NAME: Daria Venikova
PROGRAMME: Master’s in International Relations & Regional Studies
Why did you choose to study this programme?
I did my Bachelor’s degree in Political Science, and decided that I want to develop further in the field of international politics. By the time I had to choose which programmes to apply to, I have heard a lot about the University of Tartu. By “hearing a lot” I mean that at least 5 people that I know have decided to do their Master’s degree here, at Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies. It includes 3 Master’s programmes, and each of them is unique in its own way. I was lucky enough to be accepted to both programmes I applied at this department, so it was a tough choice! In the end, I chose International Relations and Regional Studies for the ability to choose study track and for its attention-grabbing courses. The track focusing on the post-Soviet space and Russia was the most interesting to me. I did not want to study Russian politics in Russia, to get an outsider perspective from professors as well as from other students. And so far, it has been very engaging and thought-provoking. So I would definitely advise this programme to anyone interested in Russian and post-Soviet politics.
The courses and study tracks are not the only things to love this programme for. Since the department is quite small you feel personal attention from professors and faculty staff. They are always helpful to you in your academic questions, and sincerely want you to grow professionally. It also is the main programme in International Relations in Estonia, and I think it is very important for your future career development in this field. For example, Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs proposes topics for our thesis, how cool is that?
Estonia was the perfect option for me, because it is close to home (I’m originally from Saint-Petersburg) and at the same time it represents a totally different culture and lifestyle. I like that it is small enough for you to feel meaningfully contributing to society, which you do not usually get in big city and in huge universities. It is also big enough to have everything that you need in terms of shopping, cafes and other perks of city life. Estonians embrace a slow way of life, which at first seemed strange to me. When you get used to it, you start to enjoy the lack of hustle and thoughtful employees in offices, that always make sure that you understand everything and do not have any more questions and not get annoyed when you do. In Estonia, you have beautiful nature landscapes, and at the same time developed E-government. There are lots of young tech startups, alongside developed traditional handcraft and carefully kept heritage. As you could notice from my story so far, for me Estonia is a country of good balance of everything, and I think it is what makes it beautiful.
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