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Regular version of the site

How I Spent My Semester Abroad

At a recent Student Exchange Fair at HSE University, over 25 HSE partner universities presented various exchange opportunities while international mobility participants shared their stories and advice.

Representatives from Sciences Po Paris, LMU München, University College London, Luiss Guido Carli, Seoultech, Universidad de Alcala, George Mason University, and other institutions took part in the event.

‘It was great to learn about universities in different countries and to talk to students who already have experience studying abroad. The fair was very useful and interesting,’ said Anna, a second-year student of the Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs.

HSE University has over 225 student exchange agreements in 48 countries. Admissions to academic mobility programmes will be open from mid-August to mid-October. More information on the programmes and application process is available on the website.

HSE News Service spoke with several students about their experiences studying abroad.

Albina Prikhodina

University College London (Great Britain)

Before going, I thought I was going to get to know the culture of Great Britain. But I was wrong: I managed to get to know a lot of cultures and views andpeople from all over the world, with different  traditions and goals. I got to know how similar we are, how close many of their beliefs are to mine, and how great it is to understand each other, even though we grew up in different corners of the world.

An important part of cultural dialogue is the ability to listen, and the most important part is the ability to hear. This is what England has taught me. A big achievement for me was that I was finally able to define my academic goals and go deeper into complicated, multidimensional subjects. Sometimes, I would spend whole days at libraries or museums, where I would be writing essays and talking to curators. The UCL Art Society gave me a marvelous opportunity to participate in an exhibition of student works that included paintings, photos, videos, and installations.

Alexander Yakumas

Seoul National University of Science and Technology (South Korea)

The most complicated stage was probably getting all my application materials together for the programme: I had to sort out the requirements and finalize my own individual curriculum. Before I finally uploaded everything onto LMS, I had to review the curriculum several times, negotiate long-distance learning with lecturers, or look for online courses (if I couldn’t substitute a subject at the partner university).

Then, you get the long-awaited notification about your nomination ,and you are contacted by a coordinator from the partner university. You submit your application, register for your courses, and get a visa and insurance. It is also worth trying to get a scholarship from the partner university or from HSE University. I applied for a mobility scholarship from the HSE Endowment and, thankfully, got it.

The list of courses suggested by the host coordinator may change several times before you start, so be prepared to make changes to your individual curriculum and get approval from your academic supervisor and the study office. Furthermore, after you arrive, you’ll have a week to try out the subjects you selected, and, if necessary, you can cancel or replace a course(for example, you may find out that the course you signed up for is in fact conducted entirely in Korean).

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Evgeny Vorobiev

Sciences Po Paris (France)

If you have an opportunity to participate in a student exchange programme, don’t miss it. You live in a different environment, and observe people’s  lifestyles in a new country while comparing them with your own. You test yourself in new conditions. Then, you go back home as a new person who looks at the world from different angles, with a unique academic experience, new friends, and new professional contacts. This experience makes you a more attractive candidate both for the university and employers. You get new knowledge, new skills, and a good command of foreign languages.

You are not a tourist who simply samples the foreign culture; rather, you become part of the new culture during the exchange. Living in a place like Paris may not turn out to be comfortable for you, but this city is a teacher, as well as St. Petersburg is, and this is its strength.

More feedback from exchange students is available on the Student Exchange Opportunities website.

July 10