From Moscow to Paris

From Moscow to Paris

Interview with Karina & Natalia, Summer 2016
  • Karina and Natalia, two Moscow State University students from Summer 2016Karina and Natalia, two Moscow State University students from Summer 2016

Karina and Natalia are currently pursuing their Bachelor’s in Political Science at Moscow State University and studied in the social sciences track of the 2016 Summer School.  Karina took the class “Comparative Perspectives on Migration Issues” and Natalia studied “Social Policies in Europe and the U.S.”

Why did you want to study at Sciences Po?

Karina: Sciences Po is one of the foremost institutions for political science in Europe.  I had dreamed of studying at Sciences Po, having previously read works by Sciences Po professors and having followed the online course Espace Mondial through a MOOC.  I am grateful to have received funding through the PoltilQ programme to participate in the Summer School, which allowed me the opportunity to interact with the professors whose work I had studied.

What did you study at the Summer School?  What did you learn that you will take back to your studies at Moscow State University?

Karina: I studied “Comparative Perspectives on Migration Issues” at the Summer School.  My research at Moscow State University focuses on internal Russian politics, so I was motivated to study a topic with a greater international focus during the summer.  I learned about how migration issues have a tendency to be politicized and how they require international cooperation to find solutions.

Natalia: I took the course “Social Policies in Europe and the United States: Origins, Reforms and Challenges.” This class helped me understand many of the problems faced by modern welfare states and to analyze different solutions.  However, even more than the specific knowledge I learned during the class, the skills I gained will be useful for my future studies.  For example, writing a critical note, defending a project, working with sources in foreign languages, and statistical analysis techniques like cluster analysis.

What were your interactions with professors like during the Summer School?

Karina: My class was taught by Dr. Ariane Chebel d’Appollonia, who demonstrated all the qualities I think are important for a professor.  She truly cared about the subject she taught.  She was able to communicate complicated concepts clearly – and often with a joke.  She valued students’ opinions and encouraged debate, which is important to me.

Natalia: My course was led by four different professors, each of whom had their own manner of teaching.  What they had in common was that they were able to get students from all different backgrounds – from engineering to architecture – engaged in the topic of social policies.

What was your experience at the Summer School outside the classroom?

Natalia: Meeting students from all over the world is one of the best parts of the programme!  Students at the Summer School are motivated and smart, but also really friendly, and interacting with them is a way to learn about many different cultures.  Many people had lived in several different countries and spoke many languages, which was really inspiring for me.  Additionally, a month in Paris made me feel like a Parisian and not just a tourist.  We took the time to appreciate architecture, ate authentic French cuisine, and got around using the city bike share programme.

Karina and Natalia participated in the PolitlQ programme, which was developed by Moscow State University (MSU) political science faculty and the Russian endowment fund “ISTOKI” to provide stipends for MSU students to study political science during the summer at leading European and Asian universities.  Find more information about the PolitlQ programme.

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