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Sergei Rivlin

Master’s in International Relations and European Politics, graduated in 2021

currently living in Russia, working as a technical recruiter

interviewed by Michaela Nespěchalová, January 2024

1. Can you share some highlights of your time at the Faculty of Social Studies? What aspects of the program or specific courses had a significant impact on you?

Yes, I would definitely do! First of all, I was impressed by the competence of the teachers at the Faculty. Every professor has their own approach to students, unique lecturing models, and backgrounds. As a student, I could always reach out to any teacher within the faculty or write a letter afterward. Teachers always provide comprehensive and complete responses, thus, it helps a lot throughout the educational process.

Additionally, we were always able to obtain a proper evaluation of our papers or other types of homework. Professors provide competent unbiased feedback and stress the main pros or cons of the paper. Receiving high grades motivates even more!

Last but not least, I was impressed by the variety of courses represented within the system. You can always choose the class that you are more interested in. For instance, I was in love with such courses as “NATO History”, “Crisis Management Operations” and “Transnational Organizations”. Some courses were more complicated, some less. However, the more challenging the course was the more you could get into, gaining specific and unique knowledge.

2. How did your academic experiences at the faculty prepare you for your current career or further studies?

Unfortunately, as a proponent of democratic values, to me, it is quite impossible to implement the knowledge and experience that I gained throughout my education at the Faculty of Social Studies in my own country. Therefore, I work within the Human Resources field and my current occupation has nothing to do with politics. Nevertheless, I have pretty good skills in public speech and presentations that I was able to practice a lot while studying at the Faculty of Social Studies.

Education at the faculty, and particularly at the International Relations & European Politics programme, taught me to be consistent, and not be afraid of complicated tasks and workload. As a result, at the company I work in, I am considered a very valuable employee. During 2023 I was nominated as “the rocket” (which sounds funny, I know 😀) due to my two promotions within less than a year. Can say with certainty, that it is the result of personality traits that I leveled up in my Masters's programme.

3. Were there any specific professors or mentors who influenced your academic and professional journey? How did they contribute to your development?

Sure! As I said above, I always stress the expertise and high proficiency of the teachers at the Faculty of Social Studies. I am thankful to such people as Vít Hloušek, Pavel Pšeja, Jana Urbanovská, and many others. These people have immense experience and knowledge that they broadcast to students.

Of course, I am very grateful to Klára Němečková from the admissions & student support. Klára assists all international students from the very beginning. I cannot imagine what would we do without her help 🙂

4. Can you discuss any extracurricular activities, internships, or research opportunities you participated in during your time at the faculty? How did these experiences enhance your education?

Frankly speaking, I was not able to participate in many extracurricular activities or internships. However, I loved spending time at the Faculty library. It is very comfortable and provides all the necessary books or articles for productive studying. In addition, you can make new acquaintances there.

5. What advice do you have for prospective students considering the Faculty of Social Studies? Are there specific skills or mindsets they should cultivate during their studies?

I would say you should not be afraid. I know and deeply understand how difficult it is to make such a choice. You leave your home and move to a new environment, where everything is unknown. The workload of the programme may seem a little bit complicated at first glance. But believe me, as soon as you start, you realize how interesting and fascinating the journey is. Brno is an amazing city for students, where you will feel convenient and free.

6. How did the faculty foster a sense of community among students? Did you find a strong support network during your time there?

Yes, I absolutely did. During my education, I was able to meet great people from all around the globe. Even nowadays I have friends from such countries as Mexico, Moldova, Ukraine, Germany, Türkiye, and others!

Together with other students, we were able to meet at the atrium or library and spend time chatting. We could discuss some educational aspects or just have fun, telling stories, joking, etc. At the weekend, we always spend time traveling to other spectacular cities such as Vienne, Prague, Warsaw, Berlin, and many others.

7. Can you share any challenges you faced during your academic journey and how you overcame them? What lessons did you learn from those experiences?

Yes, sure. As a new student, I was very afraid that I would not be able to maintain the workload and pace of my programme at Masaryk University, and FSS. There were many new terminologies, topics, and subjects that I never faced before. I was wondering if I would not be able to receive enough credits or just pass certain exams.

Shortly thereafter, I began feeling confident and realized how fascinating and immersive the programme really was. I started to obtain my first grades for position papers, presentations, etc. As a result, I was able to pass all the exam sessions and gained a Diploma with Honours.


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