• A
  • A
  • A
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
Regular version of the site

‘Embarking on This Journey Has Truly Changed Me in the Best Possible Ways’

‘Embarking on This Journey Has Truly Changed Me in the Best Possible Ways’


Students of the English-language master's programme ‘Population and Development’ study issues related to the impact of demographic processes on a country's social development, as well as learn how to develop the relevant administrative measures to ensure sustainable development. Below, the programme's academic supervisor and international students provide more information about the programme and studies in Moscow.

Yassir Mohammed, 37, Sudan

I am a research assistant at the HSE Vishnevsky Institute of Demography. I specialise in migration studies.

I learned about HSE University from a scholarship listing website where I read a lot of good things about the university. Then I googled HSE University, created a profile and applied. In 2019, I received two admission offers, but ultimately decided to choose HSE. I chose the Population and Development programme because of its design and the prospective outcomes I could gain after graduation. One of the most exciting things about the programme is its strategy.

In my first year, I studied various courses including the Theory and Practice of Public Administration, Public Economics, Demography, Statistical Analysis and Statistical Packages, Population Change, and Economic Development. In the second semester, we were given the opportunity to choose four elective courses. I selected Gender and Development, Migration and Development, Sustainable Development, and one MAGOLEGO course—Psychology of Sustainability. In my second year, I chose four different courses: Humanitarian Action, Non-Governmental Organisations as Agents of Development, Health Systems and Health Policy, and Ethnoconflictology.

I took advantage of the opportunity to study Russian language free of charge with HSE University, which was very helpful

I enjoyed all of the courses that I chose. However, during my first year, I suggested that we extend the demography course as it was one of the best courses that I had studied, and I believed that it would be useful in the future based on my previous work experience. Unfortunately, we only had one semester to cover the material, which felt rushed. Despite this, all of the classes were well-structured and easy to follow, although there were many homework assignments. All of the teachers were excellent, and I appreciate them all, especially Vladimir Kozlov, who was my supervisor. Sadly, he has since left the university. I would also like to mention the programme manager, Ekaterina Cheklina, who is an exceptionally hard worker with excellent administration skills.

My initial difficulties were learning the Russian language and adapting to the teaching methods used in HSE's Russian classes. I currently reside in the Lyublino doctoral dormitory in Moscow and have enjoyed living here for the past two years. During this time, I have explored many new places in the city and have become familiar with various locations to visit. I frequently go out with my friend Musa from Nigeria to take photos.

Now I am studying Russian at a low intermediate level and I am planning to strengthen my language skills for my future plans. My goal is to become an official HSE lecturer

I would like to share my new experience, as challenges make you better. I would suggest that when you come to a new country, try to work on the language if it is not your mother tongue. One of the common feelings that many students experience when they come to this university is not understanding what other students or lecturers are saying due to differences in educational backgrounds.

Lana Al-Halabi, 28, Syria

I learned about HSE completely by chance while doing an online search for good graduate programmes around the world. Upon stumbling onto HSE University, I was intrigued by its diverse programmes and community. And what really convinced me to go for it was the promise of adventure and culture that awaited me in Moscow.

I chose the Population and Development programme due to the various perspectives and methods that are taught throughout the course, and that was indeed the most exciting part about it

Even though the programme was challenging, the professors' assistance and guidance has been extremely valuable. It's tough to choose a favourite class from the fascinating array we were offered, but if I had to, I would select Global Political Economics, Time in Social Sciences, Humanitarian Actions, and Public Sector Economics since they were immersive and equipped me with essential critical thinking skills.

Moscow, with its gorgeous architecture and colourful spaces, has become perhaps one of my favourite cities in the world. One of my favourite things about it is that wherever you go, you will hear music being played in the streets

Lana Al-Halabi
Photo courtesy of Lana Al-Halabi

Unfortunately, my Russian is not so great—I am a beginner at best, but that is because I was unable to live in Russia continuously throughout my programme. However, I have made a vow to myself to continue to learn the language as I believe it to be an asset. Speaking of my plans for the future, I hope to begin my own development consulting agency and have it flourish in ten years’ time to become an international entity.

Embarking on this journey has truly changed me in the best possible ways. I will forever be grateful for the time I spent with HSE and will always look fondly on my time here in Moscow.

Alexander Larionov, Academic Supervisor, master’s programme in Population and Development

Students in our programme study subjects related to three key aspects: population, public administration, and development. This allows them to use their knowledge to achieve population development goals after graduation. Graduates of the programme receive a master’s degree in ‘Public Administration’.

