An International Student's Life in Russia
Sure, my name is Esther Chinonyerem Ajuzie. I'm from Nigeria and I'm currently a first year master's student at Foreign Languages and Intercultural Communication Program at the Higher School of Economics Moscow.
I'm currently studying Spanish but I speak French, English and of course a bit of Russian.
It's been a pop of emotions, some days are hard, other days are slightly easier and the rest are survivable. Living as an international student here is a difficult task, especially if you do not speak or understand the Russian Language.
Well, my father always says that if something is worth doing, then it should be done properly. So I have to take charge of my life and adapt to my new environment.
Let's say, this is the second time I'm coming to Russia. The first time was in September of 2017 but I left a year after and the second time was in December of 2021.
For me, Russia was love at first sight. I fell in love with the language so it was just as easy to like the country. Although the first time I arrived in Russia, it was for the Russian Language Immersion program. My stay was really pleasant and I found Russians really welcoming, contrary to popular opinion and stereotypes about them. So after my bachelor's degree, I wanted to get a Master's degree, Russia was obviously the best and only choice for me. Along the line, due to family pressure, I applied for schools in the United States and I got a couple of them, but none came close to the Higher School of Economics, so I declined them.
I still have the same opinion. The Russians are welcoming. Maybe not necessarily at the first encounter but overtime, if they realize you are a good and kind person, they will naturally warm up to you. Also, you can't expect warmth and kindness from them if you don't show it.
It will depend on the holiday, but there's beauty in diversity and like I said, there's beauty in diversity, so I'll most likely spend time with each of them at different times.
Well, that'll be a big, fat NO. I'm nowhere close to being good at Russian. With the six cases and all the immense vocabulary, I think I have a long way to go. But not to discredit myself, I can at least hold a 1 hour conversation.
Well, it is what it is!
I'd rate my adaptation skills at a 7, because I'm still in the process, not there yet, but I must commend myself for doing a good job so far.
That would be 1000 rubles per tip)
I sure do! Well, some adaptation tips will be to never be afraid to try something new, be welcoming to others and they'll reciprocate the same (sometimes they won't, but it's fine), as much as you try to focus on your studies, which is the primary reason for your being here, create some time to unwind as it helps one relax.
I'm a very inquisitive and curious person, I always like to try out new things, so Russian food was not an exception. The first Russian food I tried was the legendary "Salad Olivier". It wasn't just a salad to me, because it had a very sweet savor that I hadn't gotten from other salads in the past, it was very different and unique. Safe to say, it still tops my personal chart of best Russian food. The next will be "Pelmeni", these are a type of dumplings with minced meat. Have them hot and thank me later.
You're most welcome and while you're at it, you might want to try out the Russian pancakes called "Blini". These are actually delicious and they are eaten one week before the start of spring during the occasion of Maslenitsa (Spring Celebration).
As a person of color and an international student, I find it normal that people stare at me at the train stations, malls, metros, and so on, due to my skin color, so I do not find it offensive at all. It's nice to be the center of attention once in a while! About discrimination and racism, I'd say I've never really experienced it but I've heard stories from other people of color. It's an existential fact in every country, as long as there are people from different countries, races, backgrounds, skin colors, etc, discrimination and racism are bound to exist.
Yes, yes and yes!I get lots of help from my Russian friends, I get lots of help in stores, malls and even on the streets, when I'm carrying some heavy bags. At first encounter, most indigenes assume I don't understand Russian and they try to speak English to me just so I can "understand" them and feel comfortable. Also on several occasions, I've met people who were surprised at the fact that I am a student of the Higher School of Economics. Apparently, it's a big flex to be a student of HSE around here, because it's quite hard to get in, so most people are rather impressed and surprised that a person of "color" could be a student of HSE! So I carry my shoulders high with a great sense of pride.
HSE is not for the feeble, nor for the lazy. HSE is for the tough and strong. I've never been in a University that pushes me almost to my breaking point just to get the best out of me! It's just like how you refine raw gold and make it pass through fire till it's pure. Also the study plan is quite favorable for me as a master's student, because I get to run my little business in the daytime and then study in the evening, so it's a win-win.
My happiest moment would be the day I won the Miss Africa Belgorod 2018 title. It was a dream come true. However, the saddest moment was when a close friend of mine got arrested, it was a nightmare I'd never want to relive again.
Well, I just have a little catering/pastries business where I make African and Intercontinental dishes for people who wouldn't have time to cook due to intense school and work schedules, etc. I also bake cakes and make pastries for birthdays and events, too.
There's a saying that: "all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy". I would like to be like Jack, so I try to make time to visit friends, go to some events, go to church and also rest at home.
I'm not a big shot, really. I'm just a young lady who's trying to get the most out of life and taking every day at a time,step by step. The advice I'll give our readers, especially those who are planning to come here will be: Nothing good comes easy, you need to be willing to put in the work, if you want good results and do not be afraid of change!
Thanks for having me!