Finally There-My Complicated Journey to the Summer School in Tartu
by Ivan Baziuk – Odessa Law Academy, Ukraine
For many people summer is time for fun and sea but not for studying. Those of you who wish to combine all those three things will be gratefully welcomed at Tartu Summer University. As this year participant I would like to share my experience and impressions with future applicants.
I started my exciting way from filing an application at Tartu University website. At first it was hard to believe that I could make it. But my life and self-esteem drastically changed when I was invited to spend 3 weeks in Estonia. The coolest thing about it was that the programme was divided into 3 parts (each part took place in a different city). It was all about meeting new people, hanging out and, of course, learning useful stuff about European Union, Baltic States and their relations with Russia. This becomes even more interesting if you are a law student because the last part of the programme (Marten's Summer School) was all about international law (human rights, sea law etc.). But first things come first. Let me go over my personal adventures and the programme description step by step.
I wanted to spend a part of summer before the Tartu Summer University Programme in Poland at my sister’s. In this respect, to my future grief, I ignored the documents I received for the application for Estonian visa. I went for a Polish one because I already had all the necessary papers for it. And you know what? I got confused with visa types and applied for a wrong one. The following application date was booked just 10 days before the programme was intended to get started. And this happened during very sad events in Ukraine (military conflict in the South-East). Polish embassy and visa centres were overloaded with applications and the application process itself took much longer time than it was supposed to.
But my “lucky path” did not end up with a visa story. I lost my luggage at the Ukrainian-Polish border at had to turn back in order to find it. This is how I lost one more day on my way to Estonia. This happened 3 days after the programme had already started. Obviously, I was not thinking any more about spending some time in Warsaw at my sister’s. I was willing and wishing to reach Estonia as soon as possible. But my fate had a bit different plans…
Finally, my sister met me in Poland. On our way home, unexpectedly for us, we got in a car accident and my sister got lightly hurt. Physical pain combined with shock put her in a condition in which I could not leave her alone under any circumstances. I was afraid for her and badly disappointed for missing the entire week of the programme.
As I found out later, the first week was devoted to Baltic states in general and Estonia in particular.
It came out, that I started gaining my Estonian experience from coming straight to the second point of the programme – Tartu. Me and the rest of the group were hosted at a cosy hostel a few minutes’ walk from the Tartu University. It is worth saying that Tartu itself is a lovely students' town just a few hours ride from Tallinn. This place is famous for the University, highest pub in the world, A. Le Coq brewery, Estonian National Museum and lots of other interesting things. I am very glad we had such an honour to see all of them. Walking tours around the town after our studies were a magnificent chance to get to know each other better and set valuable intercultural ties as we were all from different countries and environments (Canada, the USA, Estonia, Ukraine, Moldova, Lithuania, and Germany etc.)
Our studying part was comprised of astonishing interactive lectures on EU-Russian relations by Prof. Andrey Makarychev at Tartu University. To be honest with you, the stuff he was telling us was the greatest thing I have ever heard. For example, biopolitics. Do you know what it is about? I am sure you do not, because even my MS Word marks this term as wrongly spelled one. But we had such a great opportunity to learn a bunch of those new things at professor’s lectures. It was a great pleasure for me and my "classmates" to be there.
In my opinion, the last week was the most interesting and exciting. We spent it in Pärnu - Estonia's summer capital. As it was mentioned before, these 5 days could be easily considered a paradise for future lawyers. We had a chance to listen and talk to the most renowned practitioners and scholars in the spheres of international public and private law (Prof. Tomuschat, Rusinova, Franckx, Simons, and Mälksoo).
This was an unforgettable experience. In addition, we had a few newcomers from Estonia, Canada, Belarus, Russia and Lithuania. Our group grew bigger which meant we could find out a lot of new things about foreign cultures and countries. Moreover, our cosy hostel was located just a ten minutes’ walk from the sea shore which made our free time even more attractive than ever.
In general, Tartu Summer University Programme was one of the greatest experiences I have ever acquired in my life. Friendly atmosphere, Estonian national spirit, endless fun and invaluable luggage of knowledge are only a few points one can mention to describe what we went through.