The education is entirely in English, which allows students not only to gain specialised knowledge in the field of managing demographic processes, but also to improve their English skills. Students gain a unique experience of learning in a foreign language.

Most of our learners are international students. Communication between students from different countries increases social capital and broadens horizons through getting to know various cultures

The courses taught on the programme are aimed at studying current demographic and social issues and include such subjects as 'Public Sector Economics', 'Demography', 'Population and Development', 'Measurement of Poverty and Inequality'. Economic disciplines are also taught, allowing students to acquire skills in quantitative and qualitative analysis. As a result, students possess a wide range of tools for analysing various problems in the field of population and social development.

Students of the programme engage in research, as well as applied projects. A list of projects is specifically developed for students on our programme, including assignments by the Semashko Research Institute, Moscow State University, and Sechenov University on the topics of public administration, quality of life, and public health.

Participation in the projects allows students to gain practical skills in problem-solving that are in demand among various employers

Graduates of the programme work in governmental bodies and non-profit organisations that tackle social problems. A significant share of graduates continue their education to pursue a PhD.

See also:

‘Oh My, I’m Doing It Exactly that Way’: Non-Verbal Communication Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

On November 24, a unique event for HSE international students—a practice-oriented training session on ‘How to Make a Good Impression in an Interview: Non-Verbal Communication’—took place at HSE University. Natalia Trubnikova, author of the training, covered the basics of nonverbal communication and body language; non-verbal mistakes that lead to difficulties, misunderstandings and communication failures; cross-cultural features of sign language, speed and manner of gesticulation, speech features; nonverbal tips and tricks to convey your point of view, and much more. Together with the expert, HSE students worked on self-confidence and solved real communication cases.

Russian Speaking Club: Practicing the Language and Meeting New Friends

For HSE Preparatory Year students, the Russian Speaking Club is a way to improve their language proficiency in a relaxed atmosphere. At this year’s first such event, they discussed online communications and social media. Michael Dzodzoe from Ghana and Leen Sabbagh from Syria shared their impressions with the HSE News Service.

‘My Prep Year Experience Has Been Phenomenal; I Would Repeat It All over Again if I Could’

The International Preparatory Year programme held its graduation ceremony in July. This academic year, 125 students from 50 countries were enrolled in the programme. They will continue their studies at Russian universities, most of them pursuing bachelor's and master's programmes at HSE University. The graduation was organised as a quest, where the students were able to demonstrate their achievements in learning the Russian language. Graduates from Ecuador, Syria, and Mexico shared their impressions with the HSE News Service, Deputy Director Polina Shanko talked about plans for the coming year, and mathematics teacher Vladimir Gordin gave his advice to future students.

Festival in Tula Welcomes Future HSE University International Students

In December, HSE Preparatory Year students travelled to Tula to attend an international student festival. They got to know the ancient Russian city, presented their cultures at the festival, and participated in a student concert. Students from Macedonia, Syria and China shared their impressions about the event with the HSE News Service, while Russian teacher Anastasiya Zinchenko spoke about how such trips broaden the students’ outlook on the country and make them a better team.

HSE University Hosts Syrian Delegation Led by Minister of Education

On October 11, HSE University hosted a delegation of the Syrian Arab Republic at the building on Pokrovsky Bulvar. During the meeting, they discussed education and the continuing cooperation between HSE University and Damascus University.

‘Love and Devotion to the Motherland Are Fundamental Values in Islam’

The School of Asian Studies of HSE Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs hosted a lecture by Mohammed Abdul Sattar al-Sayyed, Minister of Awqaf (Religious Endowments) of Syria, and holder of a PhD in Islamic Studies. He told HSE students and experts about state-confessional relations in the republic.

'I Believe That at HSE University, You Can Grow Bigger'

Tharaa Ali, from Syria, got her Master’s in Moscow and is now a first-year PhD student in informatics and computer engineering at HSE University. Below, she talks about the use of AI in learning, winning scholarships, and doing research at HSE University.

Kadri Jamil: ‘Economic Growth is Impossible without Social Justice’

On December 16th 2011, a roundtable discussion summarizing a cycle of open lectures by Kadri Jamil, Professor at the Institute for Socio-Economic Development Planning in Damascus, on the current political situation in Syria and other Middle Eastern countries, took place at the HSE School of Asian Studies.