Learning Against Boredom
Eva Guerrero Forteza was born in Mallorca, Spain, where her mother, father and sister still live. Eva has a curious mind and a ‘wish from place to place to roam’, as the great Russian poet Alexander Pushkin wrote. After earning a degree in physical therapy, she worked in Spain, New York, and then in France. But, Eva notes, she has always dreamt of learning Russian and living in Russia. That’s why she first came to St. Petersburg to study Russian, and, in August 2019, enrolled in HSE’s Master’s programme ‘Socioeconomic and Political Development of Modern Asia’ in Moscow.
Eva Guerrero Forteza
Studying the socioeconomic and political development of modern Asia is a major departure from physical therapy. Therefore, Eva decided to study in English in order to be able to fully understand the nuances of the subject matter.
'My favorite professors are Mikhail Karpov and Glenn Diesen, not only for their deep knowledge and the expertise that they hold in their respective areas and the passion with which they deliver the lectures, but also for both being exceptional human beings in every sense of the word and caring deeply for their students.’
Moscow vs. St.Petersburg
It is no secret that Moscow and St. Petersburg have competed for several dozen years. Eva has lived in both, and she fell in love with Moscow. She has visited many art museums and parks in the capital. Her most favourite route is the walking path along the Moskva river from Gorky Park to the Tretyakov Gallery and towards the Kremlin.
It’s a super friendly city. People smile here a lot which is not common for Russians
Moscow most closely resembles New York because of its dynamic character and energy. It’s an international city because many migrants come to Moscow. I like that diversity.’
By the way, Eva has managed to explore not only Moscow and St. Petersburg, but other Russian cities as well. Over Christmas, together with her father who came to visit her, she took a train trip from Moscow to Novosibirsk and back.
Together with her dad, Eva tried some traditional Russian dishes: buckwheat, kholodets (meat in gelatine), syrniki (cottage-cheese pancakes), borsht, and blini (Russian pancakes). While buckwheat and kholodets did not make it onto their list of favourites, syrniki, borsht, and blini were a hit.
Far from Boring
Today, Eva, along with all other students at HSE, is taking all of her classes online. The dorm on Sevastopolsky Prospekt, where she lives, has a good internet connection, which allows her to listen to lectures, participate in webinars, and take tests without any problems.
‘This week, we were supposed to have some tests. Now, some of the exams have been postponed. Not everything goes as smoothly as it would have in the classroom: we are getting some notifications about classes too shortly before they start. Obviously, everyone needs some time to adjust.
We use different platforms to communicate with different instructors: Skype, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom
Some of the platforms need to be downloaded, while for others you just follow a link. But in general, everything is convenient. We can watch presentations or see the teacher’s screen with illustrations.
The assignments where we write essays and send them to be checked are just the same as in our traditional studies.
The change to online learning has been quite easy for me. What is more difficult is to be quarantined in the dorm. It is not that easy living with two other people in one room, especially now as we suddenly find ourselves in a situation where we don’t have to go to the classes and spend all the time at home.
I know what is happening in Spain from my family and I believe that we should be very careful about following all the rules of hygiene and self-isolation. That’s why I’ve decided not to leave the dorm without urgent necessity
I have stocked some pasta and peas, but I’m out of my vegetables and fruit. And for me, cucumber and tomato salad is probably my key meal, as it’s difficult to buy good cheese and Spanish ham in Moscow, which I’m missing. So, I’ll have to go to the supermarket, but I’ll wear gloves, will thoroughly wash my hands afterwards, and will be trying to keep my distance from the other customers.
When people ask me whether I feel bored in quarantine, I laugh. It’s far from boring! I have so many lectures and assignments that I hardly have time to do everything. And if I have spare time, I read something in Russian or watch a movie. I have watched all four seasons of The Kitchen(Kukhnya), a Russian TV series, and understood, I think, about 60% of it. So, I have something to work on to further improve my Russian!