This interview was conducted by Godfred Ohemeng Abrokwa a student of Higher School of Economics, Moscow-Russia. The respondent was Numfour Njei, a graduate student of Higher School of Economics (National Research University). The results of this interview will help give more clarification and activities of the University, therefore, your answers are very important and highly appreciated.
1. What is your Name?
My name is Funwi Numfor Njei
2. Can you briefly talk about your country, previous education and background in academia?
My country is Cameroon, located in central Africa. With its political capital called Yaoundé and its Economic capital Douala. The current president of Cameroon is President Paul Biya. We have to two official languages in Cameroon, English and French languages. Cameroon has a diversity of cultures which make its people very diverse. Cameroon is divided into 10 regions which all have regional headquarters.
I studied at the University of Buea located in the South West Region of Cameroon with its regional capital call Buea. At the University of obtained I obtained Bachelors of Science degree in Sociology and Anthropology.
3. What is it like being an international student at HSE? Talk about things you have witnessed, problems with your stay, the obstacles you’ve had to overcome, and then offer some advice to future foreign students.
It’s a very exciting experience being an international student at HSE especially as HSE and the Ministry of Education in Russia try as much as possible to make life comfortable for international students through a series of efforts.
First international students in placed in affordable decent dormitory accommodations. There is the provision of social cards which enable international students to benefit from transportation at a reduced cost. Upon arrival at HSE, you are provided with a buddy who gives you assistance in handling administrative procedures like registration and getting around since the Russian language is the official language used here. Lecturers are very friendly and do all they can to give assistance to students at any time you have a difficulty in their course. For instance their respond to emails about difficulties in a course is immediate and if you cannot understand them on the email they schedule an appointment to meet you personally and still give you explanations. Classrooms are very neat and well kept. There is the wide usage of technological gadgets for studies. The major problems I have faced with my stay so far is the barrier communication which is strictly Russian and I am not versed with the language. Since the staff working at the dormitory only use the Russian language hence communications with them at times is challenging.
The weather in Russia during winter is normally extremely cold which is a challenge to coming from a country that is different in temperatures.
My advice for Foreign students is simple if you are interested in getting a quality education and you are ready to work hard without any complaints then HSE is the place for you. Come prepared to face challenges in communication since the Russian language is widely used everywhere here but if you can study a bit of Russian before your arrival that will be helpful to you. Also, come prepared with skills in computer usage this goes especially to African students since all the work here is done with the use of computers.
4. What is there to do when you’re bored on campus or dormitory? Where should we go to eat? Where do you most like spending your time? What are the best places to have coffee? What sports or extracurricular are available?
I do not really go out in Moscow because I prefer most of the time to cook my own food since it’s quite cheap. Russian supermarkets have a great variety of food stuff that is quite affordable and you can actually prepare a delicious meal for yourself without necessarily going out to eat. Again am very particular about the taste of food, I think I enjoy the uniqueness of my country's cuisine hence I just try to prepare my own food. Moreover, the language issue is a big challenge for me getting out to eat and trying to order food is a big issue.
When I am bored apart from listening to music and watching movies at the dormitory or talking to friends on the phone, I just go out take a ride in the Metro from one station to another. The metros are fascinating to me some of them with wonderful arts designs.
5. We all know that university students love going out. Tell us about the best places to go out, and have a great time. Tell us about the prices, music, venues, etc.
Going out could interesting in Moscow if you really know your way around and you can communicate so well. I can only move in the Metros since I have my map changing from one line to another getting out walking within the metro admiring the way the metro are designed and back to my dormitory. Going out to specific places is challenging since I cannot really express myself in the language I will be understood in.
6. Tell us a story of your experience with the Population and development course and Higher School of Economics. How did you decide on what to study? What do you want to do after you graduate? What were you worried about before starting university? How did it all turn out? What surprised you the most?
Oh, there are many interesting stories regarding my experiences with the population and development course and HSE as a whole. Experiences ranging from challenges with some courses to not being able to find your way to school or back to the dormitory during my first weeks in Moscow. There was a day I left school and got into the metro my intention was to head to my dormitory, I know the dormitory is on the orange line my challenge was knowing what point to stop since I was not so versed with my station stop point name. I had to move from one extreme on that line then got out went opposite getting out at every stop point and entering again till I got to my stop I recognized the painting in the station that was green, which was what I had noted. I got out so exhausted but determined to master the metro and its usage.
My decision on what to study was actually challenging because I wanted a course that will touch most important study aspects of the social sciences. While doing my research I discovered the population and development program was that program that focused on the demographic characteristics of a people while at the same time focusing on their political, social and economic aspects it was exactly what I needed.
I have plans of furthering my studies to the Ph.D. level after this phase. That depends on the fact that I get Ph.D. admissions If not I will have to concentrate on working.
I have so many worries before I began my studies here. Worries about who will be my lecturers will I be able to understand them, my course mates will it be easy to integrate with them make new friends, get help and be able to help others. Also what courses will I be studying how are they structured. Finally in when I got here while attending classes I just realized I was worried over nothing since worries were not supposed to be worries all actually went on well for me.
I actually cannot say I got surprised because in my mind I just knew I was coming to a society advanced in technology and different from mine hence the element of surprise was eliminated since I knew so many things will look and sound new to me.