Why HSE Illuminated, While It's Not My Major?

Thi Cam Anh Nguyen on her experience of choosing and enjoying our project.

Why HSE Illuminated, While It's Not My Major?

I have chosen HSE Illuminated as a project to accumulate credits for myself. However, in fact, it doesn't stop there! It is a place that provides me with effective words of encouragement, tips, and suggestions from many foreign students. Let's find out what it is!

First, I will briefly introduce myself and the major that I am studying

My name is Nguyen Thi Cam Anh, currently a 3rd-year student majoring in Logistics and Supply Chain Management in Business. I am a foreign student from Vietnam, and I have been a student of Higher school of economics officially and informally for 4 years. I studied Russian at HSE for a year and then started my full-fledged study program. Because of that, I also have more time at HSE than normal students.

Since when did I know about HSE Illuminated? And how do I know about it?

Honestly I found out about it by accident and luck! At that time I had a Russian language class with international students from different countries like Iraq, Brazil, Albania, etc. We casually chat about how we can get used to commuting, finding places to visit, or even making recommendations regarding HSE. It may sound strange, but for us, as international students with little Russian, it was a horrible experience for us at first. A friend told me that she found all the information in an HSE online magazine. I was really curious at the time, and I tried to find out more information about it. There, I can find information in English, and it even seems that only foreigners like us can understand each others… 

I mentioned that I am a student majoring in Logistics and Supply Chain Management, so why did I choose this project with such a bias towards journalism and information?

Actually it was a coincidence as well as a stroke of luck! Specifically, I have never heard of a project fair before, and never thought that I would have to complete that task myself. Up until the beginning of the first module of year 3, we were informed about that problem. However, at that time, I didn't have any idea about which project I would choose. I even became nervous,...

After that, some of my friends told me that I could write articles for HSE Illuminated as a project... Everything in me seemed to be lighter at that moment. I basically thought that HSE Illuminated was what I had been reading for the past 3 years, and I got to use English! That suddenly became an opportunity for me.

Also, must mention, I am a person who loves design. With HSE Illuminated I can design the photos I want in a style that I personally love. And that's it, I created a separate photo for my first post. That's what I really enjoyed. In other words, with HSE Illuminated, I came to it by accident, but in the end it is a place where I can narrate, create, give advice that I personally understand will be useful for international students like me.

So did I have any difficulties in participating in the HSE Illuminated project? 

To talk about difficulties, I think there will be two biggest difficulties that are time and ideas.

In terms of time, you would think that spending a little time writing would not affect learning too much. However, my field of study has very high requirements in understanding theoretical issues, from which we can apply them in practice. And for international students like us, I think any of us have to spend hours, and twice as much effort as usual, to be able to maintain a steady state of study. That's why sometimes I don't seem to have time for other things. However, no matter what, if you like something, you can of course still make time for it, even if it's just a little. That's what I can do for HSE Illuminated!

As for the idea, it can be said that I am a latecomer, as some good ideas have been exploited. Because of that, finding a really new idea sometimes becomes a problem for me. Sometimes I get stuck for hours thinking about the topic I will have to write about, finding the right person to interview. But in general, I think everything has its own difficulties depending on its nature. More importantly, we personally like it enough.

Has I ever regretted choosing HSE illuminated?

Honestly, never! Although I'm choosing a project that's not in line with my major, it gives me a chance to take a break and do the things I enjoy. You know, for Logistics, creativity or design skills are really irrelevant. That's why choosing HSE Illuminated makes sense as if I had created a second chance for myself. However, sometimes, because of the scarcity of time, I feel that an article is really difficult for me...

What has I tried to convey through my posts?

Well! As a foreign student myself, I have experienced strange days, homesickness and stages of gradually getting used to a new life. I know in general the feeling of students away from home like myself. Besides, I always find that my personality is also a barrier in getting used to a new life in a foreign place.

It is for these reasons that through my writings, I always want to convey messages and words of encouragement to international students like me. Specifically, in the first post, I mentioned being an introvert myself. That makes the integration process more difficult than ever. Even so, I have exploited getting help from my classmates, from teachers as well as the way I did to get used to things. Thereby, I want to tell international students like me that: "HSE is an environment where you can be helped to integrate easily". I believe that it will help each reader to get rid of their worries. 

Besides, through the interviews, I also want to emphasize the influence of the environment at HSE on the future of each of us. An example is the article about participating the international activities.

I think, with HSE illuminated, I learn to develop myself more...

Since choosing HSE Illuminated, I honestly have had more time to practice my writing skills, specifically English writing skills. Previously I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work for a media club in Vietnam, I also have experience in writing sharing articles, but the topic and language I used were slightly different. Thanks to HSE Illuminated, I was able to practice my writing skills again after quite a while.

Besides, as I mentioned earlier, I particularly enjoy the design, and the HSE illuminated is an occasion that I don't find easily in my major. In addition, I am an introvert myself, through approaching international students and interviewing them, I see good things from them. Since then, I have become more open to everything and not even closed myself like before.

I have some small tips for you who tend to choose HSE illuminated in the near future

Really, that's not really a tip, but just a sharing from my own experience. And they really worked on me. I hope they will be able to help you figure out how and what you've always questioned in the writing process. 

  1. Whatever your major, don't hesitate to choose HSE illuminated if you like it enough. And this doesn't just fit within this range, in the future, always be ready to choose what you like.

  2. Don't worry too much about who you will interview, and what topic. Sometimes you yourself are an endless store of topics that you never thought of!

  3. Sometimes you'll wonder if it's a topic worth exploring. Personally, I think, put yourself in the position of ourselves, ourselves of international students like us, everything will have an answer.

  4. Don't worry about how much time and effort you should put in. Let everything be as natural as possible!

  5. The most honest stories will sometimes be the most sincere advice for international students like us.

Those are the concerns and problems that I encountered during the decision to choose HSE Illuminated as well as the writing process. I really hope it will be useful to you.

Finally, I hope you will find sympathy in my post and this article will help you to solve a few questions. Be the next to share your stories and motivate the next international students at HSE!

Thanks for your attention! I wish you a really successful, happy and great 2023 at HSE!

Text by

Thi Cam Anh Nguyen