Online Exchange Semester
My name is Mark Shalygin, I'm a 4th year student at HSE University Faculty of Law.
In autumn 2020, I planned to study in Germany at EBS - European Business School. However, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the host university cancelled the offline programme and switched to online teaching.
I faced a choice: either to combine the online exchange at EBS with my last year at HSE or not to participate in the online German programme at all.
By pursuing studies at two universities, new opportunities opened up for me.
I studied my online exchange semester at the German university from September 16 to December 16. During the three months, I learned a lot and changed for the better.
Was this support enough for you?
There was more than enough support.
On September 16, the first day of my studies, there was a special introductory session for foreign students. Every step of the study process was explained in detail: how online lessons run, what online tools are used, what opportunities there are. The session was very useful, because teachers clearly explained to me how to connect to online classes, where to find my schedule and additional materials for each subject.
The learning process itself looked like this
In the first month of my online studies, I only had three introductory courses in international private law. At the same time, I was taking four courses at HSE. Fortunately, my course schedules rarely overlapped. Even when there was a scheduling conflict, I could always seek help and advice from tutors or professors from both universities and find solutions to attend all classes. I studied every day except Saturdays.
In general, combining studies at two universities was possible, but required extra effort. I had a strong desire to take the most from both HSE and EBS Universities, and I think I succeeded.
What subjects did you study after the introductory course?
I chose by myself all subjects that I studied after the introductory course for foreign students.
My choice was based on my interest in the subject, on the practicality of the course and on the number of study credits that I could transfer to HSE.
EBS University expected me to earn at least 12 credits, but not more than 21 credits.
The four courses that I managed to study in three months were as follows:
• European corporate governance and regulation of financial institutions
• Enforcement of rights in international markets: Intellectual property law and competition law
• European trade law
• Conclusion of contracts in international trade
How did you interact with German students?
I communicated with foreign students in two different ways:
Participation in a group project
I prepared and presented a project on the economic and political system of Switzerland together with German students. We met online about ten times, spoke only English, exchanged thoughts and created a presentation together. It was very interesting.
We exchanged contacts and now I have acquaintances in southeastern Germany.
Communication during classes
During classes, I discussed various topics suggested by the teachers with German students: from the influence of the word can on various wordings in a judicial agreement to the negative effects of globalization. But this was more of a debate than a conversation.
I noticed that European students pay a lot of attention to global issues, including climate change, globalization and human rights. They consider the solutions to such problems based on the interests not of a single country, but on common interests of different groups of society.
In general, I was got exposed to a different type of thinking and understood that one can look at the same problem in completely different ways.
Was there an opportunity for extracurricular communication?
Various online games and events were organized, but I decided to focus on my studies. Nevertheless, there was an opportunity to communicate additionally with German students at online extracurricular meetings. For example, EBS University did a «Future career online conversation» where it was possible to discuss career plans with other students.