HSE International Students: A Story of Weichen Tang

Weichen Tang, a Master’s student at HSE Foreign Languages and Intercultural Communication Program, talks about her way to HSE. 

HSE International Students: A Story of Weichen Tang

As an international student Weichen Tang is going to tell us her story - from applying for HSE to really coming to Moscow to study. 

I graduated with a Bachelor's Degree two years ago. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I couldn't go to Russia to study, so I gave up studying abroad and began looking for a job. During these two years, I worked as a copy editor and data processor in a foreign company. I can't say that made me happy as I asked myself if this was how I would want my life look like. Such work would not bring me stabitlity and I didn't have time to waste. So I decided to apply for studying in Russia. Another reason is that when I was in my third year of college, I studied as an exchange student in Krasnodar Krai in Russia. I like the Russian system of education very much. After half a year of study, my level of English has progressed a lot and I wanted to study in Russia again. 

Applying for study with full-tuition scholarship in Russia is actually a very complicated process. You need to prepare all kinds of documents, translate and notarize them, upload them to the website, and wait for the email that the documents are checked. If your documents require corrections, you need resubmit them. This includes a lot of medical tests, some of which cannot be done in my area. I have to take the train to another city to complete this medical examination and wait for the results, which means that I have to live in another city for a period of time, which I think is the most troublesome thing. Due to the epidemic, we are also facing home quarantine at any time, so the time to prepare materials is very tight. 

After all the documents are submitted and approved, you can choose six universities. I chose HSE as my first priority. I first learned about HSE when I was an exchange student. At that time my two elder sisters told me about it as they were applying for a master's degree, because of bilingual education of HSE and a high quality of teaching. HSE has a high ranking in the world and the largest electronic reading room in the world. Learning there can improve employment opportunities. It was because I listened to them that I browsed the official website on the Internet. I discovered that the university's website was very clear and helpful to foreign students. I felt extremely warm, so I chose this university. 

Then you you choose the program you want to study at. HSE has a lot of programs. In the undergraduate stage, my major is Russian, the second degree is Marketing. But my mathematics is not very good, so I gave up the idea of choosing marketing. So I started looking at foreign languages. I think my language level can also improve. So I chose Foreign Languages and Intercultural Communication program. I submitted my portfolio. I should say that tests of foreign languages and intercultural communication are quite strict. You need to upload the eligible document you own upon request, for example, motivation letter, letters of recommendation, scientific and research activities, Olympics, language certificates, essay and so on. The most important part is an interview, and teachers would score you through the fluency of Russian and English in communication. 

I finally got the admission notice of full scholarship in September 1. Due to the shortage of epidemics and the shortage of tickets, I was able to only buy a ticket in October, so I started to study online not to miss a thing. 

Online classes officially start in early September. At first, we went through all the courses and tested them. After all the lessons are completed, we choose the most suitable direction and courses for us. Of course, some basic courses are compulsory. Because I chose the direction of foreign language teaching, my classes are basically taught in English. And we have to choose one as the second foreign language, so I chose Spanish. Spanish is said to be the third largest language in the world, I really hope to learn this language so that I can speak English and Chinese, Russian and Spanish at the same time. Before each class, the teachers will send the link to this class in advance to ensure the classes of online classmates. During online classes we can't see what is written on the blackboard in time, so teachers often send screenshots of the content on the blackboard to the group to ensure the quality of our learning. And teachers often interact with us in class, so that we can actively participate in the discussion in the classroom. My favorite way of teaching in Russia is letting us explain something in English in our own words. In China, it is basically the teacher who says how we write in workbooks and we do not share our thoughts at all. So I believe that I can learn a lot and improve my English skills. 

Since I'm going to Russia soon, I'm packing up. Packing up is also a very complicated thing. Because I'm going to stay in Russia for two years, I have to bring a lot of things. I need to classify everything. As I often get sick, I bring a lot of medicine with me. I bought a lot of new clothes recently, so I also hope to bring them all. After all, Russia and China have different cuisines, so I also bring a lot of sauce and a lot of seasonings. In addition, I also take some cosmetics I often use. Of course, Russian cosmetics are also very affordable and easy to use. I will also buy a lot of them when I come to Russia. 

I know that it is very cold in Russia and winter is coming, so I have to take a lot of down jackets, scarves, gloves and snow boots with me. But the room in Russia is very warm, so I think I may stay indoors all the time because I'm afraid of the cold. I pack my luggage back and forth several times because I hope that my suitcase can be maximized and can bring a lot of practical things to Russia. Of course, Russia is rich in products and a lot of things can be bought locally, so there are a lot of things I don't have to bring. 

Our school has a special China WeChat group. WeChat is a chat software similar to VK. Many Chinese students are in the group. People help each other, and we often discuss learning problems in class and in school life. In the group, I asked how to choose courses and how to check my exam schedule. The happiest thing for me is that I found a person in the group who was taking to Moscow the same flight as I.

I am very grateful to the school for arranging a student dormitory for me. My dormitory is very close to the subway station, so the transportation is very convenient. I checked the route from the airport to the dormitory in advance so that I can return directly to the dormitory when I get off the plane. I applied for a buddy at the International Student Support. She will wait for me at the station to accompany me back to the dormitory and help me with a lot of things. I am very grateful to the school for providing such help to us - foreign students. 

In a few days, I will say goodbye to my Chinese friends and my parents and go to Russia. But I believe I will definitely feel more warmth in HSE and make more good friends. I will a diligent student in class, do my homework carefully and enjoy life in Russia. I can't wait to go to Russia to see my foreign friends in class together.

Weichen Tang