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Together to New International Opportunities: A Look Back at International Partners Week 2019

This year's theme of the International Partners Week held this past May was ‘Nurturing Global Citizens for a Global World’. Participants gathered to discuss common issues that universities face in regard to internationalisation, exchange approaches to implementing the Global Citizens concept, visit the university’s facilities, acquaint HSE SPb students with universities overseas, and, of course, enjoy St Petersburg’s White Nights.

Learning from Each Other

More than thirty participants representing 23 universities and organisations from fifteen countries came to St Petersburg to learn more about HSE, establish new partnerships and discover perspectives for collaboration.

After arriving on May 20, the guests visited the University's buildings and dormitories to get an idea of the HSE campus in St Petersburg. 

The official opening of the event took place on May 21 with a plenary session. Prof Sergei Kadochnikov, Director of HSE University – St Petersburg, and Ivan Prostakov, Vice-Rector of HSE University, gave their welcome speeches, and Prof Maxim Khomyakov, Deputy Director of HSE University – St Petersburg, presented the ‘global strategy’ of the university. The session continued with a keynote speech by Dr Hans-Georg van Liempd (Tilburg University) devoted to the myths and reality of Global Citizenship. After lunch, participants joined case studies sections—Global Citizens through Mobility and Partnerships and Global Citizens through Internationalisation at Home. 

The first case study session gave way to a thoughtful discussion on how Global Citizens goals could be reached through developing mobility and partnerships. Colleagues from HSE University, University College London, King’s College London, Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, University of Mannheim, Thammasat University and IESEG School of Management discussed ways to further international partnerships.

‘This conversation has made clear that most universities acknowledge and appreciate the Global Citizens concept and employ a type of Global Engagement Strategy to foster international exposure of their students by promoting outbound mobility and developing partnerships,’ noted Konstantin Platonov, Director of the Centre for International Cooperation at HSE University – St Petersburg, who moderated the session.

Those strategies mainly address three issues which again seem to be common around the globe. But how do we manage the growing ecosystem of international partnerships and convert quantity into quality? How do we help students overcome fears and reluctance to leave their home countries? And where do we find financial resources to back up the rising costs of growing outbound mobility numbers?

The short answer could be that we have to concentrate on developing strategic partnerships and consortia rather than allocating resources across a vast field of superficial relations.

We must educate not only students but also their parents and our faculty about the benefits of the Global Citizen skill. 

We should look for fundraising opportunities both within and beyond our universities, at the national and international levels as well as in businesses that could become primary stakeholders and our strongest allies in developing the Global Citizen skill in university graduates,’ he continued.

‘After conversations with the people form HSE, we found out that we actually share a lot of things in common—in terms of values, goals and strategies. We built understanding and trust that we can go for collaboration,’ said Xiaowen Huang, Zhejiang University.

The second parallel session covered the topic of internationalisation at home and described instruments and approaches that are more effective in implementing this concept.  A vivid discussion stated that internationalisation at home is an integral part of university development strategies as it serves as an essential element of equipping students and staff members with Global Citizens skills.

Developing an International Student Strategy

Another event which has already become a tradition for the IPW was a workshop for student recruitment agencies.

The opportunity to meet partners from agencies face-to-face and learn more about their approaches, as well as the demands of international students they represent, is of crucial importance for us.

I am sure that this practice is beneficial for the process of international admissions here at HSE University – St Petersburg’, said Marina Sannikova, Director of the Centre for International Education at HSE University – St Petersburg.

On May 22, all participants attended the activities of another annual international event held at the university—the international conference ‘Education and Global Cities’. The day started with a plenary session ‘International Education: New Approaches to the University Partnership’ which included the speeches and presentations by Juan Manuel Mora, Vice Rector of Communication, University of Navarra, Mark Sudbury, Head of Global Network Development, World 100 Reputation Network, Alan Ferns, Associate Vice President for External Relations and Reputation, University of Manchester, Kirsti Lehmusto, Director of Communications, University of Helsinki, Christopher Gerry, Dean of St Anthony’s College at University of Oxford and other renowned experts.

Introducing International Experience

The representatives of fourteen universities emphasised that the Student Fair was a chance to meet HSE SPb students and introduce them to their institutions.

The students jumped at the chance to ask questions about full-degree and exchange programmes.

HSE SPb mobility coordinators also took part in the event, telling students about the peculiarities of the run-up to exchange studies, as well as the possibilities of getting financial support. 

‘The partnership between XJTLU and HSE University – St Petersburg has only been in place less than a year but it is off to a brilliant start, and already this Autumn, the first students of our university will go there for an exchange,’ noted Konstantin Platonov.

‘We haven’t started our exchange with HSE yet. But it was a great opportunity to let students know that we will be partners in the future’, said Chayanee Chawanote, Thammasat University.

Networking in Action

Throughout the event all the participants enjoyed the opportunity to network and hold meetings with colleagues.

‘Our university has just started to work with HSE University – St Petersburg, and I am sure that this event will give occasion for future cooperation,’ notes Pierre Barthélemy from Université Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne. 

It was nice to meet and be introduced to your other partners, and to learn what they have been doing in the same fields. 

‘I would like to seek potential cooperation opportunities with other schools. This was a very great platform for us to communicate and exchange information, to promote our programmes and attract students,’ said Yuting Huang, Zhejiang University.

'My main expectation was that I would get to know colleagues from HSE. I also wanted to get an understanding of what it is like to participate in staff mobility and see where the value of staff mobility lies, because I promote staff mobility at King's,’ noted Hannah Qurashi of King's College London.

HSE University – St Petersburg’s team met with Stuart Perrin, Dean for International Affairs at XJTLU, to discuss further development of exchange programmes between two universities through summer schools, semester mobility, and other Global Citizens projects. XJTLU is an international joint venture university located in China offering excellent opportunities for students interested in Chinese Studies, Doing Business in China.

There is a very high demand for mobility programmes with China—primarily from students of the Bachelor's programme ‘Oriental Studies’ (the key feature of which is a year fully dedicated to an internship, and the university has been striving to provide students with the opportunity of completing their internships in first-class foreign universities in the region) and the Master’s programme ‘Business and politics in Modern Asia’.

The potential of widening collaboration with the Master’s programme ‘Applied and Interdisciplinary History “Usable Pasts”’ was discussed at the meeting with the University of Helsinki.

International Partner’s Week 2019 has established the new exciting prospects for international collaboration at HSE University – St Petersburg. ‘

The International Partners Week provides a great opportunity for networking—we basically know our partners by email, but when we meet in person our communication moves to a new level. 

During the IPW we not only showcases the university’s facilities and opportunities but connected our partners with each other by organising case studies sessions, cultural immersions and peer-to-peer communication,’ said Julia Shushkova, Coordinator for the Development of International Cooperation at HSE University – St Petersburg.