Culture Café: Enjoying Diversity and Discovering What We Have in Common

In the fall semester HSE welcomed international and local students at the Culture Cafés hosted by Mexico, Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, and even Santa Claus. Last week ESN HSE Moscow and International Students Support were happy to continue this tradition.

What aspirations do students have when they go on exchange? Travelling a lot, getting to know different cultures, and meeting new people from all over the world are some of the most shared goals. How can a student achieve all of them along with studying? That’s where local international organizations are ready to offer their help. The initiative of having such events where international and local students can meet up in an informal atmosphere, have a free talk about each other’s culture customs, and, of course, taste some cookies or even traditional meals is supported by many ESN sections. For example, ESN Groningen has organized several International dinners and ESN Oslo encouraged students to take part in Presentation of Nations. ESN HSE Moscow was happy to support this idea and recently the section has set the second series of Culture Cafés!

Last semester students already enjoyed meetings hosted by Mexico, Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Russia, and even Santa Claus. You may wonder what was so fun about them. Here is a short list of things students particularly enjoyed: tasting blinis (блины) and struggling while singing a Russian song for the first time, drinking famous German apfelschorle, getting an insight into the Dutch education system and making sure that food is still worshiped in Italy.

Last week, on February 27th, this tradition was revived when ESN HSE Moscow members along with the HSE International Students Support hosted the second Russian Culture Café. In the first part of the event, international students got a glimpse of Russian everyday youth culture and got to know some funny survival phrases that may help them feel more confident when talking to their Russian friends. However, during the Café the students also had to face a serious challenge - tongue twisters! The Russian hosts were delighted to find out that some students have already practised many of them during their Russian classes and can pronounce them almost as well as natives! The presentation was followed by a discussion about Russian modern music and literature. Dostoevsky and Tolstoy are not the only writers whom students coming to Russia are already familiar with. ESN members were asked to share their experience of reading modern Russian authors. As for music, it seemed that international students had quite diverse preferences and surprised the ESNers by their deep knowledge. What keeps to be a interesting tradition is that a lot of incoming students are quite aware of Russian rap and pop artists! The end of the event was traditionally marked by a group photo of those students who are genuinely curious about Russian culture.

Would you like to join these events and get an authentic experience about living, studying, and enjoying one’s life in a different country? Feel free to come to the next Culture Cafés! Both international and Russian, exchange and full-degree students are very welcome. Follow the ESN HSE Moscow Facebook page not to miss any announcements of the upcoming events.

Prepared by Ekaterina Mazur, ESN HSE Moscow