Africa in Tambov: black students honestly told about how they live in the Russian outback

Africa in Tambov: black students honestly told about how they live in the Russian outback

Categories: Africa | Photo project

About 20 years ago, foreign students — Africans, Arabs — began to come to Tambov to get higher education. At first there were few of them, and now about 2,000 people from Africa and the Arab Maghreb countries enroll in local universities every year. They managed to weave a colored thread into the monochrome canvas of the local population, but how to integrate into the environment of a small provincial town is not so easy…

Why did they choose Tambov? What are they fond of? How do they live? And what are they planning to do next?

Africa in Tambov: black students honestly told about how they live in the Russian outback

Photojournalist Nadezhda Ermakova is from Tambov. She returned to her hometown after a long absence and decided to make a report about African and Arab students. Why did they choose Tambov? How do they differ from the local population and do they differ at all? What do they like and how do they live?

Here are some portraits and little stories about yourself.

Africa in Tambov: black students honestly told about how they live in the Russian outback

Israel is the Prime Minister. Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo. Faculty of Medicine

"I went to Russia specifically to get a good medical education. It is almost impossible to do this here. There is a medical faculty in only one state university. I watched films about Russia, I was a little aware of what your country is. But when I arrived and saw our hostel, I was shocked: dirt and cockroaches, there was not even a lock on the door. I made repairs in my room: I glued wallpaper, bought a refrigerator, curtains and other small things. No one else has such a room.

It's amazing that you have monuments dedicated to the war in your cities: tanks, people with machine guns, and children running and playing around. It's very strange. After studying, I will return back to my homeland and open my clinic."

Africa in Tambov: black students honestly told about how they live in the Russian outback

Kash Lee. Nelspruit, South Africa. Faculty of Medicine

Africa in Tambov: black students honestly told about how they live in the Russian outback

Alima Kambi. Bakota, Gambia. Faculty of Civil Engineering

Africa in Tambov: black students honestly told about how they live in the Russian outback

Bertrand Abina Zua. Yaounde, Cameroon. Faculty of Management

Africa in Tambov: black students honestly told about how they live in the Russian outback

Rocky Matarus. Libreville, Gabon. Faculty of International Relations

Africa in Tambov: black students honestly told about how they live in the Russian outback

William Landry Yao. Yaounde, Cameroon. Faculty of Medicine

Africa in Tambov: black students honestly told about how they live in the Russian outback

Kristyanne Fleur. Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Faculty of International Relations

Africa in Tambov: black students honestly told about how they live in the Russian outback

Catalea l'op Ngia. Libreville, Gabon. Faculty of Business Informatics

Africa in Tambov: black students honestly told about how they live in the Russian outback

Joel Banzi. Nelspruit, South Africa. Faculty of Medicine

"It is difficult to get a medical education in my homeland, and good doctors are always in demand. Of course, I would like to study in Moscow, but we are not given the right to choose, as a rule, everyone is sent to provincial cities like Tambov, Ryazan, Voronezh.

Of course, I did not expect that I would have to live four in one room and sleep on bunk beds, but I gradually got used to it. There is almost no personal space, but it's fun."

Africa in Tambov: black students honestly told about how they live in the Russian outback

Lotfi Zuari. Tunisia. Faculty of Medicine

"I went to study in Russia because I didn't have much choice. I looked at photos on the Internet, I liked the country. But when I arrived in Tambov, I saw a completely different picture. They gave me a shabby room in the dorm. I didn't like the city either, it's not as modern as Moscow or St. Petersburg, but you can live. Besides, there are a lot of Tunisians here, I'm not lonely.

Local residents do not make contact and behave, rather, aggressively towards us. We can say that most of them are racists. 
There are still few places where you can go to have fun. Usually we go to the stadium to chase the ball, but for some reason they warn us there that it is impossible to play on the field, you can only take pictures. 
It's infuriating that at the university they look at us like gold mines, they don't miss a single opportunity to rip off money from us. 
I have no desire to stay here after university. I plan to continue my studies in Germany, Canada or France."

Africa in Tambov: black students honestly told about how they live in the Russian outback

Medfrank Cartel of the Iba. Libreville, Gabon. Faculty of Chemical Technology

"Everyone knows that Russia has a good education, that's why I chose it. I like to study, that's why I came here. Unfortunately, it is impossible to make friends with someone from the locals, they look down on us. Cultural exchange does not work, and this is sad. But we have our own company, we are all like brothers to each other here.

After studying, I plan to return to my homeland and find a use for myself there."

Africa in Tambov: black students honestly told about how they live in the Russian outback

Kristel Guezoje. Abomey, Benin. Faculty of Medicine

Africa in Tambov: black students honestly told about how they live in the Russian outback

Sandrine Jang. Cameroon. Faculty of Economics

Africa in Tambov: black students honestly told about how they live in the Russian outback

Korede Ovolovo. Nigeria. Faculty of Management

Keywords: UNIVERSITY | Foreigners | Province | Students | Photo report

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