Testimonials and Videos

Name: Anna Melenchuk

Year of graduation: 2017

Current employment: EU Policy Officer at ActionAid International, Research Fellow at German Marshall Fund, Board member at the Institute of Innovative Governance

Looking back, what were the highlights of your time as an International Master’s student on our programme?

I really loved that the program was dynamic, intensive but also allowed for individual learning. I spent a lot of time in libraries but also on doing internships at international organisations. This flexibility of the program positively influenced on my self-discipline and time management skills. One of the highlights I can think of were the regular meetings of our cohort in dormitories hosted by me and Tina Momtaz. We held such meetings on a weekly basis to prepare for seminars and discuss some readings together.

What aspects of the programme did you find challenging?

Academic writing was the most challenging aspect for me as I did not study in English before. Looking back, I am happy that I did my best to address this challenge and took a class on academic writing in Glasgow. And of course, I had 2 years of practice to improve it. As I am doing policy work in my professional life now, this skill is indispensable.

Do you have any advice for future students?

I would recommend to use your free time with maximum benefit for yourself and think strategically. It is important to reflect on possible career paths already in the beginning of the course and explore some internship, volunteering or even part-time job opportunities. During my first year at the University of Glasgow I was volunteering for the United Nations (remotely) and did an internship at British Red Cross in summer. Next year, when I moved to Tartu, I approached few human rights NGOs and offered some of my time to the development NGO ‘Mondo’.

In addition to learning and working, do not miss out on hanging out with your cohort and other students. The connections you make at Universities may stay with you forever.

Has the degree helped you in your professional life, since graduating?

Definitely. I am always very proud to share that I managed to get two Master degrees in 2 years from such famous Universities. The degree played an important role during my first job interview at the United Nations office in Ukraine. International education and experience are highly appreciated by international organisations. When I was hired, my supervisor told me that the panel was impressed by my education background and it played an important role when the candidates were evaluated.

How successful have the other members of your cohort been in the job market?

I would say that our cohort followed very different career paths. Some of us ended up in Brussels doing advocacy with the EU institutions. Some continued working in academia and some joined business sector. As far as I know, everyone has a job and did not have problems with finding it. The degree equipped us with great knowledge, skills and languages which are popular in the job market.


Name: Neli Kirilova

Year of graduation: 2015

Current employment:

  • PhD Candidate in International Relations and Security Studies, Corvinus University of Budapest, Hungary
  • Visiting Fellow – Brussels School of International Studies, University of Kent

Looking back, what were the highlights of your time as an International Master’s student on our programme?

For me, the IMRCEES was an accelerator of great personal and professional growth. I found as its most precious asset the opportunity to meet amazing people from different parts of the world, each one ambitious and successful in their field of interest.

Some of the professional experiences which I had during the program include:

  • Program representative, in coordination with EACEA of the European Commission, 2013-2015;
  • Erasmus Mundus Association representative – EMA ambassador event in Sofia, 2015;
  • Visiting Fellow – Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy, Baku and Ilia State University, Georgia, 2014;
  • Third mobility – Lobachevsky State University of Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, 2015;
  • Second mobility – Corvinus University of Budapest, Hungary, 2014-2015;
  • First mobility – University of Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom, 2013-2014.

What aspects of the programme did you find challenging?

Responding to the administrative and educational requirements in completely different from each other countries was a challenge. I studied in Bulgaria and in Spain prior to the programme. During IMRCEES, I studied in the UK, Hungary and Russia, with a fellowship visit in Azerbaijan and Georgia. In this sequence, the biggest challenge for me was to fit the requirements in South-Eastern (post-Soviet, Balkan), followed by southern Mediterranean, followed by independent-democratic UK, followed by Central Europe, then post-communist rule in Russia, Georgia and Azerbaijan. It was interesting though, but really challenging. Because what was encouraged as positive behaviour in some of the societies, was assessed as completely negative in others.

For example, being self-centred is considered good in the West, while rude in the East. Being loud and close to the others is considered necessary in the South, while intimidating in the North. Academic writing is evaluated high in the North-West, while physical presence and public speaking is evaluated high in the South-East. So, I had to perform a quick change of contradictory values, which was confusing and took me time to adapt.

Do you have any advice for future students?

Yes. Do your best to take as many opportunities to learn as possible – not only from the content of the studies, but from the social norms and social behaviour as well. Understanding the root causes for different perceptions in different societies is precious. It gives to people skills of adaptation, understanding the motives behind behaviour of the others and cool-minded assessment.

Has the degree helped you in your professional life, since graduating?

Yes. I had the chance to work for the Permanent Representation of Bulgaria to the EU during the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council, for the European Commission and for the Committee of the Regions. In my jobs, I was dealing directly with the Black Sea region, which was my focus during the IMRCEES.

Currently, I am in my last year of PhD, where I further develop the topic from my MA degree.

How successful have the other members of your cohort been in the job market?

They are pretty successful. To be precise in the answer, I have initiated a survey in March 2020. If you are interested, I will present the results at the Summer School.


Peter Braga

 


Name: Victoria Borisch

Year of graduation: 2014

Current employment: Freelance Communications & Marketing Business Owner

Looking back, what were the highlights of your time as an International Master’s student on our programme?

The biggest highlight for me was the people – fellow students and faculty. There’s something so special about finding people who share the same unique interests. Coming from different parts of the world, we all brought our own perspectives to the subject matter and grew together. Surrounding myself with such incredible and inspiring people pushed me to be better.

The language courses were also a big highlight for me and one of my initial draws to the program.

What aspects of the programme did you find challenging?

Coordinating between my thesis supervisors at the two universities was challenging for me. They had different ideas about the direction my research should go and I was a bit caught in the middle. In the end, this was an important learning moment for me when I realized I didn’t have to take every piece of advice on board. Navigating different opinions became an essential skill when I was leading my own team.

The language courses were also one of the biggest challenges for me but I’m still really impressed with the amount I was able to learn and use in a short amount of time.

Do you have any advice for future students?

My advice would be to network (even informally) and do internships. One of my biggest clients at the moment came through a friend I met while studying at Corvinus in Budapest and my internship experience definitely helped me when applying for jobs.

Has the degree helped you in your professional life, since graduating?

Absolutely! The subject matter may not seem directly linked to what I’m doing now, but there are many parallels that can be drawn between politics and communications.

How successful have the other members of your cohort been in the job market?

I’m so proud of my cohort! They are doing really interesting work all around the world. Some of us took a little longer to find our path, but in general I think we’ve all be quite successful.