What did you study at Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences?
I obtained Master degree in strategic communications and governance.
How did you choose to do your masters in Latvia at Vidzeme University of applied sciences exactly?
Actually, it is a bit sad story for me and those Belarusian students who were forced to leave Belarus.
Back in 2019 I had a good job, promising goals and I didn’t had plans to get another education adding to already obtained. But I always try to follow the opportunities and when I saw great initiatives from Latvian universities I decided to take a shot and apply. I was considering it as an extra possibility for me in the future to develop Belarus, we hadn’t known how everything will be turned upside down. And when in 2020 things has changed for all Belarusian people and I became one of those people who, unfortunately, are not welcome to Belarus anymore, this possibility turned to great opportunity and support. It is dangerous for me to even think about going back there, nevertheless I still believe that Belarus could change in democratic way and I will be able to apply all gained knowledge to develop my beloved country.
How would you describe your experience here overall- school, professors, students, people and living in Latvia?
It was unforgettable experience. Mainly because education became perfect healer for me, it kept my head busy and I had less time to be depressed by all those horrors which were occurring in my life. But it is impossible to overstress the importance of people who during all this difficult time surrounded me with boundless kindness and support. Students, professors, all those people whom I’ve met here were friendly, delicate and warm-hearted. After I finish the university I will move to Warsaw to my husband, but I will keep my sweet memories about Latvia, Riga and the university. Who knows, maybe I will come back one day for PHD degree there.
When you came to Latvia did you have any expectations and did those expectations meet?
I didn’t expect anything, mainly because to the moment of study I was forced to leave Belarus. The fact that I wasn’t like the most international students is important as well. My previous educations based mostly on Soviet Union system, it has nothing to do with that experience which I got in Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences. I was really surprised by such big amount of student’s independent work. Preparing all those presentations, doing research was quite challenging for me at first, but now I am grateful for such profound experience.
What is different between your home country's learning experience and your learning experience here at Vidzeme University of applied sciences?
I obtained two degrees in Belarus, one of them is in sport and the other one is in governance. The second degree was necessary for my career as I was president of Belarus Chess Federation. The main difference is in the way of learning. As I’ve said before, the whole educational system in Belarus, unfortunately, still based on post-Soviet Union experience. I wouldn’t say that it is bad but it is completely different from how we study in Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences. The students here no jus come to the lesson, listen to the professor, make some notes, but do vast amount of independent work, do research, analyse and present the information. This is invaluable experience for me and all Vidzeme University students I am sure.
What is your most memorable moment here in Latvia, inside and outside school?
It is really difficult to choose one. I am very impressed by how many people are proud to be Latvian citizens. I was so touched when I saw so many people coming together, bringing flowers, putting flags everywhere celebrating the Independence Day. Here you really value this remarkable day. I was just arrived to Riga that time, forced to leave Belarus, and during the hardest period in my life, running away from regime, witnessing such beautiful and proud nation was very impressive for me. I hope one day belarusians will also get our beautiful flag back and our hearts and we will be able to come back. I think that that was the most memorable thing for me from Latvia that people are proud to be Latvians.
Would you recommend other abroad students to do their masters at Vidzeme University of applied sciences?
Definitely. I have already shared my experience among my chess community with people who are looking for extra degrees in life and I would highly recommend Vidzeme University because, as I’ve mentioned, it’s not only about the level of education, it’s about the professional communication, the relationship, support and unforgettable experience.