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Indonesian Student Chooses HSE to Pursue Entrepreneurial Dream

For Sebastian Billy Anggara, a 20-year-old student from Kediri, Indonesia, coming to HSE to study has been like a dream come true. After learning about HSE from his older brother, who is studying international relations in the Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs, he decided to apply to the Faculty of Communications, Media and Design to do a Bachelor’s in Advertising and Public Relations. Since the programme is taught in Russian, he will first study at HSE’s Preparatory Year to master the language.

With the full support of his parents, Sebastian Billy initially worked with the Russian Centre for Science & Culture in Jakarta to submit a motivation letter and abstract, take the admissions test and complete the interview process, which he said was intimidating at first but was a positive experience overall.

‘I made a lot of revisions before I submitted my abstract and motivation letter directly to Russian Centre for Science and Culture in Jakarta. After they checked my files, they offered to interview me’, he said. ‘On the interview day, I saw a lot people who wanted to attend HSE. When I entered the interview room, I felt very nervous. In my town, we almost never see people from another country, so I had never spoken with foreign people. My lucky time came, and I met with the HSE International Admissions representative, Ekaterina Sintsova. I told how I really wanted to attend HSE. Fortunately, they made me feel really confident. I was able to explain my abstract and answer all questions’.

Following his studies, Sebastian Billy hopes to put his knowledge of advertising and public relations to use as an entrepreneur, including by rebuilding an online motorcycle taxi business he started with three of his friends last year. Living in a small town where public transportation does not meet the needs of residents, his company aims to use social media as a platform where motorcyclists can make money by picking up passengers and making deliveries. Eventually, however, competitors entered the market, which affected the company’s profitability.

‘Today, the situation has become more difficult’, he says, speaking of the challenges resulting from increased competition. ‘I learned a lot about relationships and trust. I am coming to Russia to gain knowledge to rebuild my business. I hope that I’ll be able to apply what I learn and take advantage of it in a new era’.

Before starting his Bachelor’s programme, Sebastian needs to study Russian, which is why he has enrolled in the HSE Preparatory Year Programme on a Russian government scholarship. ‘The first words I learned in Russian were ‘yes’, ‘no’, and ‘thank you’. My friends help me to speak Russian. I can say that I’m trying hard to learn the language and the teachers in the Preparatory Year help me a lot. I like the lessons we have’.

Sebastian says that he is happy to be in Moscow because he entered one of the biggest universities in Russia. He is living at the HSE dormitory, which he finds quite comfortable. ‘My roommates are very nice people. I am happy with the atmosphere. While the dormitory is not very close to academic buildings, I have managed to learn the metro system and can now use it on my own. My friends have helped me settle in – I especially appreciated their advice on winter coats. I’ve also found that Russian people are very helpful and friendly. And I’ve started to try Russian food – pelmeni, for instance, and Russian bread – it’s very tasty’.

Sebastian Billy recommends other young people consider studying abroad. ‘For small-town people, study abroad is a dream’, he says, ‘but now I feel I will realize my dream. To all international young people who are thinking of going abroad, be brave don't be afraid! This is my first experience and I can say that I’m really enjoying it.’

Prepared by Anna Chernyakhovskaya specially for HSE News Service



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