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‘I Want to Travel across all of Russia — From Moscow to Vladivostok’. What Summer University Students Dream about

June 20th marked the start of HSE’s third Summer University. This year’s programme saw the participation of students from 25 different countries.

The number of international students who decided to spend their summer at the Higher School of Economics studying computer science, business administration, economics, sociology, cultural studies, and more has nearly tripled over the last three years. This year’s Summer University has more than 120 participants from 25 countries around the globe: China, the U.S., Germany, Norway, Afghanistan, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Egypt, France, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Iran, Mexico, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sudan, Sweden, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and Vietnam. South Korea had the most participants with 30 students coming from Seoul National University of Science and Technology and Seoul National University. A portion of the students from Germany and Norway received travel grants from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Education (SIU).

Summer University students are able to select courses from a number of different fields, thereby building a truly individual plan of study. The ECTS credits students receive at HSE also count at the students’ home universities.

‘Compared to last year, students have become much more interested in studying Russian, and over half of the students in this year’s programme are taking it. There are languages courses for various levels of study, ranging from beginner to advanced,’ comments Oksana Chernenko, who is the head of the Department for Educational Innovations and Short International Programmes. ‘In addition, classes are being held in more locations this year; students are now able to study at HSE’s Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Nizhny Novgorod campuses. The international students will also become acquainted with Moscow thanks to the help of volunteers from the student Buddy Network.’

HSE has become one of Russia’s best universities and is now included on international rankings for a number of disciplines, notes HSE First Vice Rector Vadim Radaev. Additionally, over the last three years the Summer University has become one of HSE’s main international projects.

According to HSE Vice Rector Ivan Prostakov, the Summer University brings together students from the most diverse areas of the world and gives them the opportunity to immerse themselves in a new culture. This is an invaluable experience, he continues, largely because the future lies in the hands of those who are capable of working with people from different cultures. 

John Haug, University of Kansas

I’m currently in the University of Kansas' master's programme in engineering, but I’m also involved in aerospace research. I’m hoping that the Summer University will help me improve my Russian. I’ve been studying the language since high school, and my adopted sister is from Russia, so studying Russian is personal for me. But I also think Russian will come in handy professionally as well. I’ve recently been so caught up with school that I haven’t had time to devote enough attention to Russian, but I’d like to continue studying it, and might even start in my school’s Russian programme next year.


Liya Xie, Washington University in St. Louis

I was born in Russia, but my parents and I returned to China when I was 8. After I finished school there, I decided to go to an American university since, in my opinion, schools in the U.S. offer a more flexible and well-rounded education than in China. I’m in the international area studies and intercultural communication programme at Washington University in St. Louis, which requires knowledge in a variety of areas – history, sociology, anthropology, and more.

I’ve always been fascinated by Russia and Russian culture, but I’m particularly interested in the Soviet period, as well as the processes that are underway in your country today. I know how history can be told from different points of view (Chinese and American professors have two very different views of Russian history), which is why I’d like to hear what Russian researchers have to say. I’m taking several classes about Russia. I also really enjoy talking with Russians, and I like seeing what daily life is like here.


Edgar Kirsch, University of Mannheim

I’m getting my master’s in management from the University of Mannheim. I don’t have any specific expectations, but I’m really hoping to improve my Russian and gain new knowledge in the field of business and economics. From a professional point of view, I’m interested in financial strategy and corporate finance, which is why my bachelor’s was focused on financial controlling. My university told us about the possibility of getting a DAAD grant to study at the HSE Summer University. Overall, I think the Summer University is an excellent way to gain new experience, communicate with students from different countries, and explore Moscow and other cities in Russia.


Alexis Shaw, University of North Carolina

I’m finishing up my bachelor’s this year. I’m mostly interested in regional policy and international conflicts, and in the future I’d like to work in the field of national security. My Russian literature professor, who I’ve been studying with since I was a freshman, was the one who recommended the HSE Summer University.

