An Experience of a Student from Uzbekistan

Being an international student is quite difficult, especially when it is the first experience of living somewhere away from hometown.

An Experience of a Student from Uzbekistan

It goes without saying, that there may occur some assumptions and fears. However, having overcome them, you may broaden your horizons and experience a lot of new things.

Here is the story of our author - Lyubov Pak.

I am a first-year student of a master’s degree at HSE. My name is Lyubov Pak, and I came from Uzbekistan. Initially, I did not plan enrolling in HSE, I wanted to study at RUDN. Nevertheless, in December, 2022 I got a call from my mother, who advised me to think about HSE as one of the options. Then, I searched everything about HSE and finally decided to study there, because I really liked how the learning process was organised and various interesting possibilities of socializing ways. What I was afraid of was moving to other country, where everything was new for me, and where I did not know anybody. In other words, I did not want to get out of the comfort zone. At that moment, I had quite negative expectations in terms of living and studying somewhere far away from home, without close people. But I knew that sticking to one place was not what I desired. Therefore, I made the first step towards something new and wrote a motivational letter. Of course, majority of people around me supported my decision, but there also were those, who kept persuading to give up the idea of learning in Russia. It would be a lie if I say that there was not even a single moment when I was about to change my mind. Fortunately, I kept going towards my goal.

In late February, I passed the interview and was patiently waiting for my results. About a month passed, but I still was waiting, while some of my friends had already received their results. It was quite stressful time, as I was preparing for my final exams at the bachelor’s degree, and nothing about the near future was clear, whether I will continue my education in Moscow or I should take a year-off and try next year. And the day X came, it was my birthday, when I got my acceptance letter.

Next step was collecting all necessary documents and finish my bachelor’s degree. When everything was ready, I moved to Russia and a new stage of life began. I was looking forward to exploring Russia. The process of adaptation passed quite well. In terms of communication, I did not experience any serious problems, as my Russian was on upper-intermediate level. However, hearing Russian speech all around was unusual. In addition, there was no culture shock, because we have many aspects of Russian culture in Uzbekistan too, so I can say that majority of things were familiar. What actually surprised me was the weather. It was the end of summer when I moved, and the weather was warm, but when the winter came, I was shocked with the amount of snow falling. It was so beautiful, In Uzbekistan, winter is snowless, but cold. I have been living in Moscow for about 6 months, but I still find out something new almost every day.

In terms of the process of studying, almost everything is passing smoothly. Obviously, the first month was challenging regarding to getting adapted to a new system, which is totally different from what I used to follow in my home country. The first challenge was the assessment system at HSE, which has a formula that I am still trying to understand. The second one is that there is no necessity to wear a uniform, which is a big advantage in comparison with the previous university where I studied. It is much more convenient to wear comfortable clothes as well as it helps to save money from buying a uniform, which we cannot wear somewhere else. In addition, teachers as well as domestic students are friendly and sympathetic. There was no exclusion inside the university as well as outside. If someone needs a help, everyone is eager to offer it without differentiating whether you are a foreigner or local citizen. Study office is also very supporting and helpful in terms of education and socialization. Students with study office organize different entertaining events when foreign students can communicate and get entertained. One of such events was Multicultural New Year organized by Multicultural Club of SOFL students. There were students from various countries, who gave a speech and presentations about the way New Year is spent in their countries. Then, we made postcards and gave them as presents to each other.  Of course, we did not forget about the snacks, so everyone brought something delicious. So, the multicultural club took everything into account and made that day memorable.

My experience as an HSE student was positive in all aspects. What I would like to recommend to those who is planning to study at HSE is that it is a really great place to study with lots of possibilities. Try to be sociable, it will help in study as well as making new friends.

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Lyubov Pak