‘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.
On August 20, the third Summer University at HSE drew to a close. More than 100 foreign participants spent several weeks in Moscow, as well as one week each on the St. Petersburg and Nizhny Novgorod campuses. Some of them have decided to extend their stay at HSE for a while longer.
This summer, over 100 international students attended the Summer University at HSE. Of all the courses offered by the programme, Russian as a foreign language is especially popular, with more than 50 students enrolling. Maria Shilankova, RFL teacher, and Oksana Chernenko, Director of the Summer University, spoke with HSE News Service about the educational process and the students’ achievements.
The SNU programme (Seoul National University) was held in Moscow for the second time as part of HSE’s Summer University programme. This time, five groups of Korean students came to study Russian, three of which began studying from an absolute beginner level, with the other two groups having already studied it at home in Seoul.
Like any major academic institution, the Higher School of Economics offers teaching in both traditional educational programmes and various shorter formats. The Summer University which began two years ago and gives students from other universities the chance to attend additional courses during the summer vacation, falls into the second category. It provides opportunities to study with particular professors and helps students decide how to pursue their academic interests in the future.
On August 15, the second HSE Summer University drew to a close. The number of participants in this year's programmer nearly tripled with 103 students coming from 15 countries. This included both independent students as well at five organized groups from Seoul National University, Seoul National University of Science and Technology, Miami University, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), and Guangdong University of Foreign Studies.
From July 4 to 25, the HSE Summer University welcomed thirty Korean students from the Seoul National University who had come to study Russian and learn more about modern life in Russia as part of SNU’s programme in Moscow.
On June 20, HSE Summer University classes began. In comparison with last year, the university has seen an increase both in the number of participants and in the diversity of courses offered.
The Summer University started at HSE in 2014, and has since been developing and growing rapidly. Classes in this year's programme will take place between June 22 and August 8. Applications will be accepted until May 1.
The Summer University at the Higher School of Economics, which brought 42 students from 11 countries together for six weeks, has ended. Students of all ages who studied at the university spoke about their impressions of the HSE, the unexpected knowledge they gained, and about continuing education in general.