Chances and Goals

Dao Hai Dang - an international student from Vietnam, shares with us his journey in beautiful Russia and HSE.

Chances and Goals

Happy New Year Hai Dang, we wish you a great 2023 filled with successes, happiness and joy! Thank you for joining us. Can you please introduce yourself to our readers?

Well, thank you so much for your wishes. I also wish you a wonderful 2023 with new successes in learning and in life.

My name is Dao Hai Dang, I am a foreign student coming from Vietnam – an Asian country. Currently, I am studying at the faculty of World Economy and World Politics, more specifically in the direction of International Relationship.

Why did you choose Russia as a destination to study?

Actually, it was a coincidence and also luck. By the time I graduated from a secondary school, I had chosen to enter a specialized school and the Russian language as my main subject. To be more specific about specialized schools in Vietnam, each city has a school where students are able to choose any subject that they think is neccessary or they are passionate about. In order to enter the school, they must pass exams, such as math, literature, English and an elective subject. It is quite difficult and students experince a lot of pressure as the whole city has only one school, and you have to do your best. That is the reason why I mentioned my luck here. At school, I learned Russian very intensively. Besides, I also had the opportunity to learn more about Russia as well as the culture of this beautiful country.

And luck did not stop there, I had the opportunity to participate in the summer camp for teenagers. I had the opportunity to come to Russia, although not much, but it really inspired me and influenced my decision to become an international student in this country.

Oh, what a wonderful coincidence and luck! So what about HSE? Why did you choose HSE over many other prestigious universities in Russia? Is it still a coincidence?

Honestly, this isn't exactly a coincidence. More than 3 years ago, some representatives from Higher School of Economics visited my high school - Thai Nguyen gifted High School. They came and introduced me to basic information, opportunities, as well as a brief overview of the environment and the quality of education at HSE. Things still seemed a bit hazy to me at the time, as I didn't have a specific plan for where I would study in future at that time. However, gradually, through monitoring, I learned that the school's ranking for many years was high. From there, I researched more and verified what I was introduced to this school.

And whatever comes, has come, in grade 12, when I heard that I had received a scholarship to study in Russia, I did not hesitate to choose HSE as a promising destination for my next future path. Honestly speaking, this choice is not a coincidence at all, it is exactly a decision that I have spent a lot of time on researching, and I really see it as my opportunity.

You said that in school you improved your Russian. Do you feel confident in Russian now? Do you have any particular achievements?

Proudly, during my 3 year of studying in high school, I was also fortunate to receive a considerable number of awards related to the Russian language, the most prominent of which was the third prize in the national Russian language competition for students. 11th graders and second place in the national Russian language competition for 12th graders. It was an exam that seemed to bring together all the students from all over Vietnam, and they were students selected and trained for a long time to participate in that competition. Therefore, for me, winning these awards means a lot and is a stepping stone which helps me to get closer to my dream of studying abroad in Russia.

What an admirable achievement! So up to now, you have studied at HSE for more than a year, what are some things about HSE that you really like? For example teachers, classes, students, etc.

Thanks for a good question! So far I have spent a year of preparatory school and I just finished the first semester of my freshman year last December. To be honest, even though I already know Russian, my ability to communicate with native speakers is still limited. For that reason, in the process of studying, I inevitably encounter certain problems and difficulties. However, the good news is that my classmates as well as teachers here are always friendly and enthusiastically help me.

And it is impossible not to mention the facilities, it can be said that this is one of the educational institutions with the most modern facilities that I have the opportunity to experience. The school is equipped with modern and necessary equipment and machinery for students' learning and research. This is truly a place worth experiencing.

Do you participate in extracurricular activities at HSE?

Well, even though this is my freshman year, I'm having a lot of trouble getting used to my studies, I still take the time to observe and learn about extra-curricular activities at HSE and the opportunity to know them through promotional activities of the clubs. Indeed, this is a dynamic environment, where students are not only trained in knowledge but also improve their skills. Specifically, at HSE, non-profit as well as non-academic activities are held on a fairly regular basis, including those organized by students themselves. Those are really valuable opportunities for students to become more active. However, due to certain time and language constraints, I still have not had the opportunity to access extra-curricular activities organized by HSE. In future, when I get used to everything, I will definitely look for an opportunity for myself, because more than ever, it will be an opportunity for myself!

However, I still participate in some extracurricular activities organized by the Vietnamese student community in Russia. These include sports competitions for Vietnamese students in Moscow, the annual meeting of a group of Vietnamese students at the University of Economics, etc. Fortunately, even though I am a new international student, I was trusted by the community to be chosen as one of the members of the executive committee. Thanks to that, I have the opportunity to interact with many talented people from all over Vietnam who are in Moscow, as well as have the opportunity to learn good things and experiences from them.

From your point of view, what did you learn from participating in those activities?

Through participating in these activities, I have made many more relationships, especially made many friends. It is not simply international friends, but even friends from many regions in Vietnam that if not in Russia, I would never have met them. In addition, I also acquired new skills easily and communicating with unknown people is easier for me now.

Did you have any difficulties while in Russia?

In fact, difficulties always exist, and for me alone, there are difficulties such as the Covid epidemic and the harsh climate. I came to Russia when the epidemic situation still had bad changes. That leads to the delay of some events as well as hinders their ability to happen naturally. In addition, there are also weather issues. By the time I arrived in Russia, I had suffered from about minus 10 degrees of cold. I know it's nothing compared to now, but for a person from a tropical climate like me it was a challenge.

What are your plans or expectations for the next 4 years at HSE?

First of all, my most important priority for the next 4 years is to fully fulfill my academic responsibilities, passing all exams. Then, when I get used to studying, I will find myself more opportunities in extracurricular activities, especially those organized by HSE.

If you had one piece of advice for foreign students when asked about extracurricular activities, what would you advise them to do?

Actually, to talk about advice, I don't think I have enough experience to advise students. However, from a student's point of view, the most valuable thing we get from participating in extracurricular activities here is the opportunity to practice foreign languages and make new friends. Therefore, I want to say to the students in general and the Vietnamese students at HSE not to waste the opportunities that HSE is giving you and remember why you chose this place.

Thank you so much for the experience you shared with us.

Interview by

Thi Cam Anh Nguyen