Author: Zuzana Babikova Edited by: Ana Alibegova / Stefan Alijevikj
Agele Moses Taban is an amusing young man that easily makes friendships thanks to his open approach and wide smile. The 26-year old youngster comes from Juba, which doubles as the capital of South Sudan and the South Sudanese state Central Equatoria, but currently lives and studies Business Management at Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovakia. Wanting to learn more about the youth movements and with time to become an active change-maker in the society, Moses joins the team of Mladiinfo Slovensko. Trying to avoid everyday discussion about the conflict in the African region he comes from, we used the hours in Mladiinfo’s office to talk with Moses about things that connect two, at the first side different, cultures: the Slovak and the culture of South Sudan, as well as the youth situation in both countries.
Mladiinfo Slovakia: Moses, perhaps many people have asked you several times why you chose to study in Slovakia, so we will be curious too. What is the main reason for you to come here?
Moses: Of all the questions I get on a daily basis, this is one of the most frequently asked. Why not Slovakia? It looks unreal but Slovakia actually chose me. Until 2011, I knew little about this Central-European country. But in early 2012 when I was weighing my options for college education in Europe, Slovakia appeared on my list as first choice topping Great Britain, Germany, Norway and Sweden. It’s maybe because of the affordable education, lifestyle, and low cost of living and of course, and the beautiful scenery like the Tatra Mountains that Slovakia offers. I am a nature guy and Slovakia seemed a potential place for me to enjoy nature. Also being at the heart of Europe, I knew that choosing Slovakia meant easy access to the other parts of Europe. So it would be easier to fulfill my dream of visiting at least 150 countries of the world .
Mladiinfo Slovakia: Try to think about your first impressions when you arrived to Slovakia? What came to your mind?
Moses: The first thing that came to my mind was the weather. My flight from Cairo, Egypt (hot place) to Vienna, Austria and later Bratislava (cold) by bus took only four hours. Meaning there was sudden and abrupt change in the weather. Seeing 25C -42C in my city, temperatures like 12C-15C freaked me out. It was something totally new for me. And to make it even more interesting, I did not know the expression “dress warm” when a friend recommended that to me. I had mostly light t-shirts. It meant I had to change wardrobe on my first day in Slovakia. Another thing was the language. Until Slovakia, I thought I would face no difficulty in communication with my English skills. Little did I know that I was in for the shock of my life: Slovak language. Due to this problem, I ate only rice and chicken for almost three months since it was the only food on the menu I could at least read and understand in Slovak. Besides, I did not want to waste a lot of time trying to understand the different menus when I am hungry .