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The Value of Opportunities

Director of HSE University Saint Petersburg, Sergey Kadochnikov, spoke to us about the value of study abroad experiences and how students can benefit from participating in international exchange programmes.

On February 1, applications were opened for the International Mobility Programmes. Students from HSE University Saint Petersburg traditionally express a lot of interest in international exchange programmes. However, at Q&A sessions held by the Centre for International Cooperation, we have noticed that a lot of students are not aware of just how valuable studying abroad can be. Director of HSE University Saint Petersburg, Sergey Kadochnikov, shared his study abroad experiences with us.

- Sergey Mikhailovich, tell me more about your study abroad experiences. How have they influenced your life and your career path?

My study abroad experience was in Germany, where I did a masters in international economy in one of the loveliest German cities, Konstanz. It is situated on the shore of Lake Constance, the biggest lake in the south of the Federal Republic of Germany. This city has a fantastic university (Konstanz University), and its faculty of economics is consistently ranked among the top 5 in the country. This experience has significantly influenced my academic career. It has affected my academic interests, as well as my understanding of academic life in a modern international university: how a professor’s or a researcher’s career is built; how students choose their fields of study; how they use various career services provided by the university, and much more. During my studies, I also worked as a teaching assistant in a science centre affiliated with the university. Not only did this help me to support myself financially, it was also incredibly useful for my studies, because the research projects I was involved in were very closely connected to the topics we were covering in the courses. It’s not all about the studying, though. In addition to the German students (who made up the majority), our Master’s course also had students from Norway, Denmark, Bolgaria, France, Italy and the USA. We spent a lot of time together, discussing our Master’s theses, travelling together, sunbathing on the famous beaches of Lake Constance, and drinking German beer. It was absolutely fantastic!

- What skills does a student acquire while studying abroad?

There are many simple things, such as figuring out your everyday life abroad- public transportation, grocery shopping, signing a long-term rental agreement. All these basic skills can be acquired while studying abroad for semester or a year. And these are all important aspects of what is called intercultural communication. One of the biggest benefits for undergraduate students who study abroad is the opportunity to get more information about the graduate programmes offered at the university or in the country where they are doing the exchange. It is a very important experience, and it is quite hard to get this information anywhere else.

- What can a student who has studied abroad offer prospective employers?

Students who have studied abroad and who want to work for an international company, a company that works with foreign partners on a regular basis, has international contracts or participates in international events will have significant advantages over all other applicants. The candidate who has a study abroad experience has a much better chance of being employed. The same applies to international services and departments of many other organizations, for example, committees or ministries of regional governments. Moreover, individuals who have lived abroad are perceived by prospective employers to be flexible and highly adaptable. This is a very valuable quality in our rapidly changing world.
You can learn more about exchange opportunities, scholarships and the application process, and send in your application via our StudyAbroad portal.

What can a student who has studied abroad offer prospective employers[J1] 

 [J1]I think they meant employers?