Interview with SGIA MGIMO 4th Year student Skander Ben Halima (Tunisia)

Interview with SGIA MGIMO 4th Year student Skander Ben Halima (Tunisia)

MGIMO SGIA 4th Year student Skander Ben Halima from Tunisia is working as a Redactor-Correspondent at Russia Today TV channel. In our new interview in series of talks with SGIA students Skander told us how his studies help him in his work, how MGIMO gave him an opportunity to participate in Second Russia-Africa forum and what he thinks about level of education in MGIMO.

Why did you choose MGIMO SGIA in particular? Did your expectations meet reality?

Since high school, I’ve always wanted to study International Relations and Politics. MGIMO is known as one of the best universities in the world in this field, having very experienced teachers, and renowned alumni that are now occupying very important positions. I also wanted to learn foreign languages, and MGIMO has the world Guinness Book record for the number of foreign languages taught.

Since our arrival, Dean’s office has helped us with all different kinds of situations and I would like to thank them for this. We also have the possibility to learn Russian language from a beginner level, while studying other classes in English.

What do you think about quality of education at MGIMO?

At MGIMO, the level of teaching is very professional. Professors try to get to know each of their students and give each of them the advice they need. Sometimes their intensity and seriousness might be hard, but it is for a reason that this university has seen so many future leaders start their career here. This university trained them to reach high positions. I would like to thank all my teachers and particularly the teachers of the Russian language, who are always here to help foreign students.

Is Russia any different from your homeland? What were your expectations at the beginning and what can you say now?

Contrary to the stereotypes, Russian people are very respectful and welcoming, especially towards foreigners. Like my country, Russia has all different types of landscapes and wonderful places to visit, after all it is the biggest country in the world. Both countries put a great emphasis on traditional values, to help and support each other in all situations.
My expectations before coming were high, and I am not disappointed with what I have seen so far. I think that foreign students will be positively surprised after their arrival when comparing what they really see with how Russia is portrayed in Western Europe and media.

Can you say that studying in MGIMO has opened new opportunities for you?

Thanks to the university, I have participated in many different conferences and forums. MGIMO proposes a very rich extracurricular life with many possibilities to take part in debates, travel in different regions or simply attend important events. I have received a letter of gratitude from both MGIMO and the Russian parliament for helping organizing the Second forum Russia-Africa 2023, where I had the possibility to talk with very experienced people, deputies of state parliament and foreign leaders. While studying at MGIMO, I am also working as a Redactor-Correspondent at the TV channel Russia Today (RT in French — RT en français). It is really an amazing opportunity for me. I have learned a lot of things and developed many different skills especially in communication. Presenting the international news everyday is very complementary to studying international relations.

What are your impressions of Russia-Africa forum held in Saint-Petersburg?

This second edition of the forum will be fantastic! It started in March with the inter-parliamentary forum, then the scientific forum in Nizhny-Novgorod and now the economic forum in St. Petersburg. What a great opportunity for both the African continent and Russia to continue maintaining a high level of cooperation in many different fields, political, economical, scientific and educational. Russia is a very appreciated and respected country in Africa and many students choose to come here to continue their studies after high school. The African people also don’t forget the historical relations with the Soviet Union, which at that time gave a huge help in the fight for the emancipation and independence of our countries. My expectations from the forum should be that the African and Russian leaders elaborate a solid plan that reflects the willingness to work together to make our world a better, healthier and safer place.