EMMA (The Netherlands)
NAME: Emma Prins
COUNTRY: The Netherlands
PROGRAMME: Master’s in International Relations & Regional Studies
Why did you choose to study this programme?
During my Bachelor’s in European Studies I noticed that my interests are very broad and even go beyond Europe. I am very interested in International Relations and particularly in the post-soviet space as a region. This Master’s programme offered by the University of Tartu combines international cooperation, politics, conflict management, foreign policy, and more. It has multiple specialisations and the one in Russian and Eurasian Studies is exactly what I was looking for. Besides the courses on IR related issues and on research skills, it gives you the opportunity to go abroad in the second year, which I really like. I very much appreciate the freedom that this programme offers, such as the possibility to go on exchange, choosing a specialisation and following as many electives as you like. Another great thing is that the university also offers many language courses which you can follow on the side. Before coming here, I heard good stories about the University of Tartu, also from other people who studied in the Netherlands before, which is what really convinced me to apply for the programme.
I like very much living in Estonia. I have lived in Tallinn before, so no culture shock for me. The country is very unique, it feels European yet foreign to me at the same time. Besides the Estonians themselves being quite special, the international people who come to Estonia are different than most: they are not the kind of people who are looking for sun, beaches, cheap partying or easy lifestyle. Most people who come here are either very motivated to participate in a specific programme offered by the University of Tartu, or they are interested in Estonia as a country; or both. The way Estonia developed, especially considering its history, makes it such a special country: Estonia is way more innovative and modern than most people assume. Its geographical location does not only make the country very interesting, being on the border of Europe, but also very practical to travel around (going to Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Finland, Sweden). The country is small, though bigger than my home country, but has beautiful nature and many nice places to visit. At the same time, the cities look stunningly medieval and fairy-tale-like, especially Tartu and Tallinn. Tartu is not a big city, but not small enough to get bored. It really feels like a student city, most people on the street are young and after a week you will know half of them. Learning about the country and getting to know some Estonians (which takes some time) will definitely improve your time in Estonia. If you want to live in a big city with great weather, social locals and an easy-going lifestyle, this is not the place. Yet if you want to live in a cosy city in a unique and interesting country, study at a great university with students from all over the world and share this experience with like-minded people, Tartu is the place for you.
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