Preparatory Year Programme Welcomes New Students
On November 25, the HSE Preparatory Year programme held a special welcome meeting for its new students. The aim of the event is to better acquaint them with HSE and the educational programmes it offers.
This year’s HSE Preparatory Year programme runs for the first time for approximately 90 students from more than 30 countries, including Bulgaria, Vietnam, China, Congo, Indonesia, Mongolia, the U.S., Djibouti, Bolivia and others. They have arrived in Moscow to study Russian in order to prepare for enrolment in Russian-taught undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programmes. During the first semester students attend RFL classes at their level; in the second semester the curriculum will also include other bridge courses to introduce students to Russian terminology in various fields of the humanities, economics or engineering. The students can study both on fee-paying and tuition-free basis. Next year the number of participants is expected to double.
The event opened with a warm-up session where leaders of ReadSquare, an online English-language student newspaper, challenged some of the most widespread stereotypes about Russia. Do Russians avoid talking about work? Are they generally rude, unfriendly and rarely say ‘please’ or ‘thank you’? These and other questions were discussed with the audience. At the session, students shared their first impressions of Moscow. Andy At Yeboah from Ghana, who is currently enrolled in the Master’s programme in Applied Social Psychology, spoke about the advantages of studying in Russia and at HSE. He encouraged students to approach studying in Russia with an open mind and readiness to learn.
Approach studying in Russia with an open mind and readiness to learn
Professor Grigory Kantorovich, a member of HSE’s Academic Council, then talked to students about major milestones in the university’s development, focusing on internationalization. Over the past decade, a growing number of international faculty members have joined HSE; presently, more than 100 people from all over the world teach and conduct research at the university. The international student body has also rapidly grown along with an increasing number of Bachelor’s, Master’s and short-term programmes in English. In 2016, 21 English-taught Master’s programmes will be offered, including four brand new programmes: Strategic Financial Management, Applied Statistics with Social Network Analysis, Advanced Urban Design, and Finance. Two English-taught undergraduate programmes offer the opportunity for economics and international relations students to earn parallel degrees from HSE and University of London. Other international students work on their Russian language skills in Preparatory Year before enrolling in Russian-taught programmes.
After the session, representatives of various HSE faculties spoke with preparatory year students about their educational programmes and possible career tracks. Students learned about opportunities to study in the Faculty of Economic Sciences, Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs, Faculty of Social Sciences, School of Business Informatics, and the Faculty of Humanities.
Hamza Akorede, Nigeria
I came to Russia because I intend to study economics. I think that in order to be a good economist I need to gain experience and analyze complicated situations in a big economy. My dad studied here and my brother also studied in St. Petersburg. So I came here because I also want to have more opportunities. I speak French and English, and I believe the more languages you speak the more opportunities you have in life. I found Russian more difficult than English and French, especially in the beginning, but I like learning it. After this preparatory year programme I’m going to apply for Master’s, as I already have a Bachelor’s from my university. I am very interested in HSE’s English-taught programme in Financial Economics. I really enjoyed the welcome event - it was very nice and showed that this university is very interested in the positive atmosphere among students. It’s a good message, a good image for the university.
Alexander Karagichov, Israel
My parents, both father and mother, are of Russian origin, so they are both Russian speakers. I think I can speak fluently, read, write, and generally keep the conversation going, but I really benefit from the Russian language classes here. The teachers are wonderful – they are very devoted. I think that if I plan to do something in Russia, whether living here or working, it’s important to first of all understand the Russian mentality and to know the language well. Besides, I really like Russian literature.
After the programme, I plan to do a Bachelor’s either in finance or in international relations. I haven’t decided yet. I am currently looking at HSE’s English-taught programmes. I think there are a lot of career opportunities in Russia because it’s a very big country compared to Israel. I can definitely find something to do here.
Jazmin Quevedo Cascante, Bolivia
I came to Russia because I saw it as an amazing opportunity. Since I was little I knew that I wanted to go abroad. There are not many opportunities in my country, and there is much to learn outside. I’ve already studied in the United States, and when I was presented with an opportunity to study in Russia I thought it was an excellent idea.
