‘Taking part in an exchange programme and studying abroad, being intimate with another culture and getting the chance to experience others’ cultures is every student’s wish,’ said Yiğit. ‘I also wanted to take that challenge, but my only option was to come to Moscow since HSE also has an agreement with University of London for my study programme.’
Both Süleyman and Ekimhan decided to be exchange students because they wanted to learn about different cultures, especially Russian culture, learn a new language and make new friends, but they point to the education as the biggest advantage of the programme, despite how difficult it is compared to what they were used to previously.
‘I knew that HSE is an important school for economics and that there is a partnership between HSE, Istanbul Bilgi University and University of London,’ says Ekimhan. ‘But I knew I would have difficulty because the lectures are harder than in Istanbul. It was really hard at first, but I got used to it. I’m doing homework two or three times a week. The education is more intense than it is in Istanbul.’
Süleyman agrees, adding that while at Istanbul Bilgi University, their professors teach everything deeply, at HSE they show how to learn and study. That said, he does recommend adding breaks to what he feels are long lectures; he also recommends that foreign students spend more time learning Russian before coming.
Life in Moscow
While Yiğit says that life in crowded and chaotic Istanbul prepared him for Moscow, his time here hasn’t come without challenges, although he credits the HSE Buddies who welcomed him with easing the transition.
‘The most difficult thing was certainly the language, but by practicing I somehow managed to overcome it,’ he said. ‘Also, getting used to the weather and climate was really difficult, since I saw only six minutes of sunshine in all of December.’
All three students note the wide variety of ways to spend free time as a big advantage to living in Moscow. They mention that the museums and concerts are particularly appealing, and talk about other ways to spend time with friends.
‘I participated in the basketball tournament at HSE Day, and also play football in the Secondary Football League of HSE, for the team ESN,’ says Yiğit.
Yiğit adds that apart from the benefits of getting to know the language and culture, living and studying in Russia has broadened his vision and changed the way he perceives life. He also credits living in the international students' dorm, where he has met a lot of people and made good friends form various cultures.
Ekimhan echoes the sentiment about the dorm. ‘I’m staying at dorm 5, and we have really good friendships here, especially on the third floor. The third floor of dorm 5 is the best!’ he exclaims.
For others considering coming to Russia, the students would recommend that they not be overly sceptical or cautious about coming to Moscow – that they should be open to every new experience since people are formed by what they have been through.
‘In addition to focusing on their work and studies, they should try to enjoy every second,’ Yiğit says.
Anna Chernyakhovskaya, specially for HSE News service
Interview on HSE portal >>