Seven Arguments in Favour to Study at Summer School “European and Russian Relations: Social Dimension” at Tartu University
by Svitlana Paschenko - PhD in Education, Dr., Associate Professor at the Department of Psychology, Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Ukraine
Summer 2014 granted me a new possibility to visit Estonia and work here in the unusual position for me as a student of Summer School «European and Russian Relations: Social Dimension» at Tartu University. It was not only new but also fascinating and useful.
After graduation from the programme I could summarize some arguments in favour of my study in Summer School «European and Russian Relations: Social Dimension» at the University of Tartu.
Point # 1. Opportunity of receiving information about new tendencies in development of the EU countries, countries of Eastern Partnership and Russia, their relationships in all diversity and wealth with a glance of new challenges, problems and conflicts became the main reason of my participation in this academic programme.
Point # 2. The main field of my current teaching and research interests is Social Inclusion.
Point # 3. The International Summer School «European and Russian Relations: the Social Dimension» gave me an opportunity to meet lecturers, scientists and politicians with new progressive ideas and original viewpoints to different social challenges Europeans and Russians face with such as abuse of human rights, social discrimination and so on. I have learnt modern intervention technologies directed to improvement of social situation in European countries and Russia. Summer School experience also stimulates me to implement modern European standards in my teaching practice.
Point # 4. One of the main arguments made Summer School programme attractive for me was its high academic quality which is ensured by an authority of Tartu University which gets into 3% of the best world universities. It is one of the oldest universities in Northern and Eastern Europe and well-known centre of international education. The present year Summer School «European and Russian Relations: Social Dimension» has not become an exclusion. The contingent of its listeners has been notable for wide international representation and united about 50 students, PhD students and lecturers from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, the USA, Canada, Moldova, the Netherlands, Belarus, UK, Kenya, Italy, Russia, Germany and other countries. It gave the participants an opportunity of creative intercultural cooperation and communication, contributed to perception and better understanding each other and confirmed again that education and science don’t have any borders.
Point # 5. Analysing critically the last geo-political events on the European continent, revolutionary movement in Ukraine and its consequences which influence the relationships between my country and Russia I have become aware that my study according to the programme of this Summer School gives me an opportunity to understand deeply many newest historical, political and social processes which are in progress in Ukraine and beyond its bounds.
The students and lecturers of Summer School set up a joint team of upholders which was characterized by a spirit of academism, democracy and liberty of thoughts and sayings. In spite of great number of problem issues which have been presented and discussed at the lectures we always found compromise decisions manifesting tolerance and respect to the others’ viewpoint. Namely such approach created an unconstrained atmosphere of learning discussions which often stepped outside the university classrooms and went on in students’ cafes and dormitories.
Point # 6. As one of the eastern wise men said, nobody comes back from the travelling as he was before… Really, our impressions from the new country, people, traditions and arts change us greatly, too. Estonia appeared to be an outlandish country!
Each Estonian city where we studied was beautiful and unique. The beauty of old Tallinn impressed much! Once, one of my group mates from the USA said that she felt herself as being a princess amidst all these medieval castles, towers, cathedrals and ancient buildings. It is difficult to disagree with her. Residing in the hostel in the real heart of old Tallinn during the week we have been imbued with its exceptional atmosphere. And those white nights… They made the city even more fascinating.
Tartu – a university city – made an impression of real students’ centre of Europe. Even during summer vacation the students are kissing in front of the City Hall. In the city an ancient history meets contemporaneity. It is clamorous and moony at the same time. Beautiful nature, tidy park lanes, old streets, houses and bridges are favourable to both concentration (it is possible to work with the help of accessible Wi-Fi on each park bench) and limpness and relaxation.
Loud, multinational and bright Pärnu appeared to be a real European resort! Withal it was pleasant not only to swim in the Baltic Sea and sunbathe on the beach but also to study in the modern and very well equipped building of Pärnu College where we worked hard at the Martens Law School learning human rights.
Point # 7. Tartu university staff taking care of foreign students of Summer school did everything depending on them in order that busy academic programme was well supplemented with visits to the leading Estonian companies and institutions and also a social programme. We had city tours, visited Parliament of Estonian Republic, National office of European Commission, different museums among which there was the Museum of History of Tartu University, participated in the welcome parties organized by Tartu University and Pärnu City Council. Namely these events and time spent together made unique atmosphere of creative, frank and easy communication among the students and academicians of the programme.