Syrian student shares her experience of studying at MGSU
MGSU international activity is one of the essential parts of the training of highly qualified specialists. As a modern University with international focus, MGSU has wide contacts with universities, scientific and research institutes, building companies from neighboring and far-abroad states. The University takes part in various international projects and offers a wide range of educational programs for foreign students MGSU is actively cooperating with foreign institutes of higher education from 23 countries of the world, universities of Syria are among them.
Today we would like to share an interview with Yara Usef, one of MGSU international educational program students from Syria. She is the 4th year student of graduate school of the Institute of Hydraulic Engineering and Power Plant Construction.
Yara was at the top of the ranking of the bachelor`s students at the Tishreen University in Syria. This allowed her to take part in the exchange program and continue her education in Russia. She received Master`s degree with honors at MGSU and today does her studies at the Institute of Hydraulic Engineering and Power Plant Construction graduate school. During the years of study at MGSU Yara Usef has made a great contribution to the science and popularization of Russian culture.
We interviewed her about academic achievements, her love to Russian culture and the process of obtaining Russian citizenship.
- Let's begin with your school studies. What was your favorite subject?
- I really love learning languages, that`s why my favorite subject at school was Arabic.
- Sounds exciting! Russian and Arabic are one of the most difficult languages in the world!
Foreigners are more often choosing Russian universities for various reasons: some like the country and its culture; others go for high-quality education. Yara, why did you decide to study in Russia?
- When I received my Bachelor's degree in Hydraulic Engineering in Syria, I was offered to continue higher education abroad under the exchange program in Russia. Many of my relatives studied in Russia. A case in point is my uncle, who obtained Bachelor’s degree in the USSR. He told me a lot about Russian culture and spoke warmly about the country. Therefore, I decided to pass an exam at the Russian Center for Science and Culture in Damascus, I received a rather high score. This allowed me to enter MGSU and I gladly came to Russia.
- It’s so fascinating! We think many people have a question: why did such a beautiful and delicate girl choose to study at the engineering and technical university?
- In my opinion, jobs can’t be categorized into jobs for men or women only. If a woman believes in herself, she can be successful in any field. I chose such a rare specialty as Hydraulic Engineering because of it being in demand all over the world. This specialty seems very promising in Russia, too.
- That`s true. After getting Master`s degree many people prefer to start their career. Why did you decide to continue your postgraduate studies?
- Education is very important for a woman and it plays a big role in her future success in life. If I have the opportunity to continue my studies, I want to pursue a doctorate degree at MGSU.
- Were there any difficulties with adaptation to student life in Russia?
- Of course there were, especially in the beginning. First, I experienced the language barrier. I studied Russian in Syria for a bit more than a month, obviously it was not enough. Also there were difficulties with acclimatization as Syria has milder climate than Russia.
I would like to thank the teaching staff of the Department of Russian as a Foreign Language at MGSU. They help foreigners adapt in Russia by organizing various events, tours, etc.
For example, I was invited to participate in volunteer work in the Orthodox churches restoration in the Moscow region. It took place during the pandemic in 2020, when everyone were not leaving homes and practically did not communicate with anyone. I decided to take a chance and now I am engaged in volunteer work as a part of the international team of the Russian-Chinese cultural center "Firebird." This organization also helped me better understand Russian culture.
- It sounds great. Can you tell me more about your activity as a volunteer?
- During the work in the restoration of Orthodox churches the architect and I measured the overall dimensions of the Church in the village Orekhovo (Rzhevsky District, Tver Region), then drew its plan and facades in Autokad. Besides, I worked with my hands: I collected bricks, cut weeds, painted the walls of temples with lime mortar and was on duty in the kitchen.
- You have reached great heights in science and contributed to the popularization of Russian culture in addition to your achievements in volunteering. When did you decide to engage in research activities?
- I believe that not only beauty will save the world, but so will science! Thanks to scientific achievements and discoveries, humanity lives in a more developed and secure world. I took part in many foreign and Russian scientific conferences, such as:
o The XXIV International scientific conference “Construction. Forming living environment”;
o The IV all-Russian scientific and practical seminar dedicated to the 100th anniversary of MGSU;
o V International Student Scientific Conference "Russian Language in My Country”. - I made a presentation on the topic: "Russian in Syria: a brief review. Prospects for the Russian language in the field of construction". I received special recognition for my contribution to the popularization of the Russian language.
However, I couldn’t have done it all by myself. My supervisor Viktor V. Tolstikov helped me edit articles and carry out calculations, Larisa Y. Semyonova has been helpful with the Russian language.
- Is there a minute to rest in such a busy schedule? If so, what are you into in your free time?
- I really like to visit museums and galleries. For example, I was excited when visiting the mini-museum "Salt" in Myshkin. This is a small museum where a variety of interesting salt shakers is collected. I advise everyone to visit it. I especially remember the proverb from the museum related to salt: "A woman without shame is like food without salt".
- Do you find time to work in your stacked schedule?
- In 2016 I worked for a year as a teacher of the "Hydraulics and Hydraulic Structures" course at the Tishreen University (Latakia, Syria) then continued my studies in Russia. Today I study in graduate school at the Institute of Hydraulic Engineering and Power Plant Construction and I don’t have much free time. But after my studies I dream of getting a job at MGSU.
I am so thankful to the University! Now I understand what the phrase “I can do everything with MGSU” means: with the knowledge gained here, I became a Russian citizen under the program for obtaining Russian citizenship for highly qualified foreign specialists.
- We wish you good luck and hope you will get the job of your dreams at MGSU. Are you planning to go back to your motherland?
- I want to get experience in Russia using the knowledge in the field of hydraulic engineering received at MGSU. Then I’m going to share it with students and researchers in Syria. I hope that I can actively participate in the restoration of my homeland sites.
- That's a great goal! Yara, in the conclusion of our interview, what advice can you give to foreign students?
- Russia is a country of opportunities that respects and supports creative potential of people. Use all these opportunities, love Russia and it will definitely love you back! Good luck!
- Thank you for this interesting conversation. We wish you good luck and success in your professional activities!