Sharing HSE International Community Is Incredible

Flor Juan Pablo, student in Contemporary Jouralism from Bolivia shares his life and study at HSE.

Sharing HSE International Community Is Incredible

Please, tell us a bit about yourself and what you study at HSE.

Well, I’m studying for the Master in Contemporary Journalism at HSE. I started in September of 2023 in Moscow.

Why did you choose to study in Russia and why HSE in particular?

It was interesting because I’m from Bolivia, and Bolivia has good relationships with Russia. I tried to get some scholarships from the European Union and Russia as well. But Russia answered faster and gave me the visa much easier. And I already knew what kind of University it was, so I had no doubts. They have a good journalism program here, so it was like the perfect combination for me.

What were you doing before you came to HSE?

I finished my bachelor’s degree in 2017. After that, I was working as a journalist in different areas. At first, I worked as a sport journalist. Then I worked on television:TV shows, live shows every day. We talked about the music in my city, in my country. We also discussed with politicians different aspects of the youth life, such as working for younger  people, their jobs, their rights and those kinds of topics. Then, I worked on the radio. This radio was just about music. We had good conversations about any kind of music. So it was a great experience.

Why did you decide to pause your job and return to school?

I just decided to stop because I wanted to continue my studies. I've always liked scientific investigation. And that was one reason I really wanted to go back to academia to do investigations. I feel like I needed more academic learning because I got kinds of experience in journalism, but I wanted to check how journalism works in other parts of the world. That’s why I try to find studies abroad. And also the the title of my master thesis is about how to get good opportunities with better payments.

How did you apply to HSE? What was the process like?

Well, in Bolivia, you have two choices. One is like a study abroad agency, I don’t know, but this business works. You give them money and they help you to get scholarships in Russia. But I didn’t go that way. I took the second option. I went to the embassy of Russia, and they gave me the address where I had to present my portfolio, like degrees, achievements, and so on. And I had to upload all of the documants to a web page. Then the officials checked if you had the skills to have the scholarship. So it was kind of a difficult process because they asked you for many papers which had to be legalized in many different ways. But I finished all of that in maybe one month with medical examinations and everything that they asked for. And then when you are on the platform, you can choose five different cities and five different universities. I obviously, put HSE from Moscow. And HSE chose me, so that was great and that’s why I was enthusiastic to come here to Russia.

Where do you live now? Can you tell us?

Right now I’m living in the university residence where we are all foreign students or Russian people from other cities. So I live with two roomies. This place I think is very good. I have to pay 2200 rubles every month. It’s good because I have a kitchen and my bathroom. They change our bed sheets every Friday. They have room service as well. So it’s very comfortable for me. The only thing that I don’t like is that I have to share the room with two other guys. It’s complicated sometimes, but things can be solved.

What has been the hardest part about studying and living in Moscow? What do you enjoy most?

The most challenging part was definitely the Russian language. I did one year of preparation and it wasn’t enough. I supposedly had B1, A-level in Russian, but I don’t think so. Because I’m still practicing and I don’t feel ready to have, for example, a complete lecture just in Russian with different terms and technical theorems. So I don’t think that one year of Russian is enough. And I’m still learning.

I adapt very well to the weather. I adapt very well to the university, to the people. I like to talk with people. So for me, I think that the funniest part was to meet people from every part of the world. It was so interesting to see other points of view about politics, religions, and other different kinds of ideas. There are very different people from China, from India, and even from North America. Some of them came from very different parts of Europe. So it’s very interesting to share this international student community. It opens your mind. And so it’s extremely good to have deep talks with a lot of students. That’s incredible. And also the teachers are good here. I like the education in HSE.

Are you satisfied with your study and life in Russia?

Definitely. I’m satisfied with what I receive from HSE educationally. Because there are some things that I already know, but here I can be deeply involved in that. I’m not working so I can make mistakes here. I still make mistakes. Also these last two months, I have been working on my term paper. And I talked a lot with my tutor about social affairs. It makes me feel more complete. In other words, it completes me theoretically talking. So that’s very interesting to talk about science in the social environment. And for practice, HSE is very good. I think all of us, we are in a good practice-theory-balanced enviroment. So I’m very happy with that.

Could you tell us more about your major?

As I said, I am majoring in Contemporary Journalism. For this major, there are three tracks: International news production, Data journalism, and Bussiness journalism. I chose International news production because I like to be the kind of journalist who talks with the society and who works for the society. I like these kinds of work. For me, it’s beautiful to learn, understand, and practice in an international way of doing journalism, not the local as I did. So that’s why I choose international news production.

But I realized that Data journalism will be the future. Because managing data, algorithms, and all these computational things, is very required in the works for the future. So I would like to choose data journalism, but it was in English and Russian which made me feel afraid. Now I’m very happy with international news production. It’s what I wanted and what I needed. But also I recommend to put data journalism in the future because data analysis and visualization are very required in the future’s work. Society needs this kind of profession as I see. And also this profession will get more money and more opportunities for sure.

Would you recommend HSE to other students in your country or other parts of the world? Any advice for them?

Totally I recommend to come to Russia, come to HSE. Everything is safe here in Moscow. I can do all the things that I want freely. So I highly recommend people to come to Russia because the idea of international exchange becomes bigger and more popular. I never experienced something like that. There are people from plenty of countries. And also HSE treats its students very well. Sometimes I feel like I am a priority under other Russian students. You will feel like you are secure and not abandoned.

And also for the study, I can’t talk about all the universities in Russia, but I can talk about HSE’s media department. It’s great. Here I see how TV works, how journalism works in papers and radio. And here they have all the necessary equipment to practice your abilities and skills, so you can practice all of these and make your achievements more easily. And also, I see that the professors in HSE are very good and very capable of giving the class. For other careers, I think that for humanitarian careers, HSE is the best in Russia. So study with scholarships in one of the best universities in Russia is perfect. Totally suggest people to come here and get out of their comfort zone, and try to learn new languages. That’s completely incredible!

Interview by

Jiale Hou