‘If You Can’t Apply Your Knowledge, It Is Like Leaving a Book in the Attic’
Xinyi Zhao, 23, is a second-year Master’s student in Comparative Social Research. Originally from Weihai, Shandong, China, she came to HSE University with a desire to turn theoretical knowledge into practical solutions. Xinyi spoke to the HSE News Service about the importance of utilising one’s learning, as well as why foreigners in Moscow shouldn’t be scared to ask for help.
Putting Knowledge into Practice
My undergraduate courses in Chinese language, literature, and political science were very theoretical. At that time, out of all my teachers, only my sociology teacher was interested in raising social issues before each class and letting everyone discuss them. This greatly stimulated my enthusiasm for using theory to solve social problems.
In Chinese, there is an idiom about ‘shelving knowledge in the attic’. If I cannot apply my knowledge, then my learning is like a book left in the attic. It cannot solve anything practical. Comparative social research is a discipline with strong social and practical significance.
Courses such as Social History and Gender Development have provided me with a grand and objective perspective while consistently enriching and improving my logic
In every problem, they are both forward looking and precise in controlling details.
Life in Moscow
At present, I live in Moscow, and it has made me feel the goodwill between people. My Russian is not good, but any friend who passes by is willing to help me carefully, regardless of whether it will delay them. Moscow is a place with excellent historical and cultural heritage. I have visited some museums and got a lot of inspiration—and culture shock. Of course, as a foreign student with poor language proficiency, adapting to the new language is a journey.
My personal advice is never to be scared to speak up. I have requested and received help countless times, and the kindness and patience of everyone has also made me cry countless times
Trust me: if you aren’t confident in your language ability, you can trust every introductory professor and classmate. And do not dwell on any problems. Life is about moving forward in the process of solving problems. Having the ability and opportunity to solve problems is a good thing for everyone.