Sorry, all signage in Russian language
Life in Russia can be rough for foreigners. All signage on roads, bus stops, the sub-way and railway stations are in Russian. To make matters worse, the Russian language does not use English alphabets, so it is very difficult for one to try and loosely associate words with their apparent English meanings from their spellings alone.
Even then, very few Russians speak English. Getting lost or not knowing one’s destination is easily the start of very long and cold day for foreigners here. But thank God for the search engines, one can somehow make out a few directions.
No work here for foreign students
Since I arrived in Moscow, I have met students from Kenya here, most of them studying Medicine or Engineering.
Unlike in the USA or UK where foreign students also get to work part-time to earn some extra money, foreigners studying in Russia are not allowed to work.
Only Russians and people from surrounding countries which made up the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) are allowed to work.
The most foreign students can do is to offer English language lessons, and even that is done in private, without knowledge of the authorities.
Long days confuse Nigerian scribe
It is summer in Russia, and June is the warmest month here, with temperatures averaging 23 degrees celcius. It is also the season of longer days and shorter nights.
The sun rises at 4am and sets at 10pm, and we have aptly called it ‘the season of longer working hours.”
But this scenario has left a Nigerian journalist dumbfounded.
Having woken up in his hotel room at 4am to full daylight, he quickly dressed up and walked to the bus station only to find himself alone there.
He rushed back to the hotel room upon looking at his watch! It’s only 4am!
Media centre mini ‘United Nations’
As is the requirement for all Fifa tournaments, hosts Russia have availed a state-of-the-art media centre the size of half a football pitch.
In Moscow alone where Group ‘A’ and Group ‘D’ matches are being played at Luzhniki Stadium and Spartak Stadium respectively, there are two such media centres for some 700 journalists here alone.
They feature work stations complete with internet service and giant television screens. Journalists from all over the world speaking different languages make it look like a mini United Nations conference. Each of the 12 stadiums has a media centre.