Coffee Cup Conversations
North Cyprus has become a multi-cultural nation thanks to the increasing number of foreign students coming to study at any one of our prestigious local universities. Young men and women from around the world are choosing to gain an education in a country that offers a warm and friendly welcome to everyone that steps foot on its soil. There is, in particular, a strong presence of African students in the TRNC and I recently had the pleasure of meeting three very strong minded individuals.
Jubril Arogundade, Madaki Zachariah and Adedolapo Elizabeth Oguntayo are three members of the Nigerian Students Society based at Eastern Mediterranean University in Gazimağusa. Jubril explains that the Society is a support system for many African students living in North Cyprus. From welcoming newcomers as they land at Ercan airport, to holding special tutorials for students to air their problems; the Society is a lifesaver in the sea of life! Jubril is currently running for the presidency of the Society when the elections come up in November. The annual elections are taken very seriously and there are many important committee positions to fill.
Madaki can be seen as Jubril’s right hand man and he hopes to become vice-president if his group is elected. A very patriotic African from the northern region of Nigeria, Madaki says that here in North Cyprus all Africans are brothers, regardless of where they are originally from in Africa. He is proud to promote the culture of his people abroad. Adedolapo, a bright young woman, is also determined to help her fellow Africans. She received guidance from the Society when she first arrived on the island and so she hopes to offer the same care she was given to others.
All three students speak confidently and are happy to be living and studying in North Cyprus. Aside from the serious work the Society also stages social events. On Friday the 31st of October a very popular African musician has been invited to a “Cyprus Shutdown Party” to be held at Lions Garden, Gazimağusa. His name is Olamide and he is an award winning hip-hop artist. Other popular DJs and MCs will also be performing at this event. Jubril also reminds me that towards the end of the year there will be the traditional “African Awards Ceremony,” where African students will be given prizes for achievements in various categories, ranging from music and dance to comedy and stand-up. This year academic successes will also be rewarded in an effort to encourage students in their studies.
The Nigerian Students Society is open to all African students studying at any university in North Cyprus. Apparently there are over four thousand students from Africa currently enrolled at a university in the TRNC, this is a very significant number. Whilst the students here represent their home countries, and work hard to make their parents proud of their achievements, we here in the TRNC must also make a good impression on our foreign guests.
Jubril and his team are campaigning for the elections under the slogan of “One Love”: Moving the force towards creativity, motivation and innovation! To reach the Society and to find out more take a look at their pages on Facebook and Instagram; 1lovenssemu.