I’ve read a lot about Russia, both the Soviet and post-Soviet period, and about how your country changed after perestroika and the effect this had on global politics as a whole. Aside from history and politics, I love Russian literature, particularly Leo Tolstoy. During my time in Moscow, I’d like to get to know people so that I can get a good understanding of what Russia is really like and possibly dispel certain stereotypes.


Peixin Yang, University of Michigan

I first encountered the Russian language and Russian culture when I was in school. We were able to take a Russian language class, and this is when I became interested in Soviet cinematography and Russian classical music. I read and write quite a bit in Russia, but I don’t have enough speaking practice. I’m really happy that I’ll have a few weeks to practice with native Russian speakers.

I’m a student at the University of Michigan and have two majors – economics and Russian and East European studies. This is why here at the Summer University, I chose Russian classes, as well as classes on economics and business.

My dream is to travel across Russia on the Trans-Siberian Railroad. I want to go from Vladivostok to Moscow, stopping at all of the small and large cities along the way. I want to study them, go to museums, visit the local sites, and talk with everyday people.


See also:

Summer University 2023: ‘A Good Introduction to Urban Studies’

At the start of August, HSE University held the tenth annual Summer University. This year’s programme took the form of a workshop on urban studies. The participants attended four courses from HSE University faculty and invited experts and worked on their own projects to develop a cultural heritage site. Jung Woo Lee, from South Korea, shares his impressions of the Summer University.

‘I Have Always Respected the University’s Comprehensiveness and Inclusiveness’

Throughout July, students of the HSE International Summer University are studying Russian History and Behavioural Economics. The courses are taking place in an online format—something that seemed unthinkable for a summer programme before the COVID-19 pandemic. Recent years have shown that online learning is a unique opportunity for students from all over the world to study with leading HSE University professors from the comfort of their own homes.

HSE International Summer University to Offer Lectures in Partnership with Pompeu Fabra University

As a part of long-standing cooperation between HSE University and the Pompeu Fabra University, this summer, International Summer University  in collaboration with Barcelona International Summer School (BISS) will organize a series of open lectures for participants of both summer programmes. Some of HSE Summer University courses are still open for registration.

Summer University to Be Held Online Second Year in a Row

International students from all over the world can enroll in HSE University’s summer programme, choosing from a wide range of courses that will be delivered via Zoom from June 20 till August 20, 2021. This year, Summer University is offering new courses, tuition fee discounts, and networking opportunities. Application deadline is May 20, 2021.

‘I Really Enjoyed This Summer School Experience’

The HSE International Summer University completed its 2020 session on August 20. Due to the pandemic, the programme was held online for the first time. Students from all over the world met on Zoom to study Russian language as well as take a variety of subject specific courses and participate in informal activities.

‘I Am Glad That I Made the Decision to Be at Summer University’

HSE Summer University, which has moved its classes online this year due to the pandemic, began on July 15. The programme will run until August 20, with students taking courses of various duration.

HSE Summer University 2020 to Be Held Online

HSE Summer University will begin on July 15 this year. All courses will be taught online via Zoom. The registration deadline has been extended until July 1, 2020.

Changes to HSE Summer University Dates

The coronavirus is strong, but together we are stronger. Let’s take care and stay safe, so that we can all soon embrace each other again. Due to recent travel and visa restrictions, as well as in the interest of students' health, the 2020 HSE Summer University session dates have been changed. Programme sessions will now begin on July 15 and conclude on August 20.

From Vladivostok to Philadelphia: Who Studied at HSE University This Summer

In early August, this year’s HSE Summer University comes to a close. For the first time, the school welcomed a group of Russian students from Far Eastern Federal University.

HSE International Summer University in Full Swing

Every summer, HSE’s International Summer University attracts students, graduate students, post-docs, and professionals from around the world who wish to spend several weeks in Moscow to deepen their knowledge in a variety of fields. With the programme entering its second month, HSE News Service sat down with several students to talk about their impressions of it so far.