I find the language really beautiful but it’s very hard to learn! I feel that people have a preconception of what Russian people are like and what Russia is. Many of my family and friends wondered why I wanted to go to Russia, to such a cold country. I must say that being here I find it very safe – I easily can go to a store near my dormitory at midnight, something that I wouldn’t do at home. And it’s not always cold – in summer it’s beautiful, with lots of sun. Also, I don’t think that Russian people are cold. If you get to know them, they are very nice and helpful. The country is big and beautiful. I love the Moscow subway, the city and its different sights. There is always something new to see and learn. I’ve been here two months already and haven’t regretted it one bit. I knew a little Russian before coming here – I took classes for nine months. So, when I came here I had the advantage of knowing how to read and how to say a few words. I think I’ve already made some progress in Russian and I am looking forward to knowing much more by the end of the year. I have an excellent teacher who is really nice and very patient. I think that the preparatory year programme is spectacular. After finishing it I would like to apply to a Master’s programme at HSE because this university is quite prestigious. I feel very comfortable with the teachers here. I really liked the programmes that the Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs presented at the welcome event.
Ardyanti Laksitaningtyas, Indonesia
I’ve come to Russia because I love this country and I want to learn the language – it’s cool. I already took some Russian classes in Indonesia – I studied Russian literature. But my Russian is not good yet because the system of language teaching in Indonesia is not as good as here. Russia is very different from Indonesia, but as people say, if you can live in Russia, you can live in any country. It’s a bit difficult at first to adapt to life here, especially to the weather, but it’s a step-by-step process for me.
I would like to enter a doctoral programme at HSE, as I already have a Master’s degree from my university in Indonesia. I am interested in the social sciences. I really enjoyed the welcome event as I got a lot of information about HSE faculties, career prospects and professional development. I even made new friends there.
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.
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.
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.
On July 12, HSE officially congratulated the graduates of the 2018 Preparatory Year programme. The 10-month intensive course, which was introduced at HSE in 2015, is designed for international students with little or no knowledge of Russian who wish to undertake Russian-taught full-degree programmes. The curriculum focuses on basic language skills (reading, listening, speaking, and writing) and students are able to study in their chosen academic field (humanities, economics, or engineering). This year, young graduates from 40 different countries attended the ceremony, where they were congratulated by their teachers, friends and families.
On November 15, international student admissions for undergraduate and Master’s programmes opened. This year, prospective students can apply to two programmes simultaneously. They’ll be able to track the application process online in their personal profile on the HSE website where they will receive notifications on the stages of their application’s review and decisions by the admissions committee. The documents for visa invitation can also be submitted there.
‘Everyone Finds It Challenging in the Beginning, but I’ve Progressed a Lot, and Now I Can Speak Russian Very Well’
On July 21, 2017, the graduation ceremony for the Preparatory Year programme was held. During the ceremony, more than 170 students from 40 countries received their diplomas, which will enable them to continue their studies in Russia.
HSE’s Preparatory Year trains international students with little or no knowledge of Russian before they begin Russian-taught full-degree programs. Over 10 months of intensive study, students improve their language skills (reading, listening, speaking, and writing), study in a chosen academic field (humanities, economics, or engineering), and adapt to the new educational environment. Upon completing the Preparatory Year, students are expected to possess intermediate-level Russian language skills and be ready to enter Russian-taught full-degree programmes at HSE and other Russian universities.
On July 5, the application window closed for international students who made it through the selection process for state-funded spots at the Higher School of Economics. Those students who were not selected are still able to apply to the university for tuition-paying spots, or can enrol in the university’s Preparatory Year programme.
On June 27, the first cohort of HSE Preparatory Year graduates received their diplomas after passing the exams. Launched in 2015, the programme offers international students an excellent opportunity to develop their Russian language skills and prepare for Russian-taught programmes at HSE and other Russian universities. This year, approximately 90 people from over 30 countries studied in the programme, which included several tracks – economics, humanities and science.