My HSE Family
As we spent time together, our friendships deepened, and we formed a bond that went beyond that of mere classmates. We explored Moscow, shared laughter, and supported one another through both triumphs and challenges. These classmates became my new family, creating a sense of belonging and joy that I had longed for. As the first year of my master's program drew to a close, I reflected on the incredible transformation I had experienced, grateful for the wonderful family I had found among my classmates. Along with my classmates, I am immensely grateful for the dedicated teachers who contributed their efforts to my growth and well-being at HSE University.
Family is a deeply significant and irreplaceable part of our lives. It is a fundamental unit of society that provides us with love, support, and a sense of belonging. While friendships and relationships may come and go, family bonds often endure through the ups and downs of life. Family is a source of shared experiences and memories. From childhood adventures to family traditions, these shared moments create a strong bond that cannot be replaced. Whether it's celebrating holidays together, going on vacations, or simply spending quality time, these experiences build a sense of unity and create lifelong connections. Family also serves as a support system during times of adversity. When we face challenges, such as illness, loss, or difficult life transitions, family members are often the first ones to rally around us. Their unwavering support and understanding provide comfort and strength, making it easier to navigate through tough times. When it comes to going abroad alone for higher studies, the importance of family becomes even more pronounced.
When arriving in a foreign country, the initial impact of new surroundings, unfamiliar faces, and different cultural norms can be overwhelming. The absence of familiar comforts, such as family, friends, and a sense of belonging, may trigger feelings of homesickness and loneliness. The sudden distance from the support system that one has relied upon for years can create a void that is not easily filled. I personally went through this trauma. During the early days, I struggled to adapt to the fast-paced lifestyle and the cultural differences I encountered. The language barrier posed a challenge, making it difficult for me to communicate and connect with others. Additionally, the academic responsibilities at my university were demanding, leaving me feeling stressed and anxious. As days turned into weeks, my homesickness intensified. I missed my family, friends, and the comforting familiarity of my old routine. Negative thoughts began to plague my mind, casting a dark shadow over my experience in Moscow. I started doubting myself, wondering if I had made the right decision to come here. My depressive thoughts consumed me, affecting my daily life. I withdrew from social activities and isolated myself in my dorm room. My classmates and roommates noticed my sudden change in behavior and became concerned about my well-being. Fortunately, I was not alone in my journey. The staff at HSE is known for their exceptional care and support for their students' well-being. There are some teachers who played a significant role in helping me overcome my negative feelings and trauma.
He is the head of the Program Academic Supervisor for Foreign Languages and Intercultural Communication. Alexey Bakulev is a highly respected and compassionate teacher. From the moment I joined his class, I felt a sense of warmth and genuine care emanating from him. He understands the challenges faced by international students and has made it a priority to create a supportive and inclusive learning environment. During his classes, he not only taught the subject matter but also took the time to check in with each student personally. He encouraged open discussions about cultural differences and the struggles of adjusting to a new environment. He shared personal anecdotes and insights, helping students feel more comfortable sharing their own experiences. Seeing my struggle with negative emotions, the professor offered me extra guidance and support. He provided additional resources for self-care and stress management, recommending books, articles, and exercises that helped me navigate my emotional challenges. He also organized activities that fostered intercultural understanding and friendship among students. Through these initiatives, I am able to connect with peers from different backgrounds and form a support system that helps me feel less alone.
There is one more teacher who played a vital role in helping me overcome depression, negative feelings, and the longing for my family. Her name is Professor Elena Markova, who taught Foreign Language Teaching to Younger and Adult Learners in Different Contexts. Professor Markova had a deep understanding of the challenges faced by international students, particularly those living far away from their families. Recognizing my need for emotional support, Professor Markova extended her role as a teacher by providing guidance on how to cope with depression and negative feelings. She also encouraged me to actively engage in extracurricular activities and take advantage of the university's resources. She recommended joining student clubs, attending cultural events, and participating in community activities that could help me form new connections and combat feelings of isolation. Outside the classroom, Professor Markova made herself available for one-on-one conversations with me. She provided a safe space where I could express my emotions and concerns without judgment. Professor Markova listened attentively, offering words of encouragement, empathy, and practical advice. Over time, with Professor Markova's guidance, I began to develop a sense of resilience and found the strength to overcome my depression and negative feelings. I realized that I was not alone and that there are people like Professor Markova who genuinely care about my well-being.
As the days turned into weeks and the weeks into months, my classmates at HSE University became an integral part of my support system. They recognized my struggles, reached out to offer a helping hand, and encouraged me to engage in social activities. Over time, we developed strong bonds, and what started as a group of acquaintances turned into a close-knit circle of friends. After classes, I and my classmates would often gather to unwind and enjoy each other's company. We explored the vibrant city of Moscow together, discovering hidden gems, trying new cuisines, and immersing ourselves in the local culture. These outings provided a much-needed respite from the pressures of academic life. Together, we navigated the highs and lows of our academic journeys, supporting one another every step of the way.
As the first year of my master's program drew to a close, I looked back at the transformation I had undergone. My journey at HSE University had not only equipped me with knowledge and skills but also gifted me with a loving, caring, and wonderful new family. They had transformed my experience, turning what had initially seemed like an overwhelming and isolating journey into a time of growth, connection, and happiness.