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‘Summer in Russia Has Been the Most Adventurous Holiday in My Life’

Sheripher Dinala

Sheripher Dinala
Photo courtesy of Sheripher Dinala

Sheripher Dinala, from Malawi, is a student of the Master’s in Political Analysis and Public Policy at HSE University in Moscow. With her busy summer over and the new academic year in full swing, Sheripher shares her stories of moving into a university dormitory, volunteering at international conferences, and nighttime dancing by the Moscow River.

Life in the Dorm

When I heard that I had won the Open Doors Olympiad, I was so excited and looking forward to finally realising my dream of enhancing my career abroad. However, the excitement was short lived once I started thinking about what is to come, leaving my comfort zone, going to a foreign country, living with people different from my culture.

I did all the preparations and it was time to leave home. I had lots of goodbyes and best wishes. I was really anxious to get to my new home for the next three years.

Finally, I arrived at my destination, Dorm 7. To my surprise, the people on the reception were very helpful and cheerful. They helped me with my bags. The dormitory administrator welcomed me in her office. The registration process was done in no time, and I was finally led to my room.

In my room, I found my roommate waiting for me. She gladly welcomed me and showed me around. I liked my room—it’s so spacious and has all the amenities needed to make my stay comfortable, including a fridge. I was led to a room to collect my bedding, which was fresh and clean.

To be honest, all my fears were eroded thanks to how I was welcomed into my new home

I have friends from all walks of life, including Russians. Most of the time, we have interesting conversations in the kitchen. I have tried different cuisines from Russia and other countries. And I do not regret my choice to study with HSE.

Moscow in Summer

Moscow is commonly known for its cold weather. When I was coming to Russia, I was warned about the cold weather. One thing that people did not tell me about is the summertime. 

Now that I was finally staying in this beautiful city, I started hearing these nice stories about summer. I was really looking forward to immersing myself in the beautiful weather.

There are so many things that you can occupy yourself with, from walking in beautiful, flowery parks to boats rides and festivals

One fun thing you can do is to ride scooters and rented bicycles around the city, especially to appreciate the city at night.

If you like dancing, the summer holiday is the best time to do this by the Moscow river at night. You can dance salsa, Bachata and some local Russian traditional dances. I had great time during summer—I went out every weekend to dance.

Summer Travels in Russia

Summer in Russia has been the most adventurous holiday in my life. I had the opportunity to visit St Petersburg. If you want to know more about Russia’s history, you have to visit this city. I also had the opportunity to experience the ‘white nights’ in St Petersburg.

During my preparatory year, I learnt so many things about St Petersburg, including how it was founded by Peter the Great. I was so looking forward to the visit to see the historical features of this beautiful city. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to attend the 2023 African-Russian Humanitarian Forum held in St Petersburg.

Participants of the forum were invited to visit the most famous cultural places for free. It was an opportunity to learn more about Russian culture and history

The places I visited were as follows:

  • The Russian Museum of Ethnography, one of the largest ethnographic museums in the world. It has a collection of about 500,000 items.
  • Gatchina Palace, an imperial residence closely linked to the names of Paul I and Alexander III.
  • The Catherine Palace, which represents Russian artistic culture of the 18–20th centuries and is a true masterpiece of Russian Baroque.
  • St Isaac’s Cathedral, which ranks among the world’s tallest dome structures. It is St Petersburg’s largest Orthodox cathedral, and is now a museum.

Working During Summer

Studying at HSE has given me an opportunity to attend some international conferences as a volunteer and also as a participant. The first international meeting I attended was the Eurasian Economic Forum. Then I attended the Future Technologies Forum in July. I volunteered at the Agro-Expo 2023 organised by HSE University in collaboration with FAO.

I recently had the opportunity to attend the Africa-Russia Humanitarian Forum held in St Petersburg, which brought together more than 5,000 participants from across the world

Volunteering for the Moscow Urban Forum 2023 was my most thrilling experience in Russia and Moscow. It is an international forum on urbanisation issues held in Moscow annually under the auspices of the Government of Moscow. I also volunteered for the Moscow Day celebrations.

One of my hobbies is to interact with people. These platforms give me a fulfilling life because I get to do the things I like most, building networks with people from Russia and other countries.

All these platforms have given me an opportunity to keep up with the latest global issues and learn more about Russian culture, history, technological development  and the Russian economy. 

What I like About Studying

HSE is a high-ranked university in Russia with experienced teachers who are ready to assist. It is a diverse university with international students from across the continents.

As a student, I have great opportunities for internships related to my field of study thanks to the agreements that HSE has with companies and organisations across the country

One of the most important things I like about HSE is that it is a university moving with modern and up-to-date knowledge and technology in research and development. It also gives students an opportunity to take part in exchange programmes at other universities across the world. It is my dream to use this opportunity as an HSE student.

If you really want to feel a sense of belonging with HSE, joining different student clubs is a good idea.

Future Plans

I would like to continue my studies and build my career with HSE University. I am planning to study my PhD with the university once I finish my master’s.

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