Travel notes of students – economists or summer school for RUDN University students in Zambia


Feed a giraffe, see a hippopotamus, take a photo with lions and plunge into the world of economics — this is the to-do list of RUDN University economics students who spent two weeks at a summer school in Zambia. Together with colleagues from the Zambian university, students studied, created and defended projects, also travelling.

Day 1. Getting to know each other

July 29, five RUDN students of economics went to hot Zambia on board the Moscow-Lusaka plane. The Graduate School of Business of the University of Zambia them to participate in the joint youth summer school “Russia-Zambia: Economic Opportunities and Prospects”.

African students and teachers greeted the guests from Moscow with an opening ceremony and an informal student party to exchange cultural traditions of Russia and Zambia. Young people danced to the rhythms of African music and exchanged culinary secrets.

“I never thought that for the first time I would go abroad to colorful and vibrant Zambia. From the first days we were imbued with its atmosphere, energy, nature, friendly people and delicious food! The staff and students of the University of Zambia made us fall in love with the country from the very first minutes. But this is only the beginning of our adventure…” — Victoria Dzhumasheva, “Foreign Regional Studies”, 4th year.

Day 2. Lectures

School has begun. RUDN University teachers told Russian and Zambian students about the geo-economic potential and government measures to support foreign economic activity in Russian regions, the investment climate in Russia and bilateral trade between Russia and Zambia.

On the same day, the students met with the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources and the Minister of Commerce and Trade of Zambia.

“The lectures by the teachers of RUDN University and the University of Zambia are very informative. The speakers’ presentations broadened my perspective on international relations,” — Hillan Yumba, student, Graduate School of Business, University of Zambia.

Day 3. Practice

All this was not only theory, but also practice, because the students immediately began discussing real projects at the “Agricultural and Commercial Show” — the largest exhibition center in the country. Future economists, together with experts, discussed news and development plans in the agricultural sector at the international level. They talked with employers and learned about internship and employment opportunities in large companies in Zambia.

“Through engaging presentations, discussions and cultural exchanges, we witnessed the merging of minds, hearts and ideas from two different countries. This experience gives us great potential for collaboration and mutual professional growth,” — Dimba Mwenda, President of the University of Zambia Student Association.

The students also got acquainted with the features of railway transportation in Zambia. They learned about cooperation between Russia and Zambia in the field of phytosanitary regulation, and visited the stand of the Yandex subsidiary “Yango” in Africa. Deputy Director for Development of “Yango” is a graduate of the Faculty of Economics of RUDN University.

“From the first days of the trip, you can feel the incredible atmosphere of Africa! Every day we explore something new and get incredible emotions. We look forward to future adventures in Zambia,” — Maria Danyukova, “International Trade”, 1st year master student.

Afterwards, the students met with the adviser to the Ambassador of the Russian Federation in Zambia. They learned about the political and economic situation in the current relationship between Zambia and Russia, and discussed the Russia-Africa summit. They were told the intricacies of the upcoming and concluded agreements between the countries, the potential for development and deepening of cooperation.

End of the first week. Teamwork

It wasn’t just the economy that was the focus. The cultural program, an integral part of the summer school, was rich in a wide variety of events. On August 4, students from two countries enjoyed the richness of traditions and customs at the Russian Center for Science and Culture in Zambia. It was a real insight into Russian culture — the students of the Russian House gave the guests a creative performance of Russian poems and songs.

Students also took part in the round table “How to Successfully Study in Russia”, where they talked about studying in Russia. The experience of the history of education in Russia became real and alive through stories about RUDN student Aaron Kasonda.

Then the students began working on a business plan for exporting goods and services of Russian and Zambian origin to foreign markets. They divided into teams and developed ideas discussing them between events and lectures.

Second week. Travel to Livingston

School participants went to one of the largest waterfalls in the world — Victoria Falls.

In Livingston, they continued to work on business plans and took a break from classroom lectures. There, students met with an economist from Zambia, who explained the rules of doing business in the country and the difference in the business cultures of the two countries.

Project Defense Day

August 11, the students defended the business plans that they had been developing all this time. The results were estimated by representatives of RUDN University and the University of Zambia. Each team made a presentation and convinced the jury of the significance of the project.

  • 1st place was taken by the team that created a business plan for the import of Russian irrigation systems to Zambia — a socially significant project for the development of bilateral relations.
  • 2nd place — a project to export Russian wheat to Zambia for subsequent processing into flour. The guys demonstrated knowledge in the field of agriculture and trade, and proved that their plan could become successful and profitable.
  • 3rd place — project for the export of Zambian cigarettes to the territory of the COMESA and EAEU countries. The team was able to create a promising proposition that could bring new opportunities to international trade and strengthen economic ties.

Final day

A farewell party took place on August 12. Students of RUDN University received Zambian names, while students of the University of Zambia received Russian names.

“The summer school has changed our lives. We learned about each other’s culture, religion, education, politics and general thinking. We were able to reach mutual understanding and make friends. Summer school gave us the opportunity to develop academic and social skills and self-confidence. It was a great experience!” — Dexter Mwinga, Graduate School of Business student, University of Zambia.

Now Zambian students are looking forward to visiting Russia.

After several weeks of intense learning and unforgettable experiences, the students returned home with new plans for the future. The summer school strengthened the ties between the two universities and left unforgettable memories for each participant.

“The experience I had far exceeded my expectations. The guys from RUDN University are amazing, very friendly, I will miss them,” — Hillan Yumba, student at the Graduate School of Business, University of Zambia.

For reference:

During the summer school, it was decided to create a Russian-Zambian discussion club for economics students, to conduct online debates on the topics of global economic development and sustainable development of African countries.

Photo courtesy of the University of Zambia Graduate School of Business and Arina Tinkova.


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