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Regular version of the site

HSE Prep Year Students Present Their Research Papers at International Conference in Tomsk

From April 25 to 27, a scientific student conference was held at Tomsk Polytechnic University (TPU). It was attended by international graduate students and postgraduate students from 57 countries, including four students from the HSE Preparatory Year programme. The HSE News Service talked to the conference organisers and participants about their impressions of the event.

The first large-scale event for international students at TPU took place in 2006. The Tomsk-2006 First All-Russian Festival of International Students was dedicated to the 10th anniversary of the Association of International Students in Russia and the 110th anniversary of TPU. Since then, the university has regularly held festivals and conferences for foreigners studying in Russia. Since 2020, the International Conference ‘Scientific Initiative of International Students and Postgraduates’ has been held annually.

Nina Shakhova, PhD, Associate Professor at the TPU Department of Russian Language

The topics that international students are discussing this year are highly relevant. Examples include artificial intelligence and robotics—several papers are dedicated to image recognition tasks for medical purposes, forest protection, and safety enhancement. Many papers are focused on researching new materials. In the English language section, students discuss nuclear energy issues. Linguistics, literature, and socio-economic sciences are actively discussed at the conference.

The goal of our conference is to support the scientific and creative initiatives of foreign graduate and post-graduate students studying at Russian and foreign universities, as well as to develop a multicultural educational environment at Tomsk Polytechnic University.

The conference attracted students from 57 countries. China had the most representatives with 143, followed by Nigeria with 12, Syria and Vietnam with 9 each, and Egypt and Iraq with 8 each.

The organisers are planning to continue motivating international students in Russia to carry out research, to help them communicate their research outcomes and adapt to the Russian and international academic environment. They are also going to create and develop an academic community of international students at TPU.

The paper by Aleksandra Bogdanovska, an HSE Preparatory Year student from Macedonia, entitled ‘Ethnocentrism in conditions of (non)acceptance of the consequences of the Ohrid Framework Agreement among Macedonian students from different ethnic groups’, was awarded a 1st-class diploma at the conference.

Aleksandra Bogdanovska, 23, HSE Preparatory Year student

I am studying on the HSE Prep Year, and from the next academic year I will study on the ‘Counseling Psychology. Personality Studies' master’s programme. I chose to study at HSE because it has a detailed and high-quality programme that offers courses in personology and personality psychology. The personality as the most complex phenomenon is an extremely appealing subject for me to study—I can rest assured that I have two academic years ahead of me filled with incredible enthusiasm, intellectual engagement, and satisfaction.

In Tomsk, Siberia, I decided to present a scientific work that I prepared in the last semester of my undergraduate studies, ie less than a year ago. The topic was titled ‘Ethnocentrism in conditions of (non)acceptance of the consequences of the Ohrid Framework Agreement among Macedonian students from different ethnic groups’. A total of 155 students from Macedonian state universities took part in the research, and the aim was to check how ethnocentrism changes when ethnicity changes and the attitude towards the consequences of the Ohrid Framework Agreement (the peace agreement ending the military conflict between Albanians and Macedonians in 2001). Very briefly, the psychological consequences of the military conflict among the young population were considered.

Aleksandra Bogdanovska
Photo courtesy of Alexandra Bogdanovska and Roberto Andrés Pérez Torres

I would say that so far, my impressions of studying in Russia are overwhelmingly positive. I see that the study tempo is really fast and I feel fulfilled because I am participating in an extremely productive and highly competitive environment, which motivates me to become a better student myself.

I love that almost all the professors have an individual approach to students—they monitor the progress of each of us individually

Also, the classes and lectures are constructed in such a way that there is a dynamic in them—the process of acquiring knowledge takes place interactively, through the active participation of the students in the class. However, sometimes it is difficult to express myself precisely and extensively in Russian, but (at least in an academic environment) I have the impression that the locals have the patience to give me as much time as I need.

I feel comfortable using the Russian language and I'm glad that I understand almost everything that native Russian speakers say

Although, even though I myself come from a Slavic country and my mother tongue (Macedonian) is also Slavic, I believe that one year of Russian language training is sufficient for everyday life, but may not be sufficient for academic expression. It would be good if, even after starting academic studies, activities aimed at improving the Russian language could be practiced.

Roberto Andrés Pérez Torres, 20, HSE Preparatory Year student

I am from San Salvador, El Salvador, in Latin America. When I applied to study in Russia, I asked two Russian friends for university advice and they both recommended HSE University. I searched for more information about the university and I found it to be a good option as it has a good level of quality, it is well ranked globally, and I liked the programme that I will be studying in the next academic year.

In my opinion, HSE is a very good university that offers significant support for foreign students

I have felt welcomed at the university—not only in the academic environment, but also in the sports clubs, with Russians, and with the people with whom I have interacted. I am planning to study a degree in psychology, and I have done research in that area. My research was about the socialisation process of international students studying on the 22/23 preparatory course during their first months in Moscow.

Roberto Andrés Pérez Torres
Photo courtesy of Alexandra Bogdanovska and Roberto Andrés Pérez Torres

It took a lot of work to complete and present it at the conference, not only because it was in the Russian language, but also because it was my first time working with this kind of assignment. Fortunately, an amazing girl I travelled with gave me help and guidance about how to proceed, and I also had the support of one of the best teachers of the preparatory course, who helped me with the technical language.

I came to Russia seven months ago and I have been asked the same question many times: why Russia? I truly believe that there are certain times in life when opportunities come to your doorstep and you have to choose to either take a chance or stick with what you know. In my case, I chose the first option. I chose Russia because it is well developed in the field I will study, has an interesting history, and supports international students. Overall, I have no regrets. It's been a great experience and I've met great people here from different backgrounds.

