A Myanmar Student’s Life in Moscow
Wai Yan Phyo Naing from Yangon, Myanmar is a student of HSE Master’s programme in Socioeconomic and Political Development of Modern Asia of the Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs. He has told HSE News Service about the similarities and differences between his home city and Moscow.
My student life in Moscow is full of excitement. Before I arrived in Moscow, I had never been to foreign city. When I arrived at Domodedovo international airport, I noticed a smell that was really different from Asia. While transiting through Bangkok, I felt nothing different from my country, but in Moscow, when I arrived at the airport, I noticed a smell that reminded me that I was already in a European country. Everything was really different.
The next day after I arrived, I had to submit my documents at the international admissions office. When I took the metro to go to the main HSE building, I was shocked that each train comes on right time in every two minutes. Even though I come from a big city – the capital of my country – there is no good and comfortable public transportation like the Moscow Metro system. One thing that I do miss is the Asian style street food back home.
HSE has provided me with a place at a very good dormitory that is centrally located, and it takes no more 30 minutes by metro to get to the main HSE building. My dormitory is really close to the modern parts of Moscow – only a 15-minute walk; it is one of my favourite things about my dormitory.
In Moscow, most people do not want to speak English, which is a big difference from Yangon where people want to speak English. Here, they always prefer to use Russian, even at some international departments and events. Early on these situations were difficult, so you should try to learn some Russian before coming to Moscow. I use international sign language, Google Translate, and other translation applications whenever I meet Russian people. But this is also a good motivation to push me to learn Russian in the future.
Both Yangon and Moscow have very bad traffic, but the good metro system reduces traffic problems in Moscow. I can very easily reach every part of Moscow using metro in no more than 30 minutes. What I really like about Moscow is the many parks it has in every district. In Yangon, we have only few parks in the downtown area. The Moscow River is not as large as the Yangon River, but it is cleaner.
Moscow has given me a lot of knowledge from its wealth of cultural museums. The city has such rich cultural diversity; in Moscow, you can see various people from around the world. Over these two years, Russian language has been my only big challenge in Moscow. I like it enough that I have decided to look for opportunities to complete my PhD in Moscow when I finish my Master’s.
To students from Myanmar, please consider coming to Moscow for further study opportunities. What we used to know about Russia isn’t true; when you arrive in Moscow, you will surely see that it is clean, developed and modern. I like Moscow, and I like HSE – my university. I want all of you to share in this experience.