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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 Mathematics Programme Tailored to Students’ Research Interests

The HSE Summer University is off to a strong start this year, and one of its programmes – the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) in Mathematics – has already been met with considerable enthusiasm by participating students. Designed for undergraduate students majoring in Mathematics or related areas, participants work on research projects under the supervision of distinguished mathematicians.

Renowned Professors Offer New Courses for Summer University Students

HSE’s Summer University officially opened on June 20. Now in its fourth week, the Summer University is in full swing at three of HSE’s four campuses– Moscow, St Petersburg and Nizhny Novgorod. Participants continue coming to Russia for courses on topics such as politics, history, economics, and Russian and Eurasian cultures. Most courses last two to four weeks and all of them are taught in English.

Summer University Begins at HSE

In its fifth year already, the HSE Summer University was officially opened on June 20th by Vice Rector, Ivan Prostakov. Over the next 8 weeks, HSE will provide almost 200 students, PhD candidates, postdocs and professionals from all around the world with the opportunity to enhance their knowledge in a wide range of fields. Many of the courses, all of which are taught in English, focus on areas such as politics, history, economics, and Russian and Eurasian cultures.

‘Now I Really Recommend Moscow to All My Friends’

The fourth HSE International Summer University has drawn to a close. The programme continues to grow and evolve. This year over 160 students from 46 universities came to HSE to take courses in International Relations & Politics, Computer Science, Russian Studies, Economics, Culture & History.

'Moscow Seems Like a Totally Different World but I Feel Very Comfortable Here'

On July 21, students from Seoul National University presented their projects devoted to politics, economics and social sphere of Russia. Every year, within the framework of HSE Summer University, a group of South Korean students comes to Moscow to learn the Russian language and take 'Understanding Modern Russia' course. At the end of the course students prepare presentations based on the knowledge they have gained and their own research results.

‘Russia Is Different Than I Expected — It’s a Lot Nicer’

The fourth Summer University for international students has kicked off at HSE. The number of Summer University students has almost doubled this year to more than 150, with over a third of them coming independently. Student groups have come from HSE’s partner universities in the United States, South Korea, China, and European countries.

Summer University: A Gateway to HSE and Russia

In 2014 HSE launched its first Summer University aimed at international students – since then the number of participants and courses as well as their diversity grew greatly. The Summer University opens its doors to the world on June 20, 2017, and Oksana Chernenko, Director of the Summer University programme, and Anna Mezentseva, manager of the Summer University programme, talked to The HSE Look about the programme and how it helps to promote HSE and Russia as study destinations globally.

‘I’m Planning to Stay at HSE on an Exchange Programme’

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.

Summer University Students Learn Russian

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.

Progress and Excitement – SNU’s Programme in Moscow

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.