I have had the opportunity to travel to four cities, and I can say that Russia has different aspects and areas that make it a really interesting country

Besides that, I consider the language to be interesting, though difficult to learn. That was another reason why I chose to come here. I currently speak it at a B1 level—this was thanks to my own efforts and practice, but mainly thanks to the preparatory year department and its good teachers.

Alexandra Bogdanovska, Nina Shakhova and Roberto Andrés Pérez Torres
Photo courtesy of Alexandra Bogdanovska and Roberto Andrés Pérez Torres

While Alexandra Bogdanovska and Roberto Andrés Pérez Torres travelled to Tomsk to participate in the conference, two more HSE Prep Year students—Lorenzo Trufolo (Italy) and Lapavee Sarakosala (Thailand)—took part in the event online from Moscow.

The HSE Preparatory Year supported its students at all stages. The teachers of Russian for Subject-Specific Purposes reviewed the students’ papers and helped with the applications to take part in the conference. The HSE Preparatory Year covered travel and accommodation expenses. The Prep Year staff were in constant communication with the organisers from Tomsk, and there was a chat where students shared updates on their arrival and settling in.

Alexandra Nazarchuk

Alexandra Nazarchuk, Director of the HSE International Preparatory Year Programme

The main goal of the Preparatory Year is not only to help foreign students to master the Russian language, but also to introduce them to the Russian-speaking environment, especially the academic one. In these terms, HSE Preparatory Year students’ participation in scientific conferences along with other students from Russian universities provides an opportunity not only to get to know Russia and its people, but also to ‘see and be seen’—to try one's hand at participating in a real academic environment and feeling part of the student community.

The HSE Preparatory Year actively develops cooperation with universities throughout Russia. Our students have already attended conferences in Nizhny Novgorod, Tula, and Tomsk. We very much hope to organise a conference for international students in preparatory departments of universities in Russia soon.

See also:

‘My Prep Year Experience Has Been Phenomenal; I Would Repeat It All over Again if I Could’

The International Preparatory Year programme held its graduation ceremony in July. This academic year, 125 students from 50 countries were enrolled in the programme. They will continue their studies at Russian universities, most of them pursuing bachelor's and master's programmes at HSE University. The graduation was organised as a quest, where the students were able to demonstrate their achievements in learning the Russian language. Graduates from Ecuador, Syria, and Mexico shared their impressions with the HSE News Service, Deputy Director Polina Shanko talked about plans for the coming year, and mathematics teacher Vladimir Gordin gave his advice to future students.

‘Russia Is a Land of Openness and Possibility’

Lorenzo Trufolo graduated from Bologna University and is studying in the HSE International Preparatory Year ahead of his master’s studies in international trade at HSE University. In his interview, he talks about his studies in Russia, participation in academic conferences and competitions, and the challenges of living in Moscow.

‘The 4th International Economics Olympiad—My Journey’

Oghogho Joy Isibor came to HSE University after earning a scholarship from the Faculty of Economic Sciences for her performance in the International Economics Olympiad. She is one of several foreigners to apply via the same competition. Oghogho is currently studying on the HSE University Preparatory Year Programme before starting her Economics degree. Read on to find out about her experience of the Olympiad, adapting to life in Russia, and the challenges of learning Russian for her future studies.

‘I Made a Lot of Friends and My Speaking Level Improved’

On December 23, students of the HSE Preparatory Year got together for a festive Russian speaking club. They expanded their vocabulary and cultural outlook by immersing themselves in Russian winter holiday traditions and even played the role of Ded Moroz—the Russian Santa.

‘The City of Moscow Inspires Me with the Joy of Living’

The new academic year is gaining momentum at the HSE Preparatory Year, with students from over 40 countries currently enrolled. The HSE News Service talked to the new students about their first impressions and the challenges of studying at HSE University and living in Moscow, while teachers of the Prep Year extracurricular clubs shared their ideas and plans for future activities.

‘A High Concentration of Intercultural Communications’

The team of the HSE International Preparatory Year said goodbye to its students at a graduation party that took place at the HSE Cultural Centre. 197 students from 58 countries graduated from the programme this year. They learned Russian and profile subjects in Russian, which has helped over 100 of them to enrol in degree programmes at HSE University.

What It Is Like to Be an HSE Student

Van Ly Vu took Prep Year programme at HSE University before enrolling in BA in Advertising and Public Relations. In her column for HSE Illuminated, an online student newsletter, she shares her story of becaming a student of HSE University.

'It Was Nice to Experience the Charms of Student Life in Russia'

Ljiljana Filipović, from Croatia, is currenttly studying in the Master in International Management programme at the HSE Graduate School of Business. This year she was also helping international students with Russian language in 'Russian speaking club' organized by International Prep Year programme. In her interview, Ljiljana Filipović shares her experience of the Prep Year programme and offers some useful tips for international students.

‘I Feel at Ease in Russian Class’

Since September of this academic year, the HSE International Prep Year (IPY) programme has offered a supplemental Russian language course for international students studying at HSE. It is designed for students who have successfully graduated from the preparatory programme and are now studying in undergraduate or graduate programmes at HSE on Russian government scholarships. The HSE News Service spoke with students about the course and learned how it is helping them in their studies at HSE.

‘Every Word and Grammatical Construction That I Learned in the Preparatory Year Is Very Useful for Me’

Though born in Ukraine, Roksana Ramirez has lived all her life in Bolivia. A native Spanish speaker, Roksana came to Russia with no knowledge of Russian. She is currently studying at the Graduate School of Business in a Russian-taught Master’s programme in HR Analytics. In an interview with HSE News Service, Roksana describes how HSE’s Prep Year programme helped her become proficient in Russian and how she is now mentoring current prep year students to help them adjust to university life.