Among graduates of Russian universities, you can find a lot of prominent figures and highly qualified specialists in a variety of fields of knowledge and science. Coming back home, they work for the good of their countries and become mentors for next generations of young specialists. Today’s guest of our HED_people column is Ahmed Said Amer, Associate Professor at the Department of Architectural Design of the Engineering Faculty of Menoufia University (Sibin-al-Kawm, Egypt), building design and construction consultant, graduate of Nizhny Novgorod State University of Architecture and Civil Engineering.
Russia – Egypt: a Policy of Rapprochement
Studying in Russia became a very important stage of my life. The eventful and challenging stage that I managed to go through with the help of God.
Take the Russian language, for instance. Learning a new language, immersion in an unfamiliar culture, building relationships with my colleagues and fellow students required major efforts. There can hardly be anything more important than motivation in learning the Russian language because it is very hard to learn. Pronunciation of all these long difficult words is a challenge for persistent learners.
I was lucky to get the greatest support from my family on my way. My wife moved with me and accompanied me. Help and assistance from my teachers, colleagues, and even neighbors greatly facilitated the process of adaptation to a new country.
Or, for example, the quality of teaching and requirements for students. I had occasion to be present at the defense of a doctoral thesis. And I was shocked by the serious approach to training of specialists in Russia. At that moment, I realized that it wouldn’t be easy.
One of the most persistent myths about Russia says that Russia is an extremely cold country. And that’s what I really had occasion to experience. Russian winters are rather harsh. However, Russian people are welcoming and friendly. I learned it first hand.
At the very beginning, I was sent to Far Eastern Federal University. Here, in the east of Russia on the Russky Island, I studied Russian. And it was here that I realized how vast this country was. Next, I moved to Nizhny Novgorod, a beautiful city on the Volga River. In fact, I would advise everyone who is going to Russia or is already here to visit as many various cities as possible. The diversity of this country is really striking.
People often ask me, “Why Russia?” And what can I say? Why not? Russia is a wonderful country with a welcoming atmosphere, rich culture, and centuries-old history. And what is more, I acquired a taste for Russian food, especially borscht and fish. In Russia, there are so many ways to cook fish.
I spent three years and nine months in Russia. I dealt with Russians at work, at university, in the street, at the market, and at the bank. Russians are really good people. They are proud of themselves and their history. They maintain their identity and cherish their traditions. Of course, all foreign policy challenges of recent years influence the world’s perception of this country and its people, and this makes the development of cultural and educational relations between our countries even more important.
Egypt and Russia have an eventful history of bilateral relations. For example, President Gamal Abdel Nasser adopted a policy of rapprochement between the Egyptian and Russian peoples. This period went hand in hand with the development of economic, cultural, and humanitarian relations. Today we can see an increase in mutual interest between our countries.
The Ministry of Higher Education of Egypt actively cooperates with the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of Russia. The current Minister of Higher Education of Egypt, Professor Mohamed Ashour studied in Russia and earned a PhD degree in Architecture. Everyone interested can go to study at Russian universities, getting a scholarship from the Russian Government.
I take the opportunity to thank everyone who helped and supported me. My wife, who didn’t hesitate to embark on this long journey, my scientific supervisor, Professor Narenkov as well as Professors Anna Gelfond and Olga Orelskaya. I am also grateful to all those unmentioned people fate brought me together with.