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Austrian Ambassador Visits HSE Nizhny Novgorod

Johannes Aigner, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Austria to the Russian Federation, recently met with students and teachers at HSE Nizhny Novgorod.

At the meeting, Mr Ambassador began by noting that Austria is part of the European Union, shares European values ​​and considers it necessary to continue to develop cooperation with the Russian Federation on all levels.

Mr Aigner worked at the Austrian Embassy in Moscow from 1987 to 1995. He recalled how, in 1991, the collapse of the USSR was officially announced. He and his colleagues had a hard time understanding what would happen next. The Ambassador highlighted that, though the USSR disintegrated, the European Union has emerged, uniting the countries of Western and Eastern Europe. This experiment, according to Mr Aigner, has been a success.

The participants in the meeting were interested in the Ambassador’s view on sanctions, how to become a diplomat, what professions are in demand in Austria and whether foreign specialists are sought-after. They were also interested in whether there are opportunities for Russian students to attend Austrian universities.

Mr Ambassador said that there are many Austrian companies in Russia whose business is hampered by sanctions. However, he is convinced that cooperation will continue.

The students were surprised when they found out that Austria is seeking biologists and chemists, and that highly qualified specialists are the most sought-after and well-paid in the country. Students from the humanities realized that finding professional opportunities in Austria would not be easy, but that it is still possible.

Mr Aigner encouraged students to study foreign languages. He himself speaks five languages fluently, including Russian and Serbian.

At the end of the meeting, Mr Aigner explained that Austria organizes free summer schools for Russian students and that it is possible to undertake a Master’s degree at a number of Austrian universities.

HSE Nizhny Novgorod has a long-standing cooperation with Johannes Kepler University in Linz. Many HSE students are enrolled there as participants in the academic mobility programme.