National Research University - Higher School of Economics (HSE), Russia: Study Experience of Juniar -

National Research University - Higher School of Economics (HSE), Russia: Study Experience of Juniar

Juniar pursued her Master's degree in Political Analysis and Public Policy at National Research University - Higher School of Economics (HSE). She found this programme via Studyportals. We asked Juniar about her experience of searching and applying to a university abroad.

Tell us a bit about yourself. What is your name? How old are you? Where are you from?

Hello guys, my name is Juniar Laraswanda Umagapi, you can call me Wanda. I am 22 years old this year and I am from Ternate, the small city in East Indonesia.

Where are/were you studying and what programme? What degree and how long is your programme?

Now I am studying for my Master's degree in Moscow, Russia. I take Master's in Political Analysis and Public Policy in National Research University - Higher School of Economics (HSE), Moscow for two years.

Why did you want to study abroad?

Why I want to study abroad, its not a difficult question but need a long answer. I want to study abroad actually to challenge myself, I want to take the challenge to survive in other countries.

I really like to meet new people, study their culture, religion, behavior which is so different with my country in Indonesia. I want to be independent and of course because the system of education is really good abroad.

Studying abroad actually not really my dream, I just want to do something which has big values from my life. Studying abroad teaches me how to be myself, how to live without depending on the others. However, you still need the other friends help here.

I like the style of studying here which is totally different with my country but also his a little bit similar.

What were your main priorities when choosing your university and your programme (e.g. academics, accommodation, university services & facilities, personal & professional development, city & culture, cost & funding, practicalities, social life)?

I chose my university actually thanks to the subject itself, I don’t know the other universities but look at the title of Master in Political Analysis and Public Policy. It makes me want to know how to study politics and public policy in one term.

And of course actually the university, HSE proved to be one of the best universities in Russia and also in BRICS. The facilities in my university are very good, I can do anything, they provide printing machine, scan, water, and of course the best cafeteria.

You can find everything in my university. The buildings are also separated from each other. I study in the new building which is near the main building and the other building is separated around Moscow. Regarding cost and funding because I study with scholarship through the Russian government scheme in HSE, so I am not paying for my study and get my monthly stipend also.

Based on Indonesian eyes the dormitory looks like apartment a little bit but not so expensive apartment. In the room they provide everything like fridge, cupboard, bed, pillow and of course bathroom. The room also big, we have a laundry room, kitchen, study room, iron in every floor.

So when you decide to move you just bring your clothes and that's enough. Russian people respect each other, they don't judge you based on your culture or religion. As a Muslim woman, I found out that Russian people really don't care where are you come from, they are nice and friendly people.

I really like all my classmates because we all from different countries and background so the way we are thinking also differently, that's why it's really interesting to me.

Was this your first study choice? What other universities did you consider? What was the main reason of your final choice?

This is not my first choice, I chose Spain and Romania as my first choice. Why? The answer is simple. That’s because of the culture. I have a several reason to choose Romania, I like the view and the environment.

I don’t like to choose a country where the environment to study is not so good and crowded and avoid I mainstream countries. I already got the recommendation letter for the scholarship in Romania from the Romanian government itself but, because of some reason, I cannot send my application and I regret that.

After that, I applied for several universities in the United Kingdom such as University College London, Glasgow, Goldsmith, SHU, Westminster and get the LOA already but I am still in the process of getting the scholarship.

While I was waiting for my scholarship announcement during that time I got an email from my campus that I was selected through the Russian scholarship scheme 2015 so I took it. I am not the kind of person who spends a lot of time to think and decide something even if I will regret in the end, but I believe in every decision I make.

Did you know from the start that you wanted to study in that particular country and city? Why did you choose this particular location?

Actually from the first time, I didn't really care about which country I will be studying in for my Master's degree.

I chose Russia and especially Moscow because I know that there are many possibilities there and I have the chance to do my work and internship in Moscow. I chose Russia because of its history, higher education system, the people and during my study for Bachelor's degree we always talked about Russia.

How did Studyportals help you in your decision process?

Studyportals helped me make my decision because it was the place where I first saw my programme. I still remember I read every word in the brief review about my university on Studyportals.

Did you take a language test (e.g. TOEFL, IELTS) when applying for the programme? If yes, which one did you choose, why and how was your experience with it?

I took my language test because my programme is taught in English. I chose IELTS because mostly many countries will ask to submit our IELTS score. I can say that IELTS is difficult in some parts, but TOEFL is also difficult to others.

The way to deal with it was to practice and study before I took my Bachelor's degree which was five years ago. My English was zero. But after I took my study in International Relations, my English improved and I practice every day to survive in my studies.

You can open many websites or Google about IELTS and study it or they also have on YouTube information about the four components of IELTS such as speaking, writing, reading and listening.

Book an IELTS test in your country!

What would be your advice for students from your country that consider studying abroad?

For all my friends from Indonesia who want to study abroad, just remember one thing: the mind is important. In my university, we need someone unbreakable because if not they will give up in the end. The study programme is different; they need people to have a fast-thinker and decision-maker.

And don’t forget to respect each other's culture. No person is perfect, we cannot say that our religion is the best religion in the world, we cannot think that our culture is better than theirs. Please respect each other and socialize with others so you will have many friends in other countries.

How did you finance your stay abroad and what financial advice would you give to future students?

There are two ways to study here. The first one is scholarship. Firstly, scholarship. Like what I got, I got a scholarship for study here, and other expenses are paid by the local governance. There are many scholarships from the Russian and Indonesian government like LPDP to study in Russia so don’t forget to apply.

The second is self-finance study. Actually, the fee is expensive and the daily amount depends on us. You can always cook in the dormitory so it will reduce the cost of course and try to save your money. You can work here but mostly they need someone who can speak Russian so please before come here, study basic Russian so you will not get lost like me.

Why would you (not) recommend this particular city / university? How would you rate your experience on a scale from zero to ten (0 – It was a total disaster, 10 – I had the time of my life)?

I can say that I am very confident that my experience I got me here. The people from Moscow are very open minded but the problem maybe only the language barrier but mostly there are not big problems happening. I will give my experience here 10 points. I joined many organizations, I still want to make friends and know Russian.

Is there anything that you would do differently if you could do it over again?

I would have studied English from junior high school so that my English would've been better when I decided to go abroad.

What was the biggest surprise in your study abroad adventure?

The biggest surprise to me was the weather, it's so different than Indonesia, where it is very hot. Here I know what a big painful winter looks like. You even wear many clothes, because the Moscow weather in winter is very dangerous.

Were you inspired by Wanda's story?

Find Masters in Political Science

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