What is it like to study at HSE University?
Our third-year students have kindly shared their experience with us, their reasons to join the program, as well as their impressions of the university and country.
Luis Santaella from Mexico
It has been almost 3 years since I started studying the PSWP programm. I like the approach to political studies that differentiate our university from others. Our program really focuses on empirical and comparative analysis which is great. I think HSE University really encourages its students for academic innovation. Students can feel it even in the atmosphere of the school. This year I hope we can get more interaction with professional opportunities and continue with courses that give us enough skills for our future. After graduating from this programme I intend to seek an opportunity as a political campaign specialist and use everything I have learned to work for the best strategists in the world.
It might be scary to study in a completely unfamiliar country. Russia is definitely a special country and it is up to you to decide if that is for you. It is like being an astronaut: once you are there, the view is amazing. There are some difficulties, for example, people in Russia are more individualistic than in my home country. Language is definitely the biggest challenge, however, with the right attitude it can be the most beautiful to learn.
The main difference is the rhythm. St. Petersburg keeps you moving, the city never stops. It is a very fast and exciting city. The architecture is also something special, the mixture between the European style and the Soviet legacy makes you feel as if you were traveling in time. The food is also very different from what I have in my home country, but once you know it, you may actually like it.
Indiana Lokotar from Belgium
I chose to study at HSE for many reasons. What I appreciate a lot is the system of this university, which is really suitable for me. In my opinion, having seminars to put in practice the theory that we have learned during the lectures, projects and multiple presentations and all the daily work that we have to furnish during each module helps me a lot to get involved seriously in my studies, motivates me to learn and understand the material, not just to learn by heart and forget about it the next day.
I also really appreciate the openness of the professors. During my school years in Belgium, I had so many questions left over. Here at HSE professors are always ready and happy to answer your questions and explain everything in detail.
This year in particular is really important for me because I am going to participate in an exchange programme. I am going to Bogazici University in Turkey. I expect to get a really new and interesting knowledge there. By being in Turkey I hope to get to know more about Turkish politics, which also can be related to Russian and European politics. Also my research interest is energy policy, and Turkey is an important case here.
After graduation I have a big goal of returning to Belgium and applying to the University there. There is a Collège d'Europe in Bruges which was founded by the EU and I hope that I will get a scholarship and will be able to do a master's degree there. Also I would like to learn Dutch because I want to work in Belgium as a diplomat or national representative.
Speaking about my experience in Russia, I can tell you first that before applying to university I did two exchanges, one in Taiwan and one in Russia, precisely in St. Petersburg. I loved both a lot! But my life in St. Petersburg was totally incredible. I was amazed by the history of Russia itself and by the history and the beauty of the city. When I was in Russia for the first time, I was impressed by the cultural traditions, complexity but richness of the Russian language, the people and their values, beautiful museums that helped me to discover Russian history through its art, the beauty of the country, the weather and the list is long. I traveled quite a lot in Russia, to cities like Vologda, Moscow, Kazan, Veliky Novgorod, Ekaterinburg, Tver. And I loved everything, the diversity of the country never stopped amazing me.
I love living in Saint Petersburg, it is such an amazing city, full of wonders and discoveries. I am a really active person and I always need to move and discover and I can tell you that after two years in Saint Petersburg, visiting and moving around as much as I can I still have things left to discover and see. This city never stops to amaze me. It is a huge city full of opportunities but you will feel there like home, like you always belonged there.
Osсar Mendoza from Columbia
Having studied at the programme for three years, I can tell that the thing I like the most about HSE is the ambience. HSE has an interesting combination of very young employees I can easily get along with, and experienced professors with great professionalism. They are always ready to help patiently and attentively, moreover, I can see how hardworking they are. It makes me feel comfortable, as I am guided by great intelligent people.
I have chosen the program because of the wide range of subjects we take in the program allowing us to get a set of different skills that will make us better professionals. We learn Python for example which is very useful nowadays, at the same time we also learn how to make a public speech, how to create a CV and to use different methods to become a good researcher. Without any doubt, we are going to be skillful professionals with a wide range of capacities. That is what attracts me the most in this program.
This year I expect to gain tons of knowledge from all subjects, have more offline communication with my classmates and professors, and keep improving myself as a student and a person. From this year I especially expect to deepen my knowledge and improve my skills in how to do proper and very good research.
After graduating, I am going to take a master's program in journalism or diplomacy (I am still thinking) and I hope to find a job. I would like to move to Switzerland or Estonia and study and work there. It is important to get experience of living in different countries.
I like Russia very much. I have always been fascinated by its history and culture. The most difficult thing was the language, of course. I think it will always be challenging. The food is also quite different from my country’s cuisine. The weather was hard to adapt to as well, as in my native city the weather is always hot. Anyway, Russia has given me a wonderful experience, and the process of adapting was enjoyable as well.