Xie Zhuoran: “I wanted to study a program that I'm interested in.”

Níhǎo (你好) from China! In a new segment of our series "Tomsk through the eyes of an international student" we introduce Xie Zhuoran, a third-year student of the Faculty of History and Political Studies studying history.

Xie Zhuoran is an example of a perfect student! His favorite activity is studying. He has not one certain favorite book, as he has a lot of favorite books. Special skills: being responsible, enjoying silence and history, and being optimistic even when it seems impossible. He considers Tomsk a good city, but then there’s the TV series “Chernobyl: Zone of Exclusion"... So, let's start in order!

My hometown is Heihe. It is located opposite the Russian city Blagoveshchensk situated on the banks of the Amur River. Heihe is also the Chinese name for the Amur, literally meaning “Black River”. Heihe is a large and academic city, like Tomsk, but in our city technical specialties prevail. Humanities have always been considered less valued in China, and many of our universities do not offer programs in history.

So I decided that if I wanted to go to a good university and study a program that I'm interested in, it would definitely be Russia. Moreover, I like Russian more than English. I knew that Tomsk universities provide a good education in the humanities, and when I sent a letter to TSU, I got a reply immediately. There are a lot of opportunities here, and I always receive help.

I think Tomsk is a good city. It's cold, but it's safe and it's quite easy to live here: for example, the delivery services are quick. I like the fact that people are always kind, not like in other cities. The only thing is that it is very difficult for an international student to rent an apartment, because there are many problems with registration. Tomsk has beautiful buildings and cheap food.

My program is quite challenging. The lecturers deliver the material very quickly. I am also the only one international student studying history in my group. My classmates at seminars answer quickly and they understand everything very well. It can be difficult for me to answer questions in Russian, because it requires a lot of language knowledge: I can understand questions, but sometimes I just cannot give an answer. However, I am a positive person: I realize that there are always some problems, and they cannot be solved in a short time.

Russian is not an easy language. It's really awful for me to take an oral exam. It is a real torture. I am very fond of studying, though it is a hard thing to do, but I really enjoy studying, doing research, and writing articles. I spend almost all my time studying, and there is nothing more interesting to me than studying. I believe that if I have made a choice, I must become a good student—it is my duty. I even dream about lectures and classrooms. Also, I am multilingual person: I can speak Russian, Korean, Chinese, and French.

When I have free time, I read history books. I read a lot, especially about subcultures in Russia, Japan, and anime. I am also interested in religious and cultural history. I like to study historical philosophy, Marxism, capitalism, and Stalinism (it very much influenced Chinese history). There are interdisciplinary classes that I also enjoy. For example, regional studies, sociology of philosophy, and political science. I also know a lot about Soviet and Russian imperial architecture.

I mainly listen to Japanese music: anime music, the band Goose House, the duo Yoasobi, and among Russian music I like Lyube. I watch movies and TV series in Russian with Chinese subtitles. I have recently become fascinated by science fiction, and I have fallen into the American series Star Trek. Russia has a very interesting cinematography: not all movies are impressive, but I was fascinated by the TV series “Chernobyl: Zone of Exclusion" and “The Dark Side of the Moon.” I also like the movies “August Eighth” and “Stalingrad.”