HSE International Student from China

Zuliya Wumaier shares her story of becoming a student of HSE.

HSE International Student from China


I remember that I had the idea to study in Russia since my second year of university, my major was Russian, and at that time one of my teachers used to tell us about her life in Russia. She was very fond of Russian literature. During my university years, I learned that Russia was unique.

The Moscow metro is a masterpiece of art with its fascinating landscapes and magical city architecture and magnificent, gorgeous, and elegant teaching complexes and thousands of sculptures. Russia's culture and arts are brilliant with such famous masters of literature as Tolstoy and Pushkin, music master Tchaikovsky, painting masters - Lebin and Surikov, as well as Russian ballet, sports, circus, etc., and which also attract young students from China.

Of course, I am no exception. I was slowly falling in love with Russian because of my teacher, and from my third year of university, I started planning to go to Russia for my postgraduate studies. At that time, I learned about HSE University and the first reason I decided to come to HSE was the ranking of the university and the quality of education that HSE provided. All that influenced my decision to choose this university. And Russian‘s educational philosophy is very advanced and similar to Western countries such as Europe and the United States, and the Russian education methods are very different from that of China. So I decided to apply to this university.                                                               

I have completed my Bachelor's in China and currently doing my Master’s degree in Foreign Language and Intercultural Communication. I was born and raised in Xinjiang, China. Chinese is not my native language exactly, I am Uyghur. When I was 7 years old, I started learning Chinese and went to Chinese school. It was not difficult for me because I was surrounded by Chinese people and we communicate in Chinese and Uyghur since we were little. I started learning English in the third grade, and since then I've been very interested in English, and I especially like watching American TV shows.

In high school I started listening to Russian songs for the first time, and since then I've been listening and reading the lyrics of the songs whenever I have time. That was my first contact with Russian, and I was determined to learn another language when I chose my college major because I had been interested in languages since I was a child. I am also very interested in linguistics and intercultural interaction because I grew up in a multicultural environment. Intercultural communication is an exciting field of study that has grown tremendously in recent years, and those with a high level of intercultural knowledge and skills are highly sought after in the workplace. And having grown up in a multilingual environment, I would like to find a language-related job, possibly as a teacher, after I graduate. That why I decided to choose foreign language and intercultural communication as my major.           

I became a student of HSE in September of 2022. However, the first week was very stressful for me. The learning environment of the first year was completely different from my school life in China and also not the same in college. I realized that my Russian and English were not good enough to keep up with the lectures or seminars and I found it difficult to talk with my classmates. I got frustrated when homework, projects, and deadlines kept coming.

My major requires me to study a second foreign language, which is Spanish. I chose Spanish as a second language because learning Spanish can lead to many opportunities for work, travel, life or social life. Learning Spanish does not only mean learning a new language, but you will also gain a new way of seeing and thinking about the world that will perfectly integrate the best parts of the culture with your own. In addition to this, data shows that learning a language can improve cognitive abilities, and learning Spanish can help you to appreciate the cheerful, positive and optimistic side of Spanish culture, while expanding your horizons, developing international awareness and adapting to global trends. Spanish has a wide range of applications and is used in many international contexts, so mastering the language can bring great convenience in the workplace. Together with cultural, tourism and trade factors, the status of Spanish continues to grow globally. I hope that in the next two years I will learn Spanish well, overcome the obstacles to learning Chinese, and have the opportunity to travel to Spain. You have to know that it is very difficult for a Chinese to learn Spanish in Russian. Since there were many Russians in the class, the teacher spoke in Russian, but sometimes I couldn't understand it, so I had to spend more of my spare time on Spanish. However, the teachers and students were very friendly, and they were very patient to teach me and explain to me in English if I didn't understand something.    

I'm planning to go to Russia in November this year, because I'm still waiting for my invitation letter, there are some mistakes in my name on my invitation letter that prevent me from getting the visa. Due to the time difference between Russia and China I'm not sleeping well now. I've been in quarantine for two months in Xinjiang.

Russia is 5 hours behind China, so sometimes some classes end at 9 P.M. in Russia, and it is 2 A.M. in China. Moreover, I have to complete some work before the deadline at 11:59 P.M. and this makes me stay up late and I can't get up early in the morning. So I hope I can receive an invitation and get visa to return to Moscow as soon as possible. But I am still optimistic and I believe that soon I will go to Moscow, attend the offline courses and experience the beauty of Moscow.

This is my story of why I choose this university, why I want to go to Moscow and how I spent this month since I entered this university. I love the language and the culture.

Although I have encountered many difficulties this month, I believe that everything will be fine, I will adapt to the HSE study mode. I can't wait to experience the beauty of Moscow and feel the HSE university. I hope I will be physically and mentally prepared for the new academic year, it is not easy to study at one of the best universities in Russia, but I believe we will all overcome the obstacles and gain a lot. 

Experience shared by

Zuliya Wumaier