Summer Programme "EU and Russian Relations: Social Simension": My Experience
by Pavlo Fedykovych - MA student of Law faculty at Taras Shevchenko National University of Kiev, Ukraine
Right now, writing about my experience participating in the programme I can say that it has met all the expectations of mine and even gave much more than that.
I got to Tallinn by the bus from Kiev. It is needed to say that I was really amazed by the location of our hostel. It was situated in the old building, in the heart of the old town, nearby all the sights. It was a pleasure to walk everyday to the university and back going through the beauty of the medieval core of Tallinn. Our first day was full of interesting discoveries. First of all we were introduced to our professor Mr. Kasekamp and he started the series of lectures. They were held in a friendly atmosphere and were very informative and thought-provoking. After the introductory lecture we went to Skype office. This was a great experience and powerful motivation as I am interested in IT industry and I am developing mobile apps myself.
Then we were given an outstanding walking tour in Tallinn city center which I personally found very good. The guide was very positive and she gave us many funny and interesting facts about the city and its inhabitants. I liked how she told us a little details of everyday Tallinn life.
The rest of the week was as intense in a positive way as the first day. We visited Garage 48, which is a co-working space created to help people with ideas to make these ideas a reality. I found the idea of such an establishment really useful and I would like such an enteprise to exist in Kiev. At least such a place would be perfect for me as it will give me the opportunity to share my ideas with others and to find collaborators. Then, we had an insight into investing in Estonia in Enterprise Estonia. That meeting gave me an economical explanation of why Estonia got so successful being a post-Soviet country. In IT Demo Centre which was also in our schedule, we discovered how the online voting is being done and how do the ID cards operate. It is fascinating for me how rapidly Estonians took the track of e-government and have made a Wi-Fi a “human right”. Talking about the WI-Fi, I have to admit that it worked almost everywhere and the quality of it was always high. We finished our first week going to the office of Baltika Group, famous retailer of clothes from Estonia. That was the first time I visited a clothes factory. I discovered that the man suit is the most difficult type of clothes to make.
Talking about the lectures we had during the first week, they were delivered on the highest level. Andres Kasekamp is the pedagogue, writer and specialist of the world scale. That's why his lectures were useful and memorable. He always tried to present the questions taking into consideration different sides.
The first week of the programme was marvelous as we were living in the capital of Estonia, were having lectures, excursions and in the same time had a chance to explore the sights in our free time and take walks near the sea. I have to say that I loved walking in the Kadriorg park, Pirita and of course old city and I cherish the precious memories of the time spent in Tallinn. I had a chance to meet people from different parts of the world and to share opinions. We have established a real team of people interested in what they are doing.
Our next destination was Tartu - a proud city of students. At the very first walk in the city center of Tartu I fell in love with the city. The spirit of students was everywhere starting from the statue of kissing students on the main square and ending with the powerful presence of different establishments of University of Tartu situated in different parts of the city. It is relatively small, cosy town, kind of town every student will find comfortable to live and to study in.
Our first working day there was great. As a lecturer this week we had a pleasure to have Prof. Andrey Makarychev. I would like to say that I liked his way of lecturing very much as the lectures were always interactive and we had many interesting discussions.The approach that professor Makarychev takes in his lecturing towards the understanding of certain phenomena is innovative and we profited from that as his students.
Talking about the other activities, our acquaintance with Tartu started with the outstanding excursion provided by great guide who was wearing traditional clothes. It was really amusing to sing Estonian songs and dance Estonian dances during the excursion. Actually it was the first time I had such an interactive excursion.
It was sad to understand that the second wonderful week in Tartu had come to an end but we had still one week more. Pärnu - the summer capital of Estonia. We had a free first day there and we headed straight to the beach, to the sea. Obviously it was great! The beach is very big, spacious and sandy. Baltic sea was very warm to my surprise.
In Pärnu we were participating in the 3rd Martens Summer School on International Law and that meant we had new participants and new lecturers. Every lecturer had his own lecturing style and this fact enriched the overall experience even more. I was looking forward to each lecture as they were closely connected to my specialisation at university.
During the week in Pärnu we have established strong supportive and friendly relations between students and professors, that's why the atmosphere on the lectures was great. One of the main illustrations of the aforementioned fact is the lecture of Professor William Simmons which was held outside the university building. We gathered in circle sitting under the apple tree in a truly Socratic way . Actually that was the first lecture of that kind in my life and it felt great.
In one of the last days in Pärnu we went to the City Museum and that visit was great illustration how to sum up the summer school with taste. In every historic section of the museum we were offered national dish of the time.
These three weeks have left as an unforgettable summer experience for me. Probably one of the best summer experiences I’ve had. Hospitality of people of Estonia, professionalism of the teachers, beauty of the cities and superb atmosphere of education has done its best. After programme like this you become better and you’re willing to do the same for your country, for your university. And of course you want someday to come back to Estonia to experience it once again.