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Cultural exchange program in Russian capital hosts Nigerian students



Nigerian studehts were among the special invitees to the 2024 MEPhI Ball, an event organized by the National Research Nuclear University MEPhI on April 28, 2024 at the Pashkov House in Moscow.

The Ball was held for the fifth time with the support of the program “Development of MEPhI National Research Nuclear University in cooperation with Rosatom State Corporation until 2030”. The event was attended by more than 300 students, including 121 foreigners, 3 of which came from Nigeria.
The main purpose of the Ball was getting to know the Russian culture and art, helping foreign students to integrate into student life, so that they could start it with an informative, but very beautiful event.

This year the main theme of the dance evening was Natasha Rostova’s Ball, the main heroine of Leo Tolstoy’s great novel “War and Peace”. Participants could dance to ancient melodies and immerse themselves in the atmosphere of Russian history, getting acquainted with ballroom traditions of the 19th century.
11 students from Rwanda and three from Nigeria were among the African students who attended the MEPhI Ball. They were accompanied by students from Burundi, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Morocco. The MEPhI Ball was a great opportunity for African students to make friends among other students.

First of all, because both the preparation for the event and the Ball itself became a great opportunity for them to socialize and establish communication with their peers. They got acquainted with other students, learned the history of the country in which they will study, and simply got a lot of positive emotions and a great unique experience.
The venue of the ball is no coincidence: the Pashkov House is located in the heart of historic Moscow. From its windows you can see the Kremlin, the monument to Russian knyaz Vladimir, the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. Just a glance at the House creates a wonderful mood of a bygone time: a bright white building, raised on a high plinth. The central building with a belvedere and portico is united by one-storey galleries with side wings.
Today the Pashkov House is a part of the complex of buildings of the Russian State Library. And throughout the Ball, those interested could take part in a guided tour in Russian and English to learn more about the venue, its history and traditions.

The ball was opened by a solemn dance-march “Polonaise”, and in total the guests danced 18 different dances. This was possible thanks to extensive preparation: the participants learned the program in advance at rehearsals, which were held 4-5 times a week. Also, at the evening there was a dance master class on “Moscow square dance”, in which absolutely all the guests could participate.
The participants of the Ball didn’t just dance but also had games of the beginning of the XlX century, which were organized by real game experts from the Vintage Toy Library in the ballroom. It was also possible to take part in a master class from the Iso Center and even get your own portrait. In addition, each guest could reveal his talent in the Poet’s Corner. You could recite your poems in front of ladies and gentlemen and get a share of admiration from others.
Another highlight of the MEPhI Ball was the summarizing of the final of the “King and Queen of the Ball” contest. The winners also recited poems in the Poet’s Corner, showed ballroom outfits and danced in a couple.
Participation in such events increases the level of mutual understanding between people from different countries, promotes the development of a culture of tolerance and cooperation. Besides, they could develop their language skills: both preparation for the ball and participation in it were also aimed at increasing the level of knowledge of a new language for students. During dance rehearsals, dance moves were explained in both English and Russian.

International students highly appreciated the level of organization and quality of the MEPhI Ball. Yccama Xaccu, one of the participants of the tour from Africa, shared her impressions: “Thank you so much for your patience and dedication in teaching me the art of ballroom dance. You have added a new dimension of beauty to my life. The day was beautiful.”
Student Alex Bill also praised the ball, “I want to say thank you so much for a well-organized and successful event. I greatly appreciate your efforts.“