On May 20 the HSE School of Asian Studies organized the annual ‘Oriental Crazy Day’ event. Students and lecturers worked together to capture the atmosphere of ‘the East’, and, on Saturday, the HSE building on Trifonovskaya ulitsa opened its doors to everyone interested in Asian studies.
In recent years, Asian studies have become increasingly popular among prospective students, and most of those who attend the Oriental Crazy Day are prospective students and their parents. School students shared their hopes and expectations of studying at the School of Asian studies.
‘I have long been interested in the culture of Japan,’ says Alina Berezhnaya, a prospective student. ‘It all started with anime and manga, and then I got interested in Japanese history. Now I plan to go to the School of Asian Studies and start learning Japanese. At HSE I’m looking for an opportunity to learn from native speakers and do an internship abroad. Today I came to learn more about Asian Studies at HSE and I’m very impressed with the students, who are cheerful and motivated. I hope that soon I will be part of this family.’
Students of the School of Asian Studies were glad to answer the myriad of questions posed by prospective students. There were special information desks staffed by senior students.
‘I do Chinese studies, which is traditionally very popular,’ says second-year student Nikolay Ubogiy. ‘Today a lot of school students came up to me and asked me about internships and future employment. It’s nice to see students’ enthusiasm and motivation.’
The event drew 11th-graders as expected, but was also attended by young school students. For example, Yana Kiriushina, a 7th-grade student, came with her parents from Bryansk.
My father is interested in China, and it’s something I’m also interested in. When I heard about the School of Asian Studies and this event, we decided to come. I really like the master-classes, it’s interesting to meet orientalists and learn more about what people specializing in China study.’
This is the fourth time the event has been held, and every year organizers and volunteers try to surprise guests. Guests could take part in master-classes on Chinese and Korean calligraphy, paint mehendi on their hands, taste authentic Chinese tea, Arabic coffee and Oriental sweets, and make origami cranes.
‘We’re in the same venue each year, but each year new students are involved with the event. Everyone brings something personal, tries to find creative approaches to the problems. And we like this stability,’ says Maxim S. Gamaley, Lecturer at HSE School of Asian Studies.
The event culminated in a student concert. Talented students from the School of Asian Studies gave a lighthearted performance that involved dancing to Korean and Chinese pop music, sketches in Arabic and Korean, translations of Arabic poetry, songs in languages from the region, and to close the event, Japanese studies students performed a Kyōgen, or short Japanese farce. Given this striking diversity, it’s safe to say that participants were successfully immersed in Eastern culture.
‘The event gives each student an opportunity to express themselves. There is everything from a cover of the Radiohead song ‘Creep’ in Chinese to sketch shows in Japanese,’ says Eva Pogosyan, concert host, ‘When I was a prospective student, I also came to Oriental Crazy Day, and I still remember the student performances. Even if you're not going to apply to HSE programmes, it is useful to attend the event, which is definitely more interesting than an ordinary open day.’
This year’s Oriental Crazy Day may be over, but visitors’ impressions of the event will remain. We hope that the event helped prospective students make an important decision concerning their profession, and that it helped students to relax a little before their summer exams and that it gave them a new perspective on studying at the HSE School of Asian Studies. HSE Asian Studies specialists are a big and happy family that is always eager to welcome new people.