The Faculty of Communications, Media and Design is one of the most popular faculties at the Higher School of Economics. Today we have more than 5 thousand students. In the international QS ranking in the communications and media subject area, the HSE is ranked among the leading universities in Russia, and in the Art and Design category HSE became the best Russian university and entered the top 200 international universities.
Our faculty is one of the largest centers for training specialists in the creative industries: it brings together the best teachers and curators from among practicing professionals, talented students and successful graduates who work in leading russian and world companies or create their own startups.
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Our “first hero” for today is Adrien Balland – Delrieu, who came from Toulouse, France. Here he studies mostly International Relations, Political Sciences and Sociology.
— Why have you decided to come to HSE, Russia?
— In my university, we have to do an exchange or an internship during one year. I studied Russian there. So, I took the opportunity to improve my language skills. I had to choose between different university in Russia and HSE was the better one with a large diversity of courses.
— What were your fears about Russia? Did you have any stereotypes about Russia/Russian students when you decided to study here? Which of them turned out to be true, and which - false?
— I was afraid about my integration mostly and administrative difficulties for my Visa. About stereotypes, we used to consider Russians as very cold, not very open and I thought that I would have a big cultural shock. By the way, the international student office helped me with administrative matters. So, the cultural shock was not so big. Then, the stereotype about Russians was only partially true because at the beginning we were more between exchange students only but now I met some Russian friends.
— Is it difficult to live in living conditions which you have now? What is unusual for you, what is surprising or problematic?
— The first point is that I live one hours from the university by metro, whereas in Toulouse I live at 15 minutes by feet. The second point is that some faculties are far from each other and some days, I spend more time in metro than in courses. The third point is changes in the schedule, especially between the two modules. It’s very problematic, when we don’t study in only one program, because we have sometimes two/three courses at the same times. Finally, some teachers seem to don’t really pay attention to exchange students; in some courses, we feel like everything was organise at the administrative level but not at the learning/ educational level.
— Do you have favourite places in Moscow?
— Not really, usually I spend a lot of time around Lubyanka(the square in the centre of Moscow , near the Red Square, is known for the fact that here was the main building of the state security organs of the USSR) - but I like just walk in Arbat (the Arbat is a pedestrian street about one kilometer long in the historical centre of Moscow) or spend time around Patriarch's Ponds ( a big pond surrounded by a wide footpath with benches).
— Do you participate in any international student organizations that HSE creates for better adaptation of foreign students?
— I had a buddy at ESN (Erasmus Student Network is a non-profit international student organisation) and I participate to some of their events.
— How long have you got used to life in Moscow?
— I’m here for one year. There is be not so much differences with France only one-two hours. Then, yes Moscow is maybe a little bit too big for me, especially because we should spend a lot of time in transports. I miss Toulouse for that. About languages, the main problem is that outside of the university no so much people speaks English, even at the passport control office in the airport. About food, I like the Russian one, even if some French dishes miss me.
— Do you study Russian? How much the level of language has improved since the moment you came to Russia?
— Yes, I study Russian language. I have improved it but not as expected. I really wanted a level C1-C2 and the end of the years but I think it will be difficult now. By the way, I took a too low level during the first semester and I didn’t spend so much time talking with Russians. It better now, for the second semester.
— Would you like to stay in Russia after graduation? If yes, what would you like to do in Russia?
— If I have to stay in Russia, it will be maybe more in spring-summer, because I spend all the winter here and I will have to leave the country at the beginning of summer vacations. It was very hard to visit in winter because of the weather and there I missed a lot sun! So, yes, I can do some summer universities or only trips.