Dive into the world with HSE St. Petersburg: The Power of International Mobility

HSE University in the picturesque city of St. Petersburg, is an institution that actively promotes and encourages international mobility among its students. This is your golden ticket to a myriad of cultures, diverse educational systems, and a treasure trove of transformative, unforgettable experiences.

Dive into the world with HSE St. Petersburg: The Power of International Mobility

Today we set sail on an enlightening voyage with two brave HSE students who dared to step outside their comfort zones. These adventurous spirits from the "Sociology and Social Informatics" HSE program will share a slice of their life, their motivations, expectations, hurdles, and triumphs, and reveal how their global exposure has moulded them, personally and professionally.

Get inspired by their riveting stories and discover how you too can embark on your own transformative journey with HSE!

The Tale of Two Travelers: Unraveling the Joys of International Exposure

Immerse yourself in their riveting narratives and discover how you, too, can embark on your own life-changing journey with HSE!

In this article, you will find:

  • A World Unveiled: Personal Stories That Inspire
  • Your Guide to the Globe: Practical Advice from Those Who've Been There
  • The Rewarding Journey: Insights Into the Benefits of International Mobility

Now, let's delve into an interview with a student who had the unique experience of studying both in Hungary and Kazakhstan.

Eva Lisina, Sociology and Social Informatics, 4th grade bachelor

Eva, what motivated you to participate in the international mobility program?

The allure of different cultures and languages has always fascinated me, and I regarded the international mobility program as an incredible opportunity to broaden my horizons and gain a deeper understanding of the world. The prospect to study in two such diverse and culturally rich countries as Hungary and Kazakhstan was simply too irresistible to pass up!

What were your expectations before going abroad?

Before setting foot abroad, I expected to be challenged both academically and personally. The prospect of immersing myself in new cultures, meeting and interacting with people from all corners of the globe excited me. I also hoped to improve my language skills and gain a fresh perspective on my studies.

How did you find the application process and support from the university?

The application process was straightforward, well-organized, and efficient. The university provided excellent support throughout every step of the process. I received detailed information about the programs, visa processing, and accommodation options, and I was always able to contact the international office for help and advice.

What were the biggest challenges you faced during your mobility?

The most significant challenge was undoubtedly adapting to the different cultures and languages. In Hungary, I had to learn Hungarian from scratch, which was a daunting task but also a rewarding and enriching experience. In Kazakhstan, the cultural differences were more pronounced, and it took me some time to adjust and adapt to the local customs and traditions.

What were the most rewarding aspects of your experience?

The most rewarding aspects of my experience were undoubtedly the personal and academic growth I underwent. I became more independent, confident, and adaptable. I also gained a deeper understanding of different cultures and perspectives, which has broadened my horizons and made me a more well-rounded individual.

How has your international mobility experience impacted your personal and professional development?

My international mobility experience has had a profound and lasting impact on my personal and professional development. It has instilled in me a greater confidence in my ability to communicate and collaborate with people from different cultures. I am also more open-minded and adaptable, and I am always eager to learn new things. These skills and attributes will undoubtedly prove invaluable in my future career.

What advice would you give to students considering participating in international mobility?

I would highly encourage all students to consider participating in international mobility. It is a truly amazing opportunity to learn and grow, both personally and professionally. Be open to new experiences, embrace challenges, and make the most of your time abroad. You will not regret it!

What were some of the similarities and differences between the two cultures?

Hungary and Kazakhstan are both very welcoming countries with rich cultures and histories. However, there are also some significant differences. Hungary is a member of the European Union, while Kazakhstan is a Central Asian country. This difference is reflected in the languages, religions, and customs of the two countries.

Did you learn any new languages during your time abroad?

Yes, I learned Hungarian and Kazakh during my time abroad. Learning a new language is a challenging but rewarding experience. It allows you to connect with people on a deeper level and to gain a better understanding of the culture.

What advice would you give to students who are considering studying in multiple countries?

My advice to students who are considering studying in multiple countries is to be open-minded and adaptable. Each country has its own unique culture and customs. It is important to be respectful of these differences and to be willing to learn and adapt.

Every now and then, an individual might find a deep and unexpected connection with a foreign country. For example, Aygul, an adventurous soul who once had the opportunity to visit Istanbul through a mobility program, felt a magnetic pull towards the vibrant city that she couldn't resist. The allure was so strong that she decided to return for another semester. After immersing herself in the culture, traditions, and daily life of the city for an entire year, Aygul developed an intimate understanding of Turkey, its education system and societal norms. Today, Aygul generously shares her knowledge and provides insider information about the country, her personal experiences, shedding light on the nuances of Turkish culture, education, and lifestyle. Her story is a testament to the transformative power of travel and cultural immersion.

Aygul Akhmetova, Sociology and Social Informatics, 4th grade bachelor

What were your impressions of Turkish culture and society?

Turkish culture and society left a profound impact on me during my mobility in Turkey. The richness of Turkey's historical heritage and the vibrancy of its cultural traditions were truly captivating. From exploring Istanbul's diverse neighborhoods to participating in cultural events, I found myself immersed in a dynamic and multifaceted society that was both fascinating and welcoming.

How did you find the language barrier?

Initially, the language barrier posed some challenges, as I was not fluent in Turkish. However, I decided to take proactive steps to overcome it by enrolling in Turkish language courses offered by the university. Learning basic Turkish significantly eased my interactions with locals and enhanced my overall experience in the country. It was incredibly rewarding to see my language skills improve over time and to engage more deeply with Turkish culture as a result.

Did you have any difficulties adjusting to the academic system in Turkey?

Yes, there were some differences between the academic system at my home university and Boğaziçi University. For example, the emphasis on certain disciplines and the teaching methods varied between the two institutions. While it took some time to adapt to these differences, I approached the challenge with an open mind and a willingness to learn. Ultimately, I found that embracing the unique aspects of the Turkish academic system enriched my educational experience and broadened my perspective.

What were some of the highlights of your time in Turkey?

There were so many highlights during my time in Turkey! Exploring Istanbul's iconic landmarks, such as the Princes' Islands and the diverse neighborhoods, was truly memorable. I also cherished the opportunity to immerse myself in Turkish culture through music sessions in Kadıköy and other cultural events. Additionally, forming connections with fellow students and engaging in volunteer work added depth to my experience and allowed me to contribute to the local community. Overall, my time in Turkey was filled with enriching experiences and meaningful interactions that I will always treasure.

In conclusion, the international mobility programs at HSE St. Petersburg provide students with unique experiences that foster personal and academic growth. By immersing themselves in different cultures, students gain a broader perspective of the world, develop new skills, and adapt to diverse environments. From learning new languages to overcoming cultural barriers, the challenges faced during these mobility experiences lead to lasting rewards.

The stories of Eva and Aygul serve as inspiring examples of the transformative power of these programs. Their experiences demonstrate the immense value of stepping out of comfort zones, embracing new cultures, and seeking out enriching opportunities for personal development.

So, if you're a student at HSE, consider embarking on your own international journey. The world is full of opportunities waiting to be seized. From the vibrant cityscapes of Istanbul to the cultural richness of Hungary and Kazakhstan, there is a world of experiences waiting for you. Make the most of your academic journey by exploring the world and broadening your horizons. The next chapter of your adventure awaits!

Interviews by Eva Lisina