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African guys like potato pancakes

Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia (RUDN) is country’s most multi-national university. How do Belarusian students represent their culture? Let’s see
450 nationalities and ethnicities, from 146 countries worldwide, study at the RUDN University.

“We have more than 150 communities, including international organisations, student councils, a campus council, a women’s committee, and foreign communities,” comments the Head of the University’s Directorate for Students, Alexander Yermakov.

Representatives of 450 nationalities study at the Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia

More than 50 students from Belarus are currently studying at the university. Compared to other communities, that’s not many. The Belarusian Association Spadchyna (Heritage) has its own president, a vice president for organisational issues, and many people in charge of studies, external relations and leisure. General meetings take place twice a term. So, our strength is in skill, if not in number.

How do Belarusian students acquit themselves? During holidays, they arrange national exhibitions, dance and sing in their native language. At the most recent Moscow Made Us Friends Festival, they were awarded the ‘Discovery of the Year’ title. Students arranged a booth with hand-made napkins in the famous Slutsk style, as well as crafted puppets in national suits, and treated visitors to Belarusian confectionary. Now the entire university knows the phrase ‘Сардэчна запрашаем!’ meaning ‘Heartily welcome!’

The students organise ‘tasty festivals’ and Belarusian culture evenings, where they cook national food for guests to sample, including delicious draniki (potato pancakes). African guys like them most of all!

Also, they undertake charity work, such as visiting orphanages at Lukhtenovo and Lyakhi, organising parties for the children.

Student wedding ceremony in national tradition

What do foreign students know about Belarus?

Alexandra Martynenko, Ukraine:

I’m aware about local sugared cranberries. I also know the town of Bobruisk and want to visit, perhaps, because of its name. I listen to your singer, Polina Respublika, and I now that Belarusian Roubles used to be called ‘hares’, and that many zeros have been cancelled recently [the denomination].

Inna Galer, Latvia:

I’ve heard that gasoline in Belarus is cheap. I know what bulba is. I’ve seen Minsk and Vitebsk in photos; they’re very beautiful. And I know that the atmosphere during the ‘Slavianski Bazaar’ is lovely. Belarusians are very hospitable.

Sakko Bekai, Mali:

I’ve heard that the President of Belarus is very strict. A year ago, my friend lived in Belarus, and he told me that your cities are very clean and that you have organic products.

Vladislav Purtskhvanidze, Georgia:

Belarus is an independent republic, and its capital is Minsk. It’s a very beautiful country with neat, clean streets, and well-bred and intelligent inhabitants. I’ve heard much about Belarusian potatoes.

Natalia Martines, Columbia:

I’m aware of singer IVAN, who sang at ‘Eurovision’. The potato is your national dish. Belarus used to be part of the USSR. I think that it’s cold there. Girls are very beautiful, and fair-eyed.

Maria Vasilieva, Russia:

It borders Russia and Ukraine and has an industrial economy with focus on agriculture. Everyone knows the President. Belarusians are kind and open people. I associate Belarus with potatoes, delicious national cuisine and football teams — such as Dinamo (Minsk) and BATE. Depardieu likes to visit your country and mow the grass there.

By Tatiana Maslova

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