The Best Destination to Enrich Your Cultural World

Enes Elbüz, an international student from Turkey, shares his intercultural communication experience in HSE.

The Best Destination to Enrich Your Cultural World

Photo by Redd F on Unsplash

Many foreign students are facing difficulties being away from home: different mentality, traditions, and customs. It is also hard to be separated from your family while celebrating such events like New Year (especially like Lunar one as it is not a traditional part of the Russian culture), Christmas or national holidays of a foreign student’s motherland. HSE University provides all the students with the authentic atmosphere, food and decorations during different festivals of peoples of the world to take a small journey back home. Such events are made by students for students and appeal for unity, cultural exchange and raise of the community spirit. In today's article we will explore what these events are like according to our guest’s experience.

Enes Elbüz,

Master’s Programme "Politics. Economics. Philosophy"

Hi, Enes! Introduce yourself in a few words, please.

My name is Enes and I am from Turkey. I am currently studying at the Faculty of Social Sciences, Master’s Programme "Politics. Economics. Philosophy".

How long have you been here in Russia already? Have you experienced any difficulties meeting people or making friends?

It has been four months since I came to Russia. We have almost sixty students in our program. I met with many people from my program and from outside of it, as well. The main problem for me is the language barrier, of course.

HSE is known for its extra curriculum activities. Did you visit any non-academic events provided by HSE?

Yes, I have been to several events. Among them are:

  • Tandem Meetings. We gather together (Russians and international students as well) and practice the languages such as English, Russian, Spanish and so forth. While doing this we also have a chance to know different cultures and to meet new people. It is definitely the most enjoyable way to practice a language.
  • HSE Unity Fest - an event in which representatives from some countries as Azerbaijan, Armenia, Kazakhstan and some regions inside Russia (Tatarstan, The Chechen Republic and others) presented their cultures by their traditional costumes, foods, songs and amazing dance performances.
  • Trip to Tula City by ‘ESN’ Moscow. There are many sights to see and stories to explore almost every point in Russia. So, on this trip to Tula, I tasted some delicious Russian foods like Sırniki and Tula's famous ginger bread and then we visited the Tula Kremlin. The most interesting part of the trip was visiting Leo Tolstoy's house in Yasnaya Polyana. It's One of the unforgettable memories for me to visit the house of one of the greatest writers and whose works I have read before a lot.
  • New Year party by Ekstra. We welcomed the year of 2023 in the most amusing way. We enjoyed many music and dance performances in the Cultural Centre of HSE. That night went along with parties, photoshooting and endless fun.
  • New Year's celebration by ‘InsideOut’ of The World Economy and International Affairs Faculty.
  • Orchestra Night. My friends and I were amazed by HSE's orchestra that night. We had a chance to refresh ourselves after a tough and busy week. They performed many great pieces including my favourite one - Hans Zimmer's Interstellar.

So, both in Moscow and particularly in HSE, you can find many activities and events  to relieve the stress of the week, learn something new, get to know new people or explore new cultures. 

Which event did you like most?

In general, everything was great. Particularly, in large-scale events (like HSE Unity Fest), shows and dance performances are fascinating. All the activities were well-designed, the atmosphere and activities were fruitful and very joyful.

For example, during the HSE Unity Fest I had a chance to learn about other cultures. It was a really good experience to see dances, folklores, traditional costumes and foods of different cultures. During the New Year's celebration at the International Affairs Faculty I met students who were interested in Turkey and Turkish culture. It was a nice experience to speak with them in my native language and discuss Turkish history. Also, during all these events, I met many Russian and international students.

Can you agree with the statement that such events give students opportunities to improve their soft skills, break language barrier or simply find new acquaintances?

I totally agree with this statement. Luckily, we have many such kinds of events in our University, almost every week. I look forward to participating in these events, at odd times to meet new people, to know new cultures etc.

Where do you get information about the events? What sources can you recommend to other students to keep updated about new activities in HSE?

To be honest, I am not very active in VK. So, I get informed about the events through either telegram channels or mails.

How can you describe your experience in general?

I always knew that HSE is one of the best universities in Russia and I am pleased with the work they do in providing help to international students to adjust to new environment by organizing extra events, where students with different backgrounds meet, learn about new cultures and make friends. 

Interview by

Arina Buntova