Adaptation In A New City And University

Let us talk on how to integrate into university life.

Adaptation In A New City And University

To make a decision to educate in foreign country is really hard. There are a lot of fears and stereotypes. Sometimes it can interfere with a dream. But experience of many foreign students shows that it is not such fearfully as they thought. I decided to talk with girls from other countries who now study in HSE.

They are Ksenia Kiseleva from Riga, Anastasia Golinko from Kyrgyz Republic (both from Faculty of Communication, Media and Design) and Darya Furdui from Tiraspol (from Public Administration Programme). Students told about their adaptation in new city and university, differences in culture and their opinions about educating in another country. Girls are sure that foreign students can overcome their fears and find new friends in HSE University.

Please, tell about your decision to study in Russia. Was it hard to make it? Why did you choose HSE?

Daria: I dreamt about studying in another country and chose Russia in my 7th class. Why did I choose HSE? HSE chose me! In my 10th class I participated in the HSE Global Scholarship Competition and became a prize-winner. It was my chance!

Ksenia: I always dreamt about studying in Russia. When I visited my grandmother in Moscow, my desire intensified. I heard about HSE at my school and then found information in the Internet. During studying in the last class, I thought about choosing HSE.

Anastasia: I dreamt to study in foreign country since my ninth class at school. But it was not an abstract thought. I was looking for a place with qualitative education. But it was important to choose a city that is not very far from my home. In the end of my 10th class, I discovered HSE and fell in love with it. Firstly, HSE has modern system of education. Even at first course we learn useful and necessary subjects. Secondly, the atmosphere between students is really friendly. When I visited Open Day of my future faculty, I saw that students’ nice words about university are sincere. The status of university was an important reason too. Wherever I talk about HSE, people know it. It is great! But the decisive argument was the fact that lecturers are practicing specialists who use their knowledge in work.

Your histories are very interesting! Which fears did you have before moving to Russia?

Daria: I didn’t have a lot of fears but I worried about moving to another country. I was afraid of people’s opinion about me and of adaptation. But I didn’t have problems with that in reality.

Ksenia: I thought that I would have difficulties with adaptation because in my country towns are quite calm, they are not such metropolises as Moscow. Also, school education in Russia differs from Latvia. I thought that this fact could cause some problems. But nothing went wrong when I moved to Moscow.

Anastasia: I had not got any fears! I was a professional sportsman. I travelled a lot and was responsible for younger children. After moving I understood that I am ready to life!

What challenges, to your mind, foreign students can have?

Daria: Language is the main problem for foreign students, they can worry about troubles with communication.

Ksenia: When foreign students don’t know Russian language and don’t integrate into Russian culture, they can be afraid of some problems. But people there are really responsive and kind. In my group in university there were foreign students who had difficulties with Russian. Other students tried to help them a lot. Also, I have heard that there are some special courses of Russian in HSE. I think, this can really help with adaptation.

Anastasia: They are afraid that other people misunderstand them. Also, differences in culture can be a problem. But it is not unreal to overcome these obstacles.

Do you see any differences in culture between your country and Russia?

Daria: When I visited Russia earlier, I didn’t see a lot of differences. But now I see something. Russian people are less communicative. They don’t tell with each other in public places, for example. But if you are not afraid of starting communication and asking for help, you won’t be lonely there!

Ksenia: In Latvia people are more trustful and smile more. But in Russia people are really open to communication and responsive, they usually help each other. And this is great!

Anastasia: I am Russian but now I miss Asian hospitality. But this problem is not felt strongly.

What helped you to adapt to a new place?

Daria: A lot of people from my town and country have gone to HSE. For me it is very essential.

Ksenia: My new friends and other students really helped me! It was not easy to adapt in such big city as Moscow. I have troubles with metro. But my friends explained me many things. We have communicated for more than two years. So, it is important to find new friends when you move to a new place.

Anastasia: Yandex services helped me a lot. My old friends and new acquaintances played a big role. In general, my adaptation was not very hard. If I did not know something, I just found it in the Internet. Also, I am thankful to studying office because they transfer me to an offline group when it was possible.

All you have a great experience! Can you give some advice to foreign students who have not adapted fully yet?

Daria: Don’t be too shy, start conversations with people. And no mistake, you will find good people and friends!

Ksenia: Look for new friends, don’t be afraid of starting communication and visiting events! Communication can help when you miss home. It is easier to go through a difficult period of your life when friends support you.

Anastasia: When you move to another city or even country, you should explore the area of your living. Also, it is necessary to learn conditions of staying in Russia, things connected with documents and your rights. Having a card of one of Russian banks is a good idea. Moreover, you can use different services, it makes your life easier. Be active and communicate with others! It helps to find friends and build good relationships in students’ hostel.

Thank you, girls for the interview.

As you can see, Daria, Ksenia and Anastasia have different experience and emotions. However, all girls have talked about importance of communication and looking for friends. Don’t forget that differences in culture and language are not only problem, they also can be very interesting theme for conversation!  

However, sometimes it is really hard to become more communicative and open-minded when you study in a foreign place. This problem is actual for HSE, because there are a lot of foreign students from different countries who speak different languages. Therefore, in HSE there are a lot of ways to help foreign students. If you think about moving from another country or you have already gone to HSE, you should know where you can ask for help and how you can become a part of students’ life.

HSE curators. Curators’ program is an important thing for adaptation of new students. People from senior courses help freshmen with integrating into studying and students’ life. Each studying group from the first course have the curator who can also help foreigners to become a part of collective.

Language classes. International Preparatory Programmes were created to help foreign students and applicants with language differences. There you can learn Russian and prepare for education.

Different students’ organizations. Non-academic life in HSE is very active. To become a part of these organizations is one of the best ways to integrate into university. For instance, you can look for event or charitable projects. Also, it can be something connected with science or literature. All can find students’ organizations which are interesting for them and become a part of communicative team.

Centre of psychological counselling. Consultation is free for HSE students and postgraduates. Also, it is confidential and professional.

So, you can always ask for help. Not only special organizations, other students can help you too. People in HSE are very friendly and active. Different languages and cultures are not a barrier for communication. Your doubts and fears don’t have to stop you on your way to the dream!

Text by
Anna Zamaraeva