Alumni experiences

Igor Suvorov, Russia 

Exchange student from Russia












1. What were you studying at Unza?   

I was placed as a foreign exchange student at the Department of Political Science. for almost 6 months. However, during enrollment in subjects, I was fortunate to assemble my own study plan to make the most of my time in Zambia. Luckily, with the support of the International Link Office and the department, I was able to select four subjects, that are not taught at all at my home university in the Czech Republic. 

2. What was it like to study as an exchange student at Unza  
It was great fun! Genuine and honest fun, very enriching both intellectually, culturally, and personally. I made a lot of local friends and appreciated the openness of the people around me. Everyone was helpful, sometimes in the way that the locals could guide me all the way. I was hustling at the campus every day doing something, mostly talking with people,and enjoying food in the Meltdown Cafe. 

I was blessed to be integrated into some student associations, like UNZAPOSA, and into the communal life on campus. I made some very good friends, and we are still in touch at campus. So I spend an unspecified amount of time in the dorms on campus doing something with locals. We were all from different fields, but we had a lot of topics to talk about.  People on campus took me as one of them. However, as an active guy,  I was doing some workshops at Uni (I am a non-formal education facilitator and I have my own NGO in Czechia), which was highly appreciated.


Student giving a presentation 

5. What was your favorite place in Lusaka?  


Of course, UNZA! Always in my heart. But other than that, it was Dacapo in EastPark, Matebeto Thornpark, Hungry Lion (the best fast food ever), DuckInn bar in Roma district, Panrottis Pizza… and Chibolya! Sadly, Lusaka is not a very walkable city, which was bad for me, as I like to walk. For me, it was not an issue to walk around an hour to reach any needed spot, but it was hard on the Lusaka roads.  

6. What was the best part of your experience?  


The people, the atmosphere, and the African vibe. I spent a genuine 6 months without stress. I was happy, I was smiling. I loved every moment of my time in Zambia and remember it with great pleasure. But especially, it was the hospitality of the local people, their energy, and their life philosophy.  Unforgettable. 

7. What did you learn from your experience?  


I think the main thing was honesty, understanding, and the fact that we, here in Europe, do not know anything about Africa. What we know, sadly, is limited to headlines in the news, which are never good if we take a look at mainstream media. And perhaps this ignorance and, maybe, unwillingness to understand Africa help to cultivate a negative image of the continent and its people. Which is obviously far from the truth.  


Student standing in front of the Victoria Falls
8. What advice would you give for new exchange students? 

Come to Zambia! You won’t regret it! 


Anne Kummer, Germany

Exchange student


1. What were you studying at Unza?  

At UNZA, I did development studies, which gave me lots of insights on the African perspective on development, something that I was missing back at my German university.


2. What is it like to study as an exchange student at UNZA?

I had a great time at UNZA! The best part was that I wasn’t doing it alone but had other exchange students around me. We supported each other in the journey and navigated our challenges together. Also, the interlink office has been very helpful and supportive with all the administrative work. The way the lectures and courses are organized largely differs from what I am used to in Germany, but I figured it out quite quickly. Come with a bit of patience, as things might take longer than you are used to, but they will all be figured out eventually. I definitely recommend studying at UNZA: it was a really great experience. 


3. Why did you choose to study in Lusaka?

I had fallen in love with Zambia a long time before I embarked on the journey to be an exchange student at UNZA. I decided that I would dedicate my academic journey to knowing more about development, as I quickly realized that I needed exposure to the African context and to learn about the African perspective on development as well. I never forgot about Zambia, and when the opportunity occurred to come back for an exchange year, I took the chance. So that's how I found myself at UNZA.


4. What are your favourite leisure activities in Lusaka?

On my end, I just enjoy spending time with lovely people and good food. Whether that’s during a Braai on the outskirts of Lusaka, a coffee at Milla‘s at Eastpark, or eating Nshima at a Matebeto, - everything goes. Otherwise, you can watch theater plays, watch movies, or go quad biking in the countryside. There is lots to see, even if it might not seem that way at first - sometimes you need to dig a little to find the treasures of this city.


5. What advice would you give to new exchange students?

Be bold and brave! Open-mindedness is key to having an eye-opening and fun time at UNZA. You need to be ready to let go of expectations and step out of your comfort zone every now and then, but at the end of the day, that’s 100% worth it. Give it a try! Try the food, do something new, learn a bit of the local language, and enjoy your time in Lusaka. Also if you get the chance, attend a few local ceremonies, like kitchen parties and weddings, to get a glimpse into the culture and traditions. Also, time goes by really fast, so enjoy the little time you have.


Alma Pyymaki, Finland 

student standing in front of the victoria falls


Being a student on exchange in Zambia was a fulfilling experience. I had a once-in-a-lifetime experience that enriched me with fresh intellectual insights and lifelong connections thanks to the culture, kind people, and all the activities in and around Lusaka. There is never a lack of things to do in Lusaka, making it an excellent place for exchange study. Zambia was a wonderful nation with many interesting sights to see and places to visit.  I studied development studies at the school of humanities. I learned new things in each of my classes, which were all fascinating.  Studying topics in the context of Zambia and getting fresh perspectives was very gratifying for me. I picked up a lot just from listening to what my course mates had to say. My personality and skills underwent a fresh development throughout the exchange. Overall, I would say that my time at UNZA was one of the brightest highlights of my life. This experience will live on in my heart.  



Yuto Ishimatsu, Japan

Picture of a Japanese student






The days in Zambia provided me with a lot of opportunities to understand the large differences of and Zambia. Also, it was really fruitful to know Zambian people’s general impression on my country. 


Maria Rosaria Tomasso, Italy

Picture of an Italian student






 I came to study to Zambia to have the opportunity to deepen my intercultural understanding. I benefit daily from the international student mix, with everyone having a unique perspective to issues. The interaction with the Zambian students helped me to immerse myself into the Zambian culture and to develop many new perspectives.