An Excellent Opportunity to Study, Work and Live
HSE student Bogdan Druzhnyy asked Claire to tell us about her experiences in HSE and Moscow.
Why did you choose the HSE double degree master’s programme ‘International Relations in Eurasia’ ?
Actually, I studied Russian in high school and all during my undergraduate studies, and whenever possible, I tried to focus on Russia and the CIS region. Before graduating I realized that I`d never actually been to Russia, and if I wanted to become a specialist on Russian issues, it would be useful to spend some time in the country. That programme happened to be the best opportunity
What are your impressions after studying in our university?
The classes were theoretical, so I think it was a good thing that we had to do an internship. I wouldn`t have minded if it could have been longer, but that combination – yes, it was good.
Dr. Maksim Bratersky was my dissertation supervisor. He was always very helpful and open to answer any questions, and that was also really good. His lectures on security issues were high level. It was interesting to listen to HSE professors and compare their opinions to my professors in France and England where I studied before coming to Moscow.
It’s an excellent programme overall.
Are there any differences between the education evaluation systems in Russia and Great Britain?
The general part of the programme is more or less the same in Russia and England. I mean that both programmes have classes and essays, and essays are used instead of exams.
Did you have any difficulties in cross-cultural communication in Moscow?
All my friends in Russia had already lived abroad. We were openminded enough when we got to Russia to accept life here as it was and not try to impose our vision. We managed to adapt to the Russian way of life, though some aspects of life were very new to all of us at the beginning. All our programmes were in English and everybody spoke English in HSE, so we didn`t need a good level of Russian language. For some of my classmates it was a problem to get around the city in the beginning, as they didn’t know a word of Russian. I spoke Russian, so I was more or less okay. It was also nice to have a room just for one person in the dorm.
Russians are really helpful, nice and eager to share anything with you when you get to know them and communicate.
Did you have an opportunity to travel around Russia?
I travelled a lot although more during my Master’s than now. I had more free time and could adapt my schedule when needed. I went to St. Petersburg, then I visited Kazan, Yaroslavl, and Vladimir. With a couple of friends from the programme, we went on the Transmongolian – we spent a week at Lake Baikal, then went by train to Ulan-Bator, saw the Gobi desert, then went on to Beijing and spent a week there. Then we flew back to Moscow.
You decided to make a career in Moscow after graduating from HSE and are now working in investment banking. How is it going?
I signed my contract the summer after I finished my programme. I have a 2 year contract now with the French company BNP Paribas. These last two years have been a great experience and a huge boost in my career (I hope!) as I now have a pretty good level of Russian. Hopefully, I`ll find an opportunity that keeps me in touch with Russia, and of course, I’ll come back to visit what I didn’t have time to see!
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