Arthur grew up wanting to be a medical doctor. After studying at the Federal Government College Nise, Anambra state, he gained admission into the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka to study microbiology as an alternative to medicine. In 2006, he learned about the opportunity to study medicine in Ukraine. He has since completed an undergraduate degree in medicine and surgery from the Lugansk State Medical University and is now undertaking a two-year post-graduate internship in internal medicine. He hopes to specialise as an Endocrinologist.
We caught up with Arthur during his first visit to Nigeria in six years and he gave us his five top tips for surviving as a foreign student.
Learn to cook:
Arthur and his roommate Dr Esio Bassey had never cooked a meal before leaving home. They survived on noodles and fruits for over a year. “We tried to cook our noodles in different ways, just for variety”, said Arthur. “We made the noodles fried, boiled, with fish, meat, eggs, sardines, vegetables and so on. The only time we ate something different was at birthday parties. April is my favourite month because a lot of my friends were born in that month which translates to lots of birthday parties.”
Luckily, they met a friend who saved their lives by teaching them how to cook Egusi and Ogbono soups and tomato stew.
Make a budget and try to stick to it:
Foreign students aren’t allowed to work in some countries so make sure you have enough money to sustain yourself. You’ll need to pay for accommodation, food, transportation, books and other miscellaneous items.
Learn the Language:
To be able to communicate with the locals, you need to learn the language. For foreign students in Ukraine, you’ll need to learn either Ukrainian or Russian depending on what part of the country you live in. Arthur learned Russian from books and in class but some other brothers were smart enough to date local girls.
Make the most of your time:
Soak up the culture. Be a tourist and experience the different parts of the country, if you can make out the time. Arthur showed us some awesome pictures taken in different parts of Ukraine.
Enjoy the social Life:
In Ukraine for instance, there are a number of social events organised by the Nigerian student community. Nigeria’s Independence Day, October 1 is usually celebrated with a lot of fun-fare. Expect carnivals, entertainment from various dance groups, loads of Nigerian food etc. Entertainers to watch out for in Lugansk include Hypnotics, Triple Bang crew, Kievcity entertainment and the Afro-arts group.
The Afro-arts group are the organisers of the ‘Miss Africa Lugansk’ Beauty Pageant The pagent has grown from having five contestants in 2011 to 13 contestants in 2012. Past sponsors have included Turkish airlines, the Coca-Cola company Ukraine, Prestige perfumes and cosmetics, Lugansk diagnostic laboratory amongst others. The winner of the 2012 Miss Africa Lugansk beauty pageant received an open ticket to any part of the world from Turkish airlines as well as several other gift items.
The group also gives back to society through regular visits to the less privileged homes.