‘The Trip to India Will Be an Exam for Every Participant’
From October 28 to November 29, 2023, students of HSE University will take part in an international internship at Lovely Professional University (LPU), one of the biggest universities in India. The exchange programme is intended for students of the bachelor’s programme in Media Communications and the master’s programme in Media Production and Media Analysis at HSE University-St Petersburg. The project will culminate in the creation of a documentary film about India, which will be shot jointly by students of HSE University and LPU.
The main goal of the internship is to exchange knowledge and experience in the fields of media and education. This summer, a two-stage competitive selection process was held for students of HSE University-St Petersburg. First, the candidates prepared a short essay outlining the concept of their media project about India. The second stage consisted of an interview in English.
The selection committee was led by Mikhail Tyurkin, Academic Supervisor of the Bachelor’s in Media Communications at HSE University-St Petersburg. ‘I believe that we have put together a very strong team: they are motivated, interested in Indian culture and history, speak English very well and are ready for adventure—which is very important in this case.’
Mikhail Tyurkin first had the idea to cooperate with LPU in April 2023, when he took part in an international media conference at the university in the city of Phagwara. ‘I established a trusting relationship with the university leadership, including Dean of the Faculty of Journalism and Mass Communication Dr Mukesh Kumar. He and I agreed to develop student exchanges so that students of HSE University can come to India, while Indian students can learn more about Russia,’ explains Mikhail Tyurkin.
LPU is a private university located in Phagwara, a city in the northern Indian state of Punjab. It was founded in 2005 by the company Lovely International Trust. With more than 25,000 students, it is now one of the biggest universities in the country.
The exchange programme includes lectures, seminars, and masterclasses at the LPU School of Journalism. There will also be a cultural programme for students, including trips to the cities of Amritsar and Jalandhar. The participants will get to see the major sights and learn about the country’s rich religious, musical, and dance traditions.
‘Students of HSE University will be able to see how India’s educational system is structured, how teachers communicate with students and convey information to them, and how their teaching approach differs from ours,’ says Mikhail Tyurkin. He notes that there is growing interest in Asian culture and that HSE University strives to build full-fledged educational partnerships with Indian universities. ‘The centre of activity is steadily moving towards the east,’ he explains. ‘And it is important to establish contacts across Asia. I have found India, its culture and spirituality, enticing ever since I was a child. So, when I had the opportunity to develop exchanges between Russia and India, I jumped at the chance.’
One of the main outcomes of the internship will be a documentary film about India. The aim of the project is to increase awareness of India’s culture, economy, and educational system among a Russian audience. The students will actively work with their colleagues from LPU to create an informative product that helps to develop friendly relations between the two countries.
‘The working title of the film is Tell Me, Guru. The idea is to examine the culture of knowledge transfer from gurus to their disciples, from teachers to their students. We want to speak to real spiritual teachers, film them during yoga and meditation classes. We will look at universities whose students predominantly come from the rich strata of society. But we are also interested in public schools, where children from poorer families study. We want to find out how teachers interact with children whose parents spend what little money they have on backpacks, notebooks, and pens,’ explains Mikhail Tyurkin.
Colleagues from LPU will assist the HSE University student team with the filming process by finding interview subjects and helping to choose locations. LPU also has its own studio, where work is constantly underway on various programmes and documentaries.
Participation in the internship at LPU will help students of HSE University to expand their academic and professional horizons, apply the knowledge and experience they have gained to create media products, and learn to see the world through the eyes of another culture. ‘It is difficult to predict anything now. Only once we return to Russia and release the film will we be able to see how strong our team turned out to be. The trip to India will be an exam for every participant and developer of the exchange programme,’ says Mikhail Tyurkin.
Students of LPU will also take part in an exchange at HSE University-St Petersburg in spring 2024. The visitors from India can look forward to lectures, seminars, and masterclasses on Russia’s media system, history, and culture. The LPU students will also make a film about Russia.
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