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National Research University Higher School of EconomicsNewsResearch&Expertise‘Our Students Were Able to See that HSE is a Real Research University’

‘Our Students Were Able to See that HSE is a Real Research University’

Tilmann Reuther, Professor at the University of Klagenfurt, and his colleague Joulia Köstenbaumer talk to the HSE News Service about their experience of cooperation with the School of Linguistics and internships in Austria.

Tilmann Reuther and Joulia Köstenbaumer

Tilmann Reuther and Joulia Köstenbaumer

A team of Slavic researchers from Klagenfurt, Austria, have visited the HSE School of Linguistics. The core team were students and lecturers of the Institute of Slavic Studies at the University of Klagenfurt. Professor Tilmann Reuther (TR), who led the group, and Joulia Köstenbaumer (JK) spoke to the HSE News Service about how their university cooperates with HSE and which students should think about applying for internships to Klagenfurt.

— Tilmann, could you tell us more about the cooperation that exists between the HSE School of Linguistics and the University of Klagenfurt?

TP: Relations between our universities are based on a long-term cooperation agreement, which includes three slots for exchange students. These three students come for four months, or one semester. Our university’s direct partner is the School of Linguistics. I would like to mention the basis of our cooperation. Your university has not only economic departments, but also several schools in humanities, including the School of Linguistics. It employs several people, whom I as a Slavic researcher know as authors of academic publications, and with whom I have long-term and even personal relations.

— And has anyone from HSE gone to your university?

TP: Yes, we’ve had student exchanges. As far as I remember, an HSE MA student came two years ago. And also two years ago, we had a Slavic studies student who came to HSE. Two of our students are here today, and one of them studies economics while the other studies intercultural communications. We hope that, after visiting your university, our students will be more interested in HSE.

I think there is a clear benefit when we welcome people who, first, are already MA students, and second, know German, since we do not teach in English at our University. If they have a basic knowledge of German, or A2 level, that would be enough.

— Do you have any English-taught programmes?

TR: There are English-taught programmes, but mostly in computer science. There are also some in communication science, but teaching generally takes place in German, and so it doesn't make much sense to plan to come to us unless you know German. Except perhaps if you are going to study the Romance languages.

Tilmann Reuther and Frank Fischer, Associate Professor at the School of Linguistics

Tilmann Reuther and Frank Fischer, Associate Professor at the School of Linguistics

— And what language is used to teach Slavic studies?

TR: As for Slavic studies, a lot of lectures are given in German. Why? Because we have three specializations, the Russian, Slovenian language, and Serbo-Croatian languages, with this latter sometimes divided into Croatian, Bosnian, and Serbian. And on some courses, students from all these specializations attend the same lectures. Some speak Russian, others speak Slovenian, and others – Serbo-Croatian. So, that is why the lectures are in German.

— Is your visit related to your intention to expand this interaction?

TR: Yes, of course, and also to stabilize them. We have also been to St. Petersburg and visited your campus there.

— Do you cooperate with them, too?

JK: This was our first time there. We met, exchanged information, and we hope to maintain contacts in future.

— Tilmann, you said that you know some of our linguistics professors. Do you cooperate on that level? Or are you planning to?

TR: There are no active projects today. Some people, such as Valentina Apresyan, previously taught at our university and now work here at HSE. But our agreement allows for such opportunities.

— So, if HSE, for example, wants to invite a professor, would that be possible?

TR: Yes, of course, that should be possible. I’d also like to add that the first contacts between our universities took place in a completely different field: psychology. We had a very active psychologist who traveled a lot. But now he has retired. And there were also some contacts in sociology. We had a sociologist who came to HSE and was familiar with your university.

Students and lecturers from the University of Klagenfurt at Frank Fischer’s lecture

Students and lecturers from the University of Klagenfurt at Frank Fischer’s lecture

— Do you cooperate with other universities in other countries that are of interest for you as Slavic researchers?

JK: The university as a whole has a lot of international contacts, too many to list here. As for our institute specifically, and Slavic studies, we also have relations with Tomsk State Pedagogical University. We have undergraduate student exchanges with them, and our students attend summer schools there.

TR: Yes, and we already have very good relations with Kharkiv Polytechnic University in a number of areas, such as economics, information science, and philology. They have a department of Russian and Ukrainian languages. We also have some contacts with Chernivtsi National University, since Klagenfurt and Chernivtsi are twin towns. We cooperate on history, pedagogy, and German studies. There are also relations with the Kherson State University on information science.

— Tilmann, what specific areas of Slavic studies are you most interested in?

I work in the same theoretical fields as Valentina Apresyan and Ekaterina Rakhilina, who heads the HSE School of Linguistics, including semantics, text studies and so on.

 Frank Fischer, Associate Professor at the School of Linguistics, spoke before your team on digital humanities. Am I right to say that that was your initiative? And does this mean that Slavic researchers are also interested in digital methods?

TR: Frank Fischer gave a remarkable lecture on modern research methods in the humanities. I heard about Frank from a mutual friend who advised me to ask him to speak. And it worked out. I’m glad that our students had this experience and were able to see that HSE is a real research university. I know that your university has national research university status.

JK: For us as Slavic researchers this is a new area. Researchers at our university have not been very involved in it. But I saw that the students were interested, they had a lot of questions and ideas about how they can work with these new methods. Digital humanities open up brand new opportunities. Of course, we were familiar with some areas, but we also discovered a lot of new aspects that can be applied to our work with texts.



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