International student’s experience at Nazarbayev University: Di Wang

The second guest of our project on interviewing students about their experience at Nazarbayev University (NU) is Di Wang, a second year student of Nazarbayev University School of Humanities and Social Sciences. She came from China to enter NU MA program on Eurasian Studies. You can find the first interview here.

Why did you choose NU? What influenced your choice?
- I had long been looking for a master program which focused either on Eurasian Studies or History because I wished to study the history of Central Asia. I got to know about NU through a post shared on social media. I browsed the website of the program and found the curriculum well-designed. In addition, my research interests were close to some professors, and the courses offered seemed to be very interesting. Besides, this program could give me an opportunity to live in the region which my research would be about. Therefore I applied without hesitation.

Tell us about application process. What did you start with?
- First I contacted the admissions office to ask about the application process and the specific materials that I should submit. I started preparing in mid-January which was two months before the deadline. The application process was smooth as most of the materials could be submitted online.

What knowledge and skills the MA program is giving you?
-I have learned a lot from this program: qualitative research skills, critical thinking skills, knowledge of general themes of Central Eurasia, knowledge of the major debates in the fields of sociology, anthropology and history, and the specific themes that I am doing research on. Besides, I also learned to manage my time well, be goal-oriented and stay confident.

What do you think of the professors and your peers in general?
-The professors are very knowledgeable and are always willing to help students when they have questions. My supervisors have been helping me with great efforts in my thesis writing process from the choosing of topics to the drafting up of results. As for my peers, I enjoy our discussion both in class and out of class. They are very intelligent and hardworking. I have made many friends not only with students in our program, but with undergraduate students as well.

What are your current and future research objectives?
- My master thesis focuses on the trade relations between the eastern Kazakh steppe and western China in the 19th century. I have done research in the national libraries of Kazakhstan and China, and the state archive in Almaty during the summer last year. Right now I am in the process of drafting up my findings and analysis until late April. I wish to continue doing research on trade networks and commodities in the future.

Would you recommend the program to others?
- I have recommended this program and NU to my friends in China. One of my friends is actually applying to one master program here this year. I hope more international students will join the NU community to study here in the future.

What are your plans after graduating NU?
-After graduating from NU, I will work for a year while preparing for my application to a doctoral program in History. Now I become more interested in the topics I am researching on than two years ago. I hope to continue my studies and research in the future.