Faces of HSTM: Johann Essam

25 September 2020
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Third-year student Johann Essam from Cameroon speaks about his passion for mathematics, relationships with teachers and classmates, soccer, and the desire for constant education in the interview series “Faces of HSTM”.

About me

- Hello! Tell us about yourself.

I liked to do math since childhood. Already at a young age, I understood that I want to know more about this science, in its abstract sense, and I have always considered St. Petersburg as a city of culture. That is why I am now studying at the HSTM.

About admission

- Why did you decide to go to Russia, to Polytechniс University?

Initially, I wanted to go to Germany. I was preparing for the whole year, I even passed the C1 German language exam, but it was way too expensive because I had to make a deposit to go there. After this failure, I decided to go to Russia and apply for the state-funded “Mechanics and Mathematical Modeling” program. The admission system for foreigners is arranged in such a way that I could apply to only one university in St. Petersburg. I chose Polytech because I wanted more applied education: it is much more likely to get employed upon graduation because you gain knowledge that can be applied in life right away.

About study

- And what about the learning process? Did your expectations match reality?

As I wanted, I found many mathematical disciplines here, which made me very happy. I was not disappointed, I knew that learning and life would be challenging, so I was ready to adapt to the difficulties. I was worried whether I would be maltreated because of my race, because I had heard about it from friends, but in reality, both teachers and my classmates tried to help me. The teachers answered any of my questions and explained the difficult moments so that I could pass the first-year exams well. In general, I was afraid that I would be expelled after the first semester and tried very hard to prepare as well as possible, I worked hard for this, and as a result, I even stayed on scholarship!

About student life and activity

Are you interested in extra-curricular life at university? Do you participate in any activities?

Yes, I am a member of the soccer team, I play for the university. It was not very difficult for me to get there, because I was seriously engaged in this sport at school. And also I think about becoming an adapter, I think it should be interesting.

About the future

- In conclusion, let’s ask a timeless question about the future: do you have any plans?

First of all, I am definitely going to enter the Master’s degree program, and if I succeed, I will try to go to another country. This is not due to the fact that I’m not too fond of something in Russia, but I think it is very important to see new opportunities and be open to the world. In my homeland, there is a saying: “Always remember where you come from, then you won’t get lost on the road”. So I will try to earn more money, to enter one of the master’s degree programs, to communicate more with new interesting people, to continue to develop, to study, and to reach my goals!

Interviewed by
Ekaterina Ovsyannikova