Ahmed Alkhaldi: opening Russia

We are publishing interviews that were made by Hilesha Humphreys, a student of the Faculty of Journalism.  


Ahmed Alkhaldi is an international student studying at the Department of Anthropology and Archaeology. Before enrolling TSU Ahmed did a pre-university preparation Russian course at Tomsk State Pedagogical University. The young Libyan also has a Bachelor’s degree in Art. In the interview which follows he shares details about the search which brought him to Tomsk.

How long have you been here?

I have been here for two years.

Why did you come to Russia?

I came here to study and actually I'd like to find my opportunity out of my country.


To study, to look for a career, to look for a change in life, and actually, the main reason for me is just cultural migration. I feel uncomfortable with my culture so I'd like to find another culture, for some reason that made me come here to Russia.

What about your culture makes you uncomfortable?

The traditions, marriage. We have tribes and you can't marry if you are not from the same tribe or clans. You can't marry. And dowry is so expensive. If I want to marry it's $10,00. The dowry is just about $5,000 and the others things cost another $5,000. And under the circumstances now in the Gaza Strip, it's so awful because of the economical seizure, the political seizure. It is very very difficult to compete in this culture. It is not comfortable for me. I’m not saying that it's bad. I’m not criticizing. But for me, it's not comfortable.

What have you found in Russian culture that's comfortable for you?

Here, the simplicity of the life...revenge this is in our culture. I didn't find it here. I didn't say that Russian culture is a perfect culture and I'm not isolating my culture. I'm just trying to find my place. You find a lot of foreign students here. This is amazing for me. This is good for me.

How do you define simplicity? What exactly is it to you?

Simplicity, to me, it's not what you have, or who you are, or where you are from, but that you are human. 

How has your search been going? What have you found which to you is desirable or attractive?

It's the simplicity of the life. Here, it's easy to make friends. It's easy to do everything. I’m not criticizing the Chinese culture but they don't like to make new friends. It’s a closed society. I find in European countries also that life is simple. The treatment of people and gender is a very sensitive case in my home. Maybe you won't be able to believe but I didn't see my female cousin for 15 years.

What do you mean you didn't see her?

I didn't see her, just see her. It's not forbidden but it's not good. It's kind of shame. It's not respectable. I should have a reason for seeing her.

Is Russia the first country you have visited in search of, cultural change? 

No, it's not the first country. I visited France but it was for two weeks as a tourist and I was in Turkey and Russia.

What was your take away from your visits?

In Turkey, they are so kind also they have something. But it's not like Libya. France, the life is simple. In Russia, there are some things which aren't good for me but I'm talking about life in general, the simplicity of everyday life. This is the amazing thing that got me.