HSE as a Social Circle

University life can be one of the most challenging periods for a student. However, campus life can become interesting when university authorities and students alike incorporate socials into academics.

HSE as a Social Circle

Qualitative academic excellence is the hallmark of all prestigious universities worldwide. However, impacting only top-notch academic knowledge cannot make a grounded individual. It should be emphasised that face to face as well as online socialization are important and they are a must to engage in while within the four walls of the university.

It is also important to note that both academic and social communications are requisites of contemporary outstanding universities in order to dish out graduates of impeccable quality that can fit into professional life. Scientifically, it is a proven fact that students who socialize in the universities with many friends and meaningful contacts, are less likely to become sad, lonely or experience sleeping or eating issues, or have low self-esteem. It is consequent upon this that HSE created a perfect blend of both social and academic environments on all her campuses. The unique social-academic environment created has made her graduates one of the most sort after in the employment market. This unique blend brings an amazing aura of comradeship, friendliness, internationalization and bonds among her students and graduates after leaving the institution physically, despite their different social backgrounds. In light of this, any potential student would be glad as the institution’s structure facilitates his/her institutionalization into societal professional institutions.

Thank God it is Friday or Happy Weekend.

Putting socialization into proper perspective the HSE way, the first and most important point is hang out among students particularly on weekends. When you hear HSE students whisper or scream silently: ‘(TGIF) Thank God it is Friday or Happy Weekend’, it typically means the time for unwinding and catching up at several fun spots in the cities of Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod and Perm. Hanging out with friends, class/school mates when the week days wind down is a tradition of HSE academic-social culture. Usually at these gatherings, undergraduates, postgraduates and other categories of scholars discuss trending topical issues over dishes of food and or glass of drinks. On a regular Friday or weekends, it has become a norm for HSE students to chill out in bars, pubs, cafes, restaurants, lounges and so on. Worthy of note however is that such hang outs are ideal venues for networking, meeting vital contacts and friends, sharing and getting important information, developing spectacular business ideas, securing juicy job offers, connecting with like minds not only for personal development but strategizing in furthering the HSE ideals such deciding to become buddies and ambassadors.

Amazingly, HSE doubles as a life moulding institution and a cultural/racial ‘melting pot’. This is evident as international and local students flow with ease while spending wonderful time together. Of prime importance is the mixture of languages of communication in these sort of gatherings. Students often switch from one language to another, it is common place to hear interchanging of Russian for English, to French, Chinese and Spanish while still speaking within the same context. This is a spectacular reflection of the unique (multi-ethnic/racial) international composition of HSE campuses all over Russia.

Excursions and trips are an integral part of HSE University life. Students across all works of life in undergraduate, graduate, exchange, non-degree and double degrees studies in all HSE campuses regularly go on educational trips and have fun together in several interesting destinations all over the Russia Federation. Local students together with tour guides and curators serve as pathfinders in an attempt for the students to discover the secret beauty of Russia. In this 2021/2022 academic year alone, which is still in its first semester, couple of educational tours have been held only in and around the Russian Federation. Because of Covid-19 restrictions in place in many countries in Europe and Asia, the students have not been able to undergo adventures to other countries as usually done in previous school calendar year. Some of such place organized by Erasmus Students Network (ESN) and other students’ bodies for educational visits are tours around the political capital of the Russian Federation- Moscow. This tour is important as getting to see Russia from the lenses of its administrative headquarters by foreign and local students would broaden their horizon. The Moscow trip was quite a revealing one which came after the city tour of St Petersburg which serves as the cultural capital of the vast country. The tour around St Petersburg was necessary to familiarise both the new and old students with the city and its important places such as bus/train stations, cafes/restaurants and bars, libraries and museums, HSE campuses and hostels and the numerous St Petersburg’s waterways was explored through an amazing boat cruise party.

A historic visit was also organised to Veliky Novgorod regarded as the cradle of ancient Russia. This visit was to expose students to the traditional way of Russian life and many foreign students cherished the visit including students from partner universities such as, University College London (UCL). Vyborg was another fabulous tour destination for HSE students this semester. A romanticized visit to the medieval castle of Vyborg and its surroundings took the students hundreds of years back in time-travel. The magnificent tower of Vyborg was quite an important historical edifice for students of history, art, politics and the likes for their academic benefits.

Networking is another core ingredient of HSE social life.

Networking is another core ingredient of HSE social life. As already been said earlier that this world renowned educational citadel is not just famous for its academic quality, it also doubles as a social incubator to develop an all-round graduate to fit into the global ever dynamic society. New students are regularly introduced to older colleagues/students upon their arrival in the institution, this ritual is carried out to help the newbies settle in properly on campus, securing juicy jobs, have the right contact, and help with academic challenges by acting as guides and making friends. The buddy program is one success story of HSE as newly admitted foreign students are assigned a buddy who in most cases are senior local students or foreign students with a good command of the Russian language and familiarity with the host city of the HSE campus.

Buddies in HSE make academic and social life a marvellous blend that new students instantly feel at home. Buddies render different sort of assistance from the foreign student’s home to Russia. Networking takes place in cafes, restaurant, bars, and lounges and sometimes in the form of picnics organised by the sea sides. Sometimes it is done unwind from the academic rigours of HSE and the hustle and bustle of the cities and how to manoeuvre to make life on campuses much more fun. Students’ bodies are part and parcel of the HSE tradition also. There are numerous students’ organisations that cater from academics, social, health, sport, scholarships, music, arts and culture, dance and travel and so on. However, some of these organisations are general in nature as they concern the general wellbeing of the students. There are clubs such as HSE contemporary dance club where students learn how to dance different kinds of dance from every continent of the world in order to keep the body and soul afloat. There is also HSE music club for music lovers in all campuses of the institution where talents are natured and built in the music industry. Lovers of music for the fun of it also spend quality time here. There are also numerous language clubs for speakers and learners of these languages. Since language is part of the global sphere, language clubs are essential part of our institution. French, Russian, Chinese and Spanish languages clubs among others are rooted here. Erasmus Students Network and HSE Council are about two most important students’ bodies in HSE. They are concerned with the general wellbeing of HSE students. They organise trips, seminars and also seek to balance the life of students from different perspectives.

Erasmus Students Network and HSE Council are about two most important students’ bodies in HSE.

It is undisputable that university life may be one of the most challenging periods of a student’s life, due to academic rigour. However, the infusion of basic social elements can relieve stress, anxiety and make the study period an enjoyable one. Social interactions such as going on excursions and educational trips, belonging to clubs, hanging out with friends, and maintaining meaningful contacts among others are fluids that are injected into what may lead to academic friction by the HSE institutional structure. These are included in the HSE academic environment in order to cushion the effect of high academic demands of the university.  As professional life is not based solely on academic but also team work. Team work is an essential in every organization as everybody work together to achieve common organizational objectives. This important skill is acquired by socializing in the universities through meeting new people, sharing wonderful ideas, belonging to university social networks/circles and learning new cultures. All these aforementioned promote sense of wellbeing, inclusion, safety and create bonds among students of HSE.  

As the social life of HSE students is in retrospect, we have clearly seen that social life is more appreciable and brings about numerous benefits to the students. As practised in many world class universities, which HSE is not an exception, maximum output of academic excellence and meeting job demands particularly in the social sphere are one of the results of a proper blend of academics and socials by HSE. The cosmopolitan nature of her campuses all over Russia couldn’t prevent such mighty achievement as the university authorities laid the foundation and the students are determined to mould themselves into a unique breed that are coveted in the ever dynamic and competitive international labour market.

Text by

Taofik Alabi