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‘I Hope it’ll Be a Fun and Productive Year!’

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Keerthi Ramanujan is from India and recently completed her PhD at the University of Hong Kong (HKU). This year she will be working at HSE’s Centre for Cognition & Decision Making (CDM) of the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience as a post-doctoral Research Fellow. She will be part of the Cognitive Control, Communication and Perception (CCCP) Group.

This opportunity to be a researcher with the CCCP group at HSE and work on research projects that I have previous experience and interest in has allowed me to seamlessly transition from PhD student to post-doctoral researcher. I will have the chance hone my existing research competencies and put them to use, as well as develop newer professional/research skills and abilities. Another factor that was particularly appealing to me is HSE’s high level of diversity & internationalization, especially with regards to research. Coming from a very international institution like HKU, working with people from diverse backgrounds is something I’ve come to enjoy and value. After considering HSE/CDM’s excellent research infrastructure (and funding), several checkboxes were ticked, and HSE Moscow it was!  

My research interests are largely centred on bilingualism (the ability to speak two languages), a linguistic phenomenon that is already prevalent in several parts of the world and is also becoming increasingly common these days in Russia as well. I’m particularly interested in how the brains (and some types of behaviours) of dual-language speakers change and vary with different linguistic backgrounds & experiences. While at HSE, I hope to be able to conduct and contribute to empirical neurocognitive research that will increase our understanding of this phenomenon.  

To me living in a new country and culture is exciting! My previous experiences, living in Hong Kong and, for a short while, Milan, have been positive and enriching. 

Relocating to new country & culture will inevitably have its share of challenges, but with a bit of planning and an attitude of open-mindedness and acceptance, I think they can be managed

I have some basic knowledge of Russian history and, like several other Indians, was aware of some major Russian cultural figures (like Pushkin, Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Tchaikovsky) growing up. But I’ve gotten some insights into Russian cultural traditions and customs, thanks to a good Russian friend of mine in Hong Kong. I don’t know any Russian at all (save for ’Privyet’, ‘Spasibo’, ‘Do svidaniya/poka’ and the first two lines of Larionov’s ‘Kalinka’ – none which will get me very far at all!). I am currently trying to learn the Russian alphabet so I can at least recognise street and shop signs. I’m looking forward to improving my Russian, learning more about Russia, and experiencing first-hand its unique and diverse culture.

September 23