• A
  • A
  • A
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
Regular version of the site

News

“Bentham was there, but did not vote”

Polina Rendak spent her first part of the academic year (2012-2013) in London as a part of an exchange program conducted by NRU HSE in collaboration with University College London. She shared her impressions from the internship with our information center.

I spent the first part of the 2012-2013 academic year in London as a part of exchange program conducted by NRU HSE in collaboration with University College London. UCL is one of the colleges, which constitute the group at the University of London including King’s College, Imperial College, Warwick College and some others. According to QS magazine, UCL occupies the fourth place in the ranking of the best Universities in the world and therefore entering this University is a great success.
 
Why had I chosen UCL? The main reasons were the opportunity to practice my English and getting a chance to visit the country, I had never visited before. I managed to gain an opportunity not only to study, but also to travel across the country, thanks to the URL’s five-day school week and a greater number of holidays compared to Russian universities. Thus, during the semester we often visited some cities and towns near London (Oxford, Brighton, and Salisbury (close to Stonehenge)) and after the end of the semester our multinational group went on a trip to Scotland.
                                        
As for the studying process, it should be emphasized, that in London you do not have as much classroom hours as it usually happens in Russia, but you have to pay attention to self-preparation, in other words, student’s independent studies. There is a huge list of mandatory and additional literature for every particular class that you have to read, and many rare materials are provided by the library (access is usually available around the clock four days per week), and that is why you usually do not want to miss the opportunity to deepen the knowledge on a particular topic.  The teaching stuff was quite interesting and diverse: there were Italian and Greek who were teaching macroeconomics, American who was teaching political economy and a lecturer from Hungary, who was teaching econometrics. A stereotype that London is a melting pot of all cultures and nationalities in the world was proved by the university dormitory: I had French and Americans in my section, from the kitchen next to me I could hear German and Italian languages, on the first floor people from Asia (China, Singapore and Taiwan) were cooking fragrant dishes.  Sometimes it seemed to me that it is harder to meet British people in Britain than people of any other nationality.
 
The students life was highly eventful: there were so many clubs and societies, founded and managed by students, being devoted to anything you could only want: from vegetarian community and the community of chocolate lovers to the UN models, from the community of jugglers  to the club, devoted to the investment banking. I attended the debate club meetings, where experienced in public speaking students and ambitious foreigners who practiced English were involved in hot debates on the topic of British Parliament, and the community of German-speakers, where I had an opportunity to chat with native speakers (who were usually bi- or multilinguals). After the meeting the group used to go to the pub, and if you are a member of several clubs, you can suffer from the excessive beer consumption in the evenings. 
 
A huge number of events are happening at the University in the evenings: apart from communities’ meetings there are various free lectures, meetings with well-known people and trainings, that is why every day students face a serious problem what to choose. During my studies in London I was lucky to hear a lecture by Nobel laureate, Thomas J. Sargent and many other outstanding lecturers.
 
In the main building there is a mummy of Jeremy Bentham, the mastermind of the founders of the UCL. There are some rumors that that mummy was brought to the meetings of the University Council and some documents say that Bentham “was there but did not vote”. There are “skeletons in the closet” everywhere, and somewhere – even literally.
 
Participation in exchange program provides an opportunity to get the unique experience of being surrounded by extremely motivated, active young people, full of ideas.  This program gave me an opportunity to not only meet new wonderful friend, but also get an understanding of how the life of business people in the world’s financial center is organized and provided me with particular thoughts that help me to make the right decision about my future career and studies. I believe you should not miss such opportunities, and we are a lucky, since our university provides them.