Being asked about the advantages of studying at HSE one can definitely name its diversity and international atmosphere. This September the HSE campus in Saint-Petersburg welcomed 50 new exchange students from all over the world. Thomas Murphy, a master exchange student from Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management shared some impressions of his life in Saint-Petersburg.
According to Mr. Murphy his life mostly revolves around the university canteen: the gastronomic mecca and the agora of student folk. A special preface from Mr. Murphy: "I just wanted to say it has always been my dream to be interviewed for the HSE website and I’ would like to dedicate this to all the doubters and the people who said I would never make it.
My name is Thomas Murphy. I live and study in Brussels, the capital of Belgium. It is a city that has always had the reputation of being somewhat quaint and boring. However, I feel that it has recently blown up and become a quite lively town. I am currently obtaining my masters in Economics at the Solvay School of Management and I came to Saint Petersburg for a semester. I am 23.
I applied to another university first, but they said no. But actually I am happy, because I went to visit my friend there and he looks really miserable, which made me happy.
I am very happy with the food, it is very cheap. I should probably mention culture, right… But honestly to me that what it has all been about – good cheap food. I am planning on trying borsch, cause my father calls me every couple weeks being like: “Have you had borsch yet?”, so I need to have borsch so that he leaves me alone.
I absolutely adore the canteen. I do not have the vocabulary to express how great the canteen is. Honestly, every day I find a reason to come to university. This is part of why I am doing this [interview] - I need something to get me to university just for the canteen.
People are also really nice here in Saint-Petersburg. At home if there is a foreign exchange student or just a foreigner, I just want them out of my way. But here they’re like “Where are you from”. In the line in the cafeteria, you have random people helping you and then wanting to eat with you. Everyone has been way friendlier than I have ever been to anybody so that made me reconsider my behaviour back home".
We wish Thomas a great time in Saint Petersburg and hope he will discover many more exciting aspects of Russian life.