I have come to understand that within numerous prominent universities in Germany, there are existing African and specifically Nigerian communities. However, I haven’t felt particularly inclined to initiate an African community at my own university. This is primarily because my flatmates and colleagues have already created an inclusive environment, even though I am a person of color. During the beginning of the winter semester in 2021, a Ghanaian classmate of mine took the initiative to form a group for Africans. Unfortunately, the group remained inactive due to the challenges faced by African students in adjusting to the German bureaucratic system.

A building of the HNE Eberswalde is pictured in front of a bright blue sky.
A building of the HNE Eberswalde is pictured in front of a bright blue sky.© Ayo

While there were occasional social gatherings among Africans, they primarily consisted of friends casually meeting up. However, during the middle of this summer semester, two Nigerian individuals and a few South Africans engaged in a discussion and made the decision to organize a gathering for all Africans within the university. I was entrusted with the responsibility of bringing everyone together, but it proved to be a somewhat challenging task due to misconceptions surrounding the purpose behind forming the group.

The objective behind establishing the group was to foster a sense of unity among African students, encouraging the sharing of ideas, facilitating intercultural exchanges, and creating opportunities for career development. Once the group was formed, we scheduled our initial gathering for a Saturday evening when most students would be available to socialize. Regrettably, several African students had prior commitments during that time, despite it being the most suitable day of the week for the event. Originally, we intended to hold the gathering outdoors, but due to the inclement weather with rain and cold, we opted to utilize my apartment, which is located within the student dormitory.

View of an open field with meadows and trees. The sun is shining.
View of an beautiful field with meadows and trees. The sun is shining.© Ayo

Due to conflicting schedules, each person arrived at different times despite our agreed-upon meeting time of 8 PM at my apartment. By 9 PM, everyone had gathered, and the party was in full swing. Students were engaged in lively conversations, enjoying food, drinks, and the overall festive atmosphere. The excitement exhibited by everyone served as a clear indication that our objective of bringing together all Africans as a united community within the university had been successfully accomplished. Witnessing everyone, regardless of their country of origin, having such a great time brought me immense joy. In total, there were approximately seven students present, which is a promising number for a beginning. Considering that the total number of African students in my university does not exceed twenty-five, the turnout was quite encouraging. We played games, had loads of fun, and continued until around 1 AM before concluding the gathering with a group photo. Afterwards, everyone retired to their respective apartments for the night.

Africans at HNEE, gathering at Ayo's flat.
African gathering at Ayo's flat.© Ayo

The unity and solidarity within a community can pave the way for achieving remarkable goals, and I firmly believe that this particular community will also play a vital role in embracing African students who often experience the challenges of being in a foreign land, far away from their homes.

Ayo

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