A year’s adventure in Russia with HSE

Haiwei Liu, an exchange student from Guangzhou University (China), tells about her 2021/2022 academic year at HSE University Moscow.

In September 2021, I came to Russia for the first time with curiosity. I was glad I could be an exchange student of HSE. I never thought the exchange year would be so amazing!


There were various English-taught courses I could choose. For example, I studied such courses as International Business, Branding, Strategic Management, Marketing Strategy, Business Communication and some other. During the pandemic, I chose online courses mostly. So most of the time, I didn’t have to go to the campus but used my laptop to attend the classes.

Although we communicated online, teachers and students still had good interactions. During seminars, we students would discuss in groups and we had assignments to finish in groups after classes. When students had problems, the professors were willing to answer the problems patiently both in the class and via email. So I gained various knowledge through studying in HSE.

Life in Moscow

Moscow is famous for Red Square and the artistic metro stations. The days were so long in summer while the nights were so long in winter. I liked to go for a walk in Moscow during summer days and it was chilling. In winter, we could go skiing and skating in Moscow. What’s more, going to the theater to watch ballet performance and going to museums were also great.


It was easy to make friends from all over the world in HSE! Once the semester began, HSE started to hold many parties for international students (and students organized many parties ourselves too. Me and my friends had different cultural backgrounds, but we enjoyed hanging out together. We ate together, we went to bars and clubs together, we had fun together. We also liked to discuss the cultural differences among our countries. It was really an interesting topic, we found out that there were so many stereotypes of our countries that we didn’t know.

Although I didn’t speak Russian, Russians were friendly and I believed the language was not a problem for making friends. The weather in Russia was cold, but the friends there were the warmest!


I got the chance to live in Russia, and I had to seize the chance to travel across Russia! Apart from Moscow, I’ve been to Saint Petersburg, Sochi, Murmansk, Crimea and so on. Moscow was my favourite city in Russia, Saint Petersburg has the most beautiful churches and Murmansk was the most magical one. Murmansk was a snow world in the Arctic Circle, we looked for northern lights there and we saw whales there. Also, I did the bungee jump in Sochi. Travelling was always a way to broaden our horizons. During the travelling, I got to know both Russia and myself better. Russia is really a beautiful country. HSE is really an international and friendly community.

I am super lucky that I was a member of HSE family. I hope I can maintain the friendships I got from there forever. At last, I want to thank SIMO office for all the help I got from there.