Written by Sanaa Nehme
Have you ever wondered how med students suffer while learning the names of diseases and treatments? Well, imagine having to do that in a language you knew nothing about to start with! If this isn’t determination, what could it be then?
Meet Ali Mroue, a Lebanese student at the Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia and the Head of the Lebanese Students Union there.
This is his story.
I had an uncle and a cousin who were already here to study. So studying in Russia is not new within my family. Now I have five cousins who are here for the same purpose as well. I was granted a scholarship. I am now in my sixth year but I had consecrated one year before that to study Russian. It was when I first arrived.
Being Head of the Lebanese Students Union…
Since my second year at the University, I was appointed as Head of the Union of Lebanese students here. There are about seventy Lebanese students, half of whom are part Russian as well. This University has a great rank: it is the first in Moscow. It also offers all means of wellbeing to its students.
Activities in a melting pot
We are very comfortable. There are a lot of foreigners studying here so very often there are cultural days and activities that are organized. Russians help foreigners, especially students. Here, we feel at home. We also try to establish connections with the University’s Lebanese alumni to have more exchange students between the two countries.
We, ourselves, also celebrate Independence Day on November 22nd, and Liberation Day on May 25th. We invite other students to introduce them more to Lebanon, our traditions, our cuisine… We show everyone the nice face of our country by playing some videos that we asked for from our Ministry of Tourism.
At each of our celebrations, we normally have two parts. One part is dedicated to art (Lebanese and Russian folkloric dance, poetry reads, Fayrouz songs…). The other part is generally for speeches by the Lebanese Ambassador, the Lebanese House, the University delegate, and me. We approximately welcome about 200 attendees to each of our celebrations. We offer them Lebanese food. We organize tombola prices by the draw. Each winner gets a souvenir from Lebanon. We also work on Lebanese exhibitions. This year we had the Lebanese Culture Week.
Living in Russia
Living in Russia is nice. You have everything you need here and it is safe. Also, the livelihood conditions are good for a student. In the dorms, we live together, we eat together. We all come from different nationalities and different backgrounds. This is rich.