A master’s student from Senegal, Nabi Ndur talks about his experiences in Russia and his studies at St Petersburg University. For the third time, St. Petersburg University has become Russia’s most popular university among international students. In addition, A total of 16,629 international student applied to study at the St Petersburg University, Russia.
Similarly, Mohammed Dit Nabi Ndur, a Senegalese master’s student at the St Petersburg University who is currently studying advertising and public relations (Corporate Communications and Advertising), is one of them. He explained to us how the pandemic impacted his decision to pursue a master’s degree in Russia, how to properly study Russian Language, and why Russian universities and courses are the best options to start your next education.
Where did you grow up?
I was born in Dakar, Senegal’s capital. I have a brother and four sisters, but we are a small family in Senegal.
My first schooling took place in Senegal, where I graduated from high school and enrolled in university to pursue a law degree. I was motivated by movies about Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela, and both were lawyers. I, too, aspired to be a lawyer, so I started my studies there. Three-year bachelor’s programs are available in Dakar. However, by my third year, life at university had become increasingly unsteady for student. Because things were complicated throughout the country, studies were frequently put on hold. That is why I chose to pursue my graduate studies rather than waste my time.
Why did you choose Russia for higher education?
A large number of student have left Senegal. The majority of their trips are to France or Canada. Some students have pursued their education in Russia, the United States, or other nations.
A friend of mine once paid me a visit.’Nabi, if you want to study abroad, why don’t you travel to Russia?’ he asked. ‘What is it like in Russia for student?’ I replied. That’s when I realized that I shouldn’t be wasting my time. Six months later, I traveled to Russia to pursue my bachelor’s degree.
In December, I arrived in Russia from Africa. I realized I’d be freezing to death here the instant I stepped out of the airport. This was the first time I had ever felt cold before, and it was horrifying. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon, and it was already dark! “God!” I screamed. “What exactly am I doing here?” That was my initial impression.
Further, I began learning the language in the city of Oryol, in Eagle City, Russia. I then enrolled at Ivanovo State University for a Bachelor in Advertising and Public Relations degree. I didn’t see the need for continuing my legal studies because the laws in Senegal and Russia are so dissimilar. ‘Nabi, you have to learn the subjects that you will need in the future,’ I told myself. ‘ But what exactly is this? Public relations (PR) is a term that refers to if I can’t be a lawyer, I can serve as a public relations consultant, which is similar to being a barrister even as he protects a company’s interests.
I received my bachelor’s degree and quickly realized that it was insufficient. I aspired to become a more knowledgeable professional.
What made you decide to pursue a master’s degree at St Petersburg University?
Initially, I had planned to pursue my bachelor’s degree in Canada. Further, I even had all of the required documentation on hand. So all I had to do was get on a plane. The pandemic, however, forced me to rethink my plans because the borders were blocked for international student. There’s also an eight-hour time difference between Canada and Russia. Sometimes classes started at 6 p.m., while in Russia it was almost all night. I went to online classes twice and realized that I was not studying adequately.
I applied to numerous famous universities in Russia, including St Petersburg University, Moscow State University, and Russia’s Peoples’ Friendship University(RUDN), and accepted by St Petersburg University. It is a prestigious university, and I am delighted to be studying here. Those living in Western Europe also claim that St Petersburg is the most European city in Russia and that the culture here differs from the rest of the country.
There are many benefits and drawbacks to studying here. I appreciate the fact that I will undoubtedly receive a high-quality education here, and I can tell that the educational process taken seriously and at a high level. International students, on the other hand, find it difficult to adjust to their new environment. That’s partially due to the pandemic. I wish we had more help from our peers and curators. The primary disadvantage currently is online learning. We’re still struggling with the language, and we’re watching the teacher’s gestures and facial expressions to grasping what they’re saying. We can ask questions, and teachers can answer questions without us understanding anything.
You have a very good knowledge of the Russian language. When did you start learning the language and how long have you been studying it?
When I first arrived in Russia in 2015, I began learning Russian. I’m not sure if I speak fluently, but if you think I do, that’s fine. I’m not sure if I’m very good at it. Maybe it’s because I’m a good listener. Even though I lived in China, I believe I could speak Chinese well since I am not frightened to converse with strangers. Of course, there are still a few challenges to overcome. When I do speak, I am usually aware of my errors, but I won’t stop there. I guess the most essential thing is to be able to communicate well so that others can understand you. Of course, this isn’t the most effective technique for broadening your knowledge base. Thinking this way, I am not going to work hard on correcting my mistakes.
It’s also difficult for me to write in Russian without making mistakes. I can write brief sentences in Russian, but if I need to write a longer text, I must first write it in French, then translate it into English using Google, and then proofread it word by word. Being sociable and speaking has been much easier for me. I’m not complaining. I love this language; I can speak it to a certain extent, and people understand me; that is all that matters.
Who do you communicate with more in Russia: locals or Senegalese?
I once saw a film in which a Senegalese immigrated to France. To learn the language faster, people advised him to just speak French. It was the ideal piece of advice. Of course, we couldn’t establish friendships with the Russians in our first year because we’d just begun to learn the language. But I could start a discussion with some older ladies. They were terrified of me: what was he after? And all I wanted was to start learning the language. I even watched a lot of Russian TV shows to learn about Russian culture and language.
Russians are less open up to others, especially foreigners. When we first started talking, One of my friends didn’t say anything about himself. He took his time to open up. While in Senegal we’re prepared to welcome new friends as soon as we meet them. I’ve been communicating with the Russians a lot recently. I am studying here, and Russian is the primary language spoken here. We must comprehend the facts, and speaking our own dialect will not assist us. This was one of the reasons I was keen to make Russian friends. I established friendships with everyone else in every city where I stayed.
Please tell us about your post-graduation plans.
My primary goal after graduation is to find a good job, either in my native country or elsewhere. It doesn’t matter where I am because I am a globally-minded individual who can feel at ease wherever I am in the world. I love Senegal and don’t want to be a dual citizen. I would choose to be born in Senegal even if I had a choice. Apart from that, it doesn’t matter to me where I work. What matters is that I appreciate the work that I do.