Although, the majority of students at UT are native Estonians, the university is yet one of the leading institutions of higher education in the region. The University provides English-taught courses and it is attracting more and more foreign students. This fact unavoidably contributes to the creation of a rather unique learning environment in Tartu.
My own experience of moving here after my Bachelor graduation in Armenia is related to a number of new developments in my life, such as the living in dormitory and in a different society, raise in self-dependence and consciousness, adaptation to a different scientific school and tradition and, of course, stronger immunity to alcohol.
The multicultural environment, however, is another challenging consequence especially for the ones who do not usually feel comfortable with self-expression outside of their homogenous communities. With even a considerable experience in short-term intercultural activities, you nevertheless feel different. The questions people ask and the answers, which they give may sometimes be very unexpected. You suddenly find out that human thinking and perception of the world around varies so deeply. Thus, the possible scale of difference between two individuals now seems much wider to me. And, this is especially interesting when one is involved in social science studies.
I think that those who study political science and international relations in a multicultural environment have a considerable advantage due to the knowledge exchange, which it provides. One can also consider a number of usual everyday perceptions, stereotypes and behavioral standards to which he/she is used to, from a different perspective. It allows not only to raise your work efficiency, but also to find new spheres of interest and practical techniques which would make oneself much more competitive back in own society. However, this reflection shall never be one-sided, and falling under a worse influence is among possible dangers. Living and studying among very different people must bring the best benefits when you accurately evaluate the strongest sides of both your native and other environments.
So this is my advice for any newcomer: be open for new experience and new point of views and in the end it will make you only stronger!
Author: Vahe Khumaryan, Armenia, EU-Russia Studies