Labor as value and mission
The first seminar of the joint Russian-German sociological project in labor market studies was held last year. The project is continuing and the next seminar will be held at the HSE in April 2009.
The project was initiated by the HSE Faculty of Sociology and the Department of Economic Sociology. After the competition 14 students were chosen. The Winners took part in a one-week workshop at Martin Luther University (Halle, Germany). There were 3rd and 4th year undergraduate students along with graduate, and post-graduate students from the Department of Economic Sociology. Yana Roschina and Tatyana Korabchuk, HSE Department of Economic Sociology tutors, participated in the project.
The workshop aimed to launch joint Russian-German student research projects in labor market studies. The choice was not an accidental one: the Germans are well known for their ability to work hard. Martin Luther himself considered work to be "beruf" - the most important mission of human earthly existence.
During a one-week visit the project-leaders held several workshops in social methodology, data analysis, and research writing. Students from both the HSE and Martin Luther university gave presentations. Then they worked within ad hoc groups on closely connected topics. The participants worked hard on a number of joint research projects which they presented on the last day of the visit.
During the following several months they have been able to conduct a joint study of Russian and German panel micro data. Most project topics are both innovative and important and hopefully will be very interesting and useful. The results of the joint research - projects will be presented at a workshop held at the HSE in mid-April. The six month Russian-German project will culminate in the publication of an anthology of texts, planned for autumn 2009.
All participants in the project think the visit to Germany was a great success and are very pleased by the partnership experience.
Some students from the Faculty of Sociology shared their impressions.
Elena Kolotova, 4th year undergraduate student in the Faculty of Sociology.
— During the visit we received a unique experience, communicating with sociology students with a different attitude to life and ideas of relevant sociology books. From the moment we left the train up to our departure we were surprised by our Halle friends' attention, warm welcome and the high-level of organization of the visit. The week seemed to be very short. Besides presenting our projects in English we communicated with German students, tutors, and academic advisors, both formally and informally. We investigated our German partners' sociology studies, their scientific and personal interests and outlooks. During the day we spoke about our projects and in the evening, sitting in cafes and restaurants, we discussed other topics we are interested in. We were interested in the German educational system, our German friends' lives, their views on family and career building (the last is closely connected with our study of the labor market studies), and what sort of beer they prefer.
Ellina Dayanova, 4th year undergraduate student at the Faculty of Sociology.
— First of all, I'd like to thank everybody who made it possible. From my point of view, such projects contribute greatly not only to the Faculty of Sociology but to the University activities as a whole since they provide incentives to maintain the highest educational standards. I think it is very important for young researchers to be informed about education in Germany and participate in the teaching process. Within the project HSE students learnt about new databases and new approaches to analysis of the market situation.
Joint Russian-German research projects can open up wide opportunities for comparative analysis of the Russian and German labor markets and also provide the participants with a unique experience of cross-cultural relations.
Ekaterina Usacheva, the 3rd year undergraduate student at the Faculty of Sociology.
— Some other girls from senior courses in the Faculty of Sociology were in my group. This inspired me to work hard. We were obliged to weight each word we spoke in order for senior students and post-graduates to think highly of us. They, in turn, gave us advice and looked after us. The project is an exclusive opportunity to be involved in the implementation of a real sociology research project. We were deeply impressed by the fact we were able to express our thoughts and ideas. It provided us with relevant professional experience. We got the opportunity to strengthen our linguistic skills because we needed to speak English to communicate with our German colleagues. Now we are waiting to become involved in higher level activities.
Ekaterina Khramova, the 3rd undergraduate year student at the Faculty of Sociology.
— I'm very pleased to have participated in the project. We've been deeply impressed by our visit in spite of its purely academic focus. Besides activities within the project, we have been able to strengthen our foreign languages skills, adopt German culture and customs, and learn more interesting things. It must also be mentioned that we are going to maintain connections with our German partners after our return to Moscow. Our visit was great.
Nastia Bobuisheva, 3rd year undergraduate student at the Faculty of Sociology.— My comments don't vary greatly from those made by other visitors. It is hard to say something different. Despite this, I should reiterate that all delegates are full of positive feelings. There was an idea to organize a professional club. It was hard to believe that Halle, a small town in the east of Germany, where we had studied for a week could have such an impact. We were heartily welcomed. Our German colleagues looked after us very well from the moment we arrived to our departure
The Joint Russia-Germany research program of the HSE and Martin Luther University was the main focus of our visit. The first few days were very intensive. But we worked hard for our cause. Later, participants were divided into several groups. The search for common interests was the most interesting point. We were impressed by the football match, with even some of the tutors joining in. Our time was over but nobody wanted to leave.
The farewell party was amazing. We took photographs and exchanged e-mail addresses. In Berlin we recalled that Halle was a prosperous city till the salt reserves became empty (We know this fact thank to our Russian-speaking guide). We remembered narrow streets and café, the library open till one a.m. with free Internet access, unhappy Don Huan, university spirit, and the most importantly, our new friends, our conversations, jokes and German beliefs. It was remarkable experience for us. Nobody regrets anything (except the time running away so quickly). We are waiting for our colleagues to come to Moscow. We will find something to interest them. They will be impressed, I suppose. Rush hour at the Russian tube is wondrous thing.
Angelina Grigorieva, the 3rd year undergraduate student at the Faculty of Sociology.
— One of the most advantageous points of the project is the opportunity for interpersonal relations and joint activity with German Sociology students. It is noticeable that most of the German participants are older than the members of the Russian group. But it was not an obstacle for good communication. German students devoted their free time to looking after us and were our guides in Halle. It seems to me that Germans are more professionally trained in Theoretical Sociology, but we are better at empirical studies.
Maria Ivanova, the HSE News Service