International Master Students on Their Experience at HSE University and Sorbonne
First year Applied Economics master student
Joseph Naquentera, from Ghana, currently in Moscow, a first-year student of the Master’s program Applied Economics at HSE University finds out from recent dual degree program graduates what was their experience at Sorbonne University master’s studies. Joseph is to find out from the Faculty of Economic Sciences graduates ‘2020 how their master dual degree programs turned out. Namely: How did they get scholarship to study in France; what are the main differences in study at HSE University and Sorbonne; which master courses from HSE University were helpful to study in Sorbonne; how studies during the pandemic were organized; thesis defense in Sorbonne and HSE University and their future plans.
Joseph talks to Rifat from Uzbekistan, and Kamila from Russia, both Applied Economics, Margarita from Russia, Economics Research Program, and Andjelija from Serbia, Financial Markets and Financial Institution master programs' graduates about their experience and takeaways from HSE University and Sorbonne Pantheon Paris 1 University
00:00 Introduction and master programs
9:00 Differences and similarity in programs at HSE University and Sorbonne
21:01 COVID 19 and study
42:55 Future plans
Economics: Research Program '2020 alumna
Currently, I work at HSE University, as a research assistant at the Institute of Education. Also, I teach advanced econometrics and statistical methods. I’m planning to apply for a Ph.D. this year, so next year I can start my Ph.D. in Russia or in Europe. I was very tired at end of the second year of my master’s, it was about six years of continuing study. Now, I have a little break from studying and I think that I miss it a little bit, so I want to continue.
Margarita, currently in Moscow, has her bachelor’s degree from HSE University Faculty of Economic Sciences Economics and Statistics bachelor program and started Economics: Research program for her master’s at HSE University. For her second-year, she did a Dual Degree program between HSE University and Joint program between Paris 1, Pantheon-Sorbonne and Paris School of Economics, Analysis and Policy in Economics, research program. Margarita received the Eiffel scholarship, a French government scholarship. The application deadline is in November and awards are announced in March. To apply one needs a motivation letter, recommendation letters, cv, tests, and bachelor’s degree and transcript. Waiting can be a little stressful because until March you do not know if you get funding or not. Academically, being a research program, it is the same as HSE University Economics Research Program, the courses are quite similar: advanced micro econometrics, economics of education, as well as there are a lot of elective courses. Margarita chose a course in Social interactions and a course in Economics of well-being.
It was really a challenge for us, but it helped us to develop ourselves and broaden our minds. Allows you to learn a lot about yourself and about other cultures. I think it's very important to try to study one year abroad to help you in the future.
Applied Economics '2020 alum
In Paris, not everyone speaks English so, that was a major challenge. None of us had a perfect level of the French language. This is one of the reasons that it was hard to get the highest grade, even if you know a lot and can show your best in French, Professors will not give you the highest grade so, instead of 20 you just get 17 or 16.
In Sorbonne, at the Public policy program, most of the courses are dedicated to public policy and interactions, regulations, or analysis of the firm. Since my main interest was in microeconomics and especially micro econometrics and there were a few courses that were very interesting to me. Besides, I decided to go to the Paris School of Economics and take additional courses in micro econometrics. Interestingly they just allowed me to do so, didn’t say you are from another University and not allowed to go to our courses, they just said OKay. This is very interesting.
Rifat, a former international student at HSE, currently in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, graduated from HSE University and applied to the Applied Economics master program and studied the second year in Sorbonne at master’s program Public Policy taught in French, the same as Kamilla. Since Rifat himself is an international student he could not apply for scholarship programs for Russian nationals. He still applied to the Eiffel scholarship program, same as Margarita did, but did not receive it. So, before going he was confused whether he should go or whether he could afford to live in Paris. But it ended that HSE University and Sorbonne gave him Erasmus+ scholarship and that was very cool because the amount of money Erasmus+ scholarship provides is enough to live in Paris and to have a very social and fulfilled life there.
I would advise anyone to apply for this kind of different programs that they are not familiar with, don't be scared just try yourself because we just went there without deep knowledge of the French language. So, we were not as prepared for life but even within that context, I think we managed with that problem. so, though we didn't receive very high grades as we expected it was a great experience. even in that situation where you are not fluent in a foreign language.
Financial Markets and Financial Institutions '2020 alumna
Bureaucracy was horrible. Everything you had to wait for so long, but everything else was very nice. The city is beautiful, people are very relaxed and very outgoing. I think it's something typical to French people - they are very relaxed.
Systems are very different, and the approach of professors is very different. I would say that it is easier to study in Paris than in Russia, but in Paris, we had like 13 courses, I think. The approach of professors is completely different. We had only two subjects in English, the others were in French. So, it was a bit challenging, but everything was fine in the end. I studied French at school, so I had some background, but it was not as perfect but as Russian. When you live in an environment where everybody speaks their language, and you have to speak the same language too, with time you just get used to it.
Andjelija, currently in Belgrad, Serbia, is originally from Serbia and her bachelor's degree in finance and economics is also from Serbia. Due to her interest in financial markets, she started her master’s degree at HSE University at Financial Markets and Financial Institutes program. Her master’s program in Sorbonne was, same as Kamilla’s and Rifat’s, Public policy program. There she learned some new stuff like public choice or political economy. It was interesting to read something from those areas not only finance. Being a Serbian citizen has got a Serbian government scholarship, not connected to Russia. Every year students studying abroad apply for scholarships in Serbia, so she applied and received it.
From my own personal experience studying internationally has been very important and really helped me to develop myself and I would say to everybody: yes, I know it's very scary when you go for the first time abroad but when you conquer it you feel so much more confident and you learn another language and you meet a lot of people. Paris is a really beautiful city where you can meet a lot of different people. There are so many different museums and also universities. There are some more difficult subjects but there are also some easier ones than at HSE University. Overall I think it’s a beautiful experience and I would advise everybody to go.
Applied Economics '2020 alumna
I decided to try to work in Paris. Every international student who finishes their master’s study can stay for one year to look for a job. I have already worked for two weeks in an international company. It's just interesting for me to stay in France, and I can work because it is in English.
Kamilla, currently in Paris, received her bachelor’s degree from the Russian Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA). The first year of her master’s studies she took the Applied Economics master’s program at HSE University, and the second year to Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne masters program Public policy delivered in French. Kamilla applied to all relevant scholarships and received an Erasmus+ scholarship for 9 months to support her study in Paris. The two programs - HSE Applied Economics and Sorbonne Public Policy complement each other, students study in their first year macro, micro, and econometrics at HSE, while during the second year they take more subjects related to public policy.
My advice is that study abroad is an interesting experience. It is very useful to become flexible with other rules in other countries. I would like to add that if future students have any problems with bureaucracy in France they can address me because I’m a specialist in it.