Russian students immerse themselves in the enriching and multicultural environment at UPES

  • Kama Choudhary
  • Published 07/02/2024
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Russian students immerse themselves in the enriching and multicultural environment at UPES

Embarking on a multicultural journey, UPES recently concluded its groundbreaking India Immersion Program at the enchanting campuses in Bidholi and Kandoli. This captivating event aimed to transcend traditional educational boundaries, providing students with a unique and enriching experience by exposing them to diverse cultures, business practices, and societal contexts. This immersive approach fosters a global mindset, cultural adaptability, and a deeper understanding of global issues, better-equipping students to become global leaders.

The university welcomed 13 students and 4 faculty members from the National Research University Higher School of Economics (HSE University) in Russia. Over an enthralling 15-day period, these Russian scholars engaged in a myriad of activities, from insightful sessions to immersive visits to local schools, villages, and NGOs. Tailored to offer HSE students an overview of India’s economic, political, and social landscape, these Winter School sessions provided insights into the country’s regulatory framework, policies, and consumer behaviour. Sharing her excitement, Ksenia Pugina, one of the students from Russia, says, “This time in India became a true dream. From a young age, I had this desire to visit India and explore this country. Winter school was not only an active cultural exchange but also an opportunity for knowledge exchange. Here, I found new ideas, new true friends, new ways of living.”

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The multicultural mosaic unfolded as the event explored India’s vibrant civil society landscape and its impact on societal issues through a workshop by Padma Bhushan Dr. Anil Prakash Joshi, an environmentalist, green activist, and the founder of Himalayan Environmental Studies and Conservation Organisation (HESCO). The session unravelled the layers of India’s civil society, including NGOs, community organisations, and advocacy groups, showcasing their pivotal role in addressing social, environmental, and humanitarian challenges. Dr. Shubhashis Gangopadhyay, Dean of UPES School of Liberal Studies, added another layer to the experience with an engaging session on India’s economic reforms.

Alina Khitraia, another student from the exchange program, expressed her appreciation, stating, “The Winter School provided an incredible opportunity to delve into the theory and practice of India. The professor’s lectures were not only interesting and insightful but also showcased impressive public speaking skills. The excursions to HESCO-related facilities and the organisation itself offered unique visits that I thoroughly enjoyed.”

The Winter School extended beyond academic realms, delving into contemporary topics like ‘India Stack,’ unravelling the digital infrastructure aiming to unlock the economic primitives, transforming identity, data, and payments for the entire population. Another session shed light on the growing importance of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors in India’s corporate landscape.

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To balance intellectual stimulation with physical and mental rejuvenation, UPES organised sporting activities and yoga retreats in the serene locales of Rishikesh and Mussoorie. Russian student, Victoria Baturina, reflecting on her experience, adds, “The immersion program left a profound impression on me. The day spent in Rishikesh, immersed in the local culture, exploring temples, and attending shows, was particularly delightful. I yearn for more experiences like that. The array of sports activities was enjoyable, especially yoga – after all, we are in India!”

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As the curtains fell on the inaugural Winter School, it left an indelible mark on the participants, fostering not just academic growth but a holistic understanding of India’s diverse tapestry. The seamless blend of multicultural experiences, academic discourse, and recreational activities made this program an unforgettable chapter in the academic journey of these international students.

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Kama Choudhary
Kama Choudhary

The writer is a part of the UPES editorial team

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