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Regular version of the site

Shashlik or Dom Knigi? What Best Describes St. Petersburg HSE Summer School 2018

Another Summer School season has come to an end at HSE University St. Petersburg. Or hasn’t it?

The Summer School, a fairly new educational offering of HSE University – St. Petersburg, is already 3 years now and it has been significantly revamped this year.

The range of courses was broadened: more than 15 cross-disciplinary courses in various fields of study such as Economics and Finance, Management, Humanities, Social and Political Sciences, Data Analytics, Russian Studies were offered. The courses lasted from 1 to 2 weeks and gave students an opportunity to combine them.

There were longer programmes as well. For instance, the six-weeks programme 'Intensive Russian Language and Culture' was open to students of all levels of language proficiency. The programme provided an immersive experience for improving the language and getting to know Russia, its people and society. 

'IPSA – HSE Summer School in Concepts, Methods and Techniques in Political Science' (Academic Director Dmitry Goncharov) was carried out for the second year in a row. The programme is prepared together with the International Political Science Association (IPSA), and consists of several modules devoted to particular research methods – regression analysis, Bayesian statistics, qualitative comparative analysis, text analysis, etc. 

However, there is one longer programme ahead which went beyond the summer season – 'Topography of Imperial Power: Political and Cultural Space of Saint Petersburg' (from September, 11 till October, 2)*. This programme is organized by the Department of History (Academic Director Dietmar Wulff), and supported by the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service). 19 students from German universities are coming to St. Petersburg next week.

'The Summer School is an umbrella project that comprises different programmes and courses (modules). It means that students can combine courses to create tailored curricula,' explains Veronika
Denisova, the Summer School coordinator.

The attendees’ portrait looks very diverse in terms of country of origin and field of study. Almost 200 students from more than 30 countries participated in the Summer School 2018, which is twice the number  of participants the previous year. A wide variety of subjects that the participants study at their home universities includes Political Science, International Relations, European Studies, Russian and Slavonic Studies, Philology, Economics, Management, Marine Technology, Industrial Engineering, Informatics, and others.

Of course, every experience abroad is a chance to meet new people and expand your knowledge about different horizons and cultures. Nonetheless, I have to say my (rather long) stay at HSE allowed me to get to know very different people from different backgrounds, whether they worked for the Red Cross or studied ship building, from one side or another of the continent, all gathered here around a shared interest for Russia and its culture.

   Mathilde Garnier, France

Courses of the Summer School had a  practical focus, for instance, learning how to analyze marketability, or wrangle, analyzing and visualizing data, or scrutinizing policy and politics of the EU and the Russian Federation.

'As the business landscape is getting more and more complex, it was essential to provide students with practical skills to define and develop strategic possibilities and take advantage of doing international business,' says Tatiana Grishchenko, Associate Professor, the lecturer of one of the most popular modules, 'International Business: Challenges and Perspectives in a Turbulent World'.

It was really interesting, like the lecturer said, we would look at a kind of bigger picture, not pick out certain topics, to get an overview about what is happening in the international business

   Jonas Meisinger, Germany

In addition to the classes, the students had a chance to attend extracurricular activities, such as boat trips over the Neva River and its canals, excursions to the 'Russian Versailles' or Peterhof, and to the plant of Baltika Brewery, as well as other indoor and outdoor activities organized by the Summer School Office and the buddies from ESN section. 

I really like Saint Petersburg as a whole. It is such a great city, we only discovered a small part of it. I really like the metro stations and public transports because getting around town with the bus or the metro works quite good. Some beautiful sights, some beautiful rivers, and the only thing which is quite strange for us is that there is no city center with all the bars and restaurants. 

Maximilian Schmidt, Germany

'I believe that the Summer School reflects the very best of what St. Petersburg and HSE can offer together. Summertime in St. Petersburg is marvelous, and this year we were especially lucky to have a bunch of warm and sunny days. We have got positive feedback from many students, and some of them are thinking of going back to St. Petersburg to complete longer programmes or even full-degree studies here,' notes Ksenia Antoshko, the Summer School coordinator.

All in all, the Summer School is an opportunity to learn Russia, and to dive into the new education environment with people all over the world.

Last but not the least, we would like to thank all the international students who decided to spend their summer vacations with us, and to become part of HSE family. We do hope that they enjoyed their stay at HSE University – St. Petersburg.

We also appreciate students' feedback regarding the courses content, schedule, extracurricular activities, accommodation and other important things. This feedback will help us to be perfect.

They made an invaluable contribution in development of the Summer School, and we will do our best to improve it next summer.

We would like to express special gratitude to the volunteers among HSE students (also known as buddies) from ESN section who worked hard to provide help and organize social and cultural activities for the international students during the Summer School.

The application period for the Summer School 2019 will open in November 2019 at the latest. So, stay tuned!

Fast Facts&Figures (2018) 

Average temperature** 

Share of sunny days**

Pies eaten during the boat trips 

Student-to-buddy ratio

Countries represented by the participants 




Russian Language and Culture
(Irina Shchemeleva
International Business: Challenges and Perspectives in a Turbulent World
(Tatiana Grischenko
EU-Russia Relations Today
(Anna Decalchuk) 



* The large part of the Summer School 2018 programmes and courses lasted from July 16 till August 17.

** Calculations apply to the period from from July 16 till August 17. 

Dom Knigi, or the House of Books, is a famous bookstore, located in the centre of St. Petersburg in a beautiful building of Singer House.