Harmish is a 20-year-old medical student from India, living in Kutaisi since 2019.
He chose to come to Georgia because of all the good things he heard back home about Akaki Tsereteli State University. His expectations were high, and the university did not disappoint him. Harmish is fond of his lecturers, who are always there for their students. According to Harmish, he was admitted to the university directly, via online interview, but the rules have changed and his friends from India, who would like to also join the university, must go through more steps in the admission process.
Based on Harmish’s experience, it requires a lot of effort for foreigners, who do not speak the local language, to establish themselves in Kutaisi. Very few people speak foreign languages there, if you don’t count the fact that majority, representing older generation, speak Russian. When thinking about his first days in Kutaisi – trying to rent an apartment, making friends with other students and locals, exploring the city - Harmish realizes, that it would have been a huge support if foreign students had a mediator entity, in addition to the university, to support their orientation and local integration.
Even though Harmish experienced racial discrimination in the beginning, he says Georgians are very helpful and hospitable. Locals always try to help foreign students find their way around the city. Harmish played table tennis in India competitively and he managed to continue this activity in Kutaisi – now he has been on a local table tennis team. Sometimes he travels to other cities together with his friends from the team to participate in competitions. Harmish says that there are not many entertainment options in Kutaisi. Together with his local and Indian friends Harmish often spends evenings watching movies. Harmish believes that Kutaisi and in fact, the whole country “has a huge potential and could definitely benefit from more diversity."
Photo by Eric Gourlan