm opening myself up to new topics and conversations
— Was it hard to adjust to a new culture and environment?
— Honestly, yes, it was. I don't really speak Russian, so it was hard to get used to the new conditions during my first few weeks. But once you overcome the language barrier, it becomes a lot easier.
— What do you like the most about your studies at HSE? How does the Russian higher education system differ from the Indian system?
— I love my studies at HSE. In Russia, I'm more engaged in the study process and student activities. In India we have a lot of lectures, after which we have to pass examinations. Studies in Russia are more interactive than in India; here we regularly have conversations, seminars and meetings, and the discussion often continues outside the classroom. Higher education in Russia is about learning from each other!
— How did you hear about our university and the MA programme in history?
— I was looking for a university where I could do my Masters' degree, when I saw your site on the Internet, I discussed it with one of the professors in my school and he said that Russia is a place where you can learn more about history.
— Do you think that studying at HSE will boost your career prospects?
— Absolutely. The education process here is very engaging; you learn more about the basic concepts. My historical knowledge is increasing; I'm opening myself up to new topics and conversations.
— What advice would you give to any international students who want to study at HSE?
— Take the opportunity! You really must see St. Petersburg at least once in your lifetime. In addition, HSE offers brilliant courses. If you're a history student, HSE should be your number one destination!
— What are you going to do in the future? Could you, for example, see yourself working in Russia?
— I'm going to finish my Master’s degree studies and I'm also thinking about some research projects offered by HSE. I would also like to do an internship in a Russian museum.
I can see myself working in Russia in one or two years. Maybe at the Hermitage - that's my target!
Prepared by Ida Salomaa, CIMO Trainee at the Centre for International Cooperation, HSE St. Petersburg
Samrat Sil is a recent graduate of the English-taught Master's programme in Applied and Interdisciplinary History ‘Usable Pasts’ at HSE St. Petersburg. David Datmar, a native of Ghana, decided to join the programme to help him prepare for eventual study at the PhD level, which he plans to undertake soon at the University of Oxford. Both gentlemen were recently awarded certificates of recognition for their role as ambassadors contributing to the university’s internationalization agenda.
International Centre for the History and Sociology of World War II and Its Consequences, Higher School of Economics and The Friedrich Ebert Foundation held 'A Memory Revolution’: Soviet History Through the Lens of Personal Documents' in Moscow on 7-8 June, 2017. The conference brought together distinguished historians and sociologists from across the globe. Michael David-Fox, Professor of History, Georgetown University, and Academic Advisor of HSE International Center for the History and Sociology of World War II and Its Consequences shares his reflections and considerations on the main topic and discussions at the conference and his own research
On May 31, Valerie Kivelson, Professor of History at the University of Michigan, will be delivering a seminar entitled ‘Visualizing Empire: Muscovite Images of Race’. Professor Kivelson is an expert in Medieval and early modern Russia, history of cartography, history of witchcraft, religion, and political culture, among other topics. She is the author of 'Desperate Magic: The Moral Economy of Witchcraft in Seventeenth Century Russia' and a guest editor of 'Witchcraft Casebook: Magic in Russia, Poland and Ukraine. 15-21st Centuries'.
A group of 20 undergraduates from the United States visited St. Petersburg, 'the northern Venice', this January, taking part in a programme that blended the history, society and culture of the Russian Empire’s capital. Participants arrived from Mount Holyoke College and Smith College, opting to spend two weeks of their winter holidays here (6 – 22 January) learning about this city. Participants were diverse in their fields of studies, Russian knowledge, and travel experience, some even choosing this trip as their first chance to travel outside the borders of the United States.
On Monday, October 3, two professors of anthropology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – Heather Paxson and Stefan Helmreich – delivered a seminar for students of HSE St. Petersburg Master's programme in Applied and Interdisciplinary History. A presentation by Professor Paxson focused on how the microbiopolitics of cheese making in the U.S. presupposed and promoted industrial methods and standards and how in recent decades interest in producing and consuming artisanally made, raw-milk cheese has risen dramatically.
Yanina Karpenkina won the 2016 annual contest for HSE students, which is organized by the International Centre for the History and Sociology of World War II and Its Consequences. Thanks to the contest, she went on a six-week internship as a research assistant with the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
International Spring School on Human Rights Debates Issues of Religion, Identity and Freedom of Conscience
In May, the HSE Voronovo Learning Centre hosted the International Spring School on Human Rights, a five-day educational retreat organized jointly by the HSE Department of Public Policy, the University of Bologna and the International Institute of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
The Master’s programme in System and Software Engineering aims to provide students an opportunity not only to acquire the knowledge and experience they need in their chosen profession, but also to help them generate a systemic view on bringing resolutions to the difficult professional challenges they are certain to face in the future. Academic Supervisor Dmitry Alexandrov talks about programme features and international students share their experience of living and studying in Moscow.
This April, Microhistory Days took place at HSE. The event coincided with the visit to the School of History of Prof. Sigurður Gylfi Magnússon (Reykjavík Academy in Iceland) and Dr. István Szijártó (Loránd Eötvös University, Budapest), renowned experts in microhistory, founders of the Microhistory Network, and authors of What is Microhistory? Theory and Practice, a comprehensive analytical monograph.