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Regular version of the site

Chinese Student Makes the Most of His Semester in Moscow

Each year, numerous students from around the world come to study at HSE, both for entire programmes or for shorter periods. Yao Fan, a Chinese student who is based at the University of Sydney, is spending this semester studying philosophy and psychology at HSE before returning to Australia to complete his Honours study and pursue an academic career.

Like many international students at HSE, Fan is taking advantage of the university’s numerous English-taught courses, which he sees as challenging but nevertheless stimulating.

‘All my classmates are incredible’, he said enthusiastically during a recent conversation with the HSE news service. ‘They have really formed an active learning environment, where everyone participates a lot in class. I really enjoy studying with them. But I won't call it easy. The classes are unbelievably long. Generally, I have two classes together, if not three, which are 1.5 hours each with a ten-minute break in between’.

Despite the challenging nature of his programme, Fan still finds time to take advantage of Moscow’s rich cultural offerings. At the top of his list of favourites is theatre.

‘There are a lot of cultural events here, and I particularly enjoy the numerous theatre events available every night. Due to my personal interest in theatre, my favourite place is, not surprisingly, the Bolshoi. I also hang out a lot around the central area of Moscow near the Red Square to visit the interesting shops and bars. But if I had to recommend one thing about Russia, it would be the theatres’, he said.

Fan found adapting to life in Moscow surprisingly easy given that he hadn’t had any Russian language instruction before arriving for his semester at HSE. ‘Moscow has a better image than I imagined before. It's not hard to survive without knowing any Russian, and although not many people speak English on the street here, students at HSE speak really good English’.

Yet, despite the ease of adapting to life in Moscow, he misses some things greatly, particularly Chinese food. ‘I miss Chinese food a lot. As a philosophy student, I often think about Chinese Food Chauvinism’! he laughed. 

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