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International Law and Human Rights at the University of Tartu, Estonia: The Personal Experience of an Albanian Student

Master’s student of “International Law and Human Rights” Ina Cela from Albania was interviewed about her experiences at the University of Tartu.

How did you learn about the University of Tartu?

In 2017, I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Law from the University of Tirana in Albania. I decided to continue my master’s studies in one of the European Union countries because of the opportunities it presented me to pursue my dream to study International Law with an emphasis on Human Rights.

While searching for the right university and study programme, my friend recommended looking at Estonia. I decided to check the World University Rankings. There, I saw that the University of Tartu was 321st in 2019 with an improving trend. The ranking and the master’s programme that the University of Tartu offered were the main reasons to choose it for my studies. When I received the acceptance email from UT, I was delighted that I had been given such a brilliant opportunity to study and further develop my knowledge.

What is the most attractive part of your study programme?

The International Law and Human Rights programme combines two different fields of studies that are very well connected. The programme itself takes place in Tallinn, Estonia’s capital. Life here in Tallinn is very energetic, noisy, and joyful.

At the University of Tartu, my classes are not just theoretical but also very practical. Here I have learned how to make my own decisions, apply every theory I have learned into practice and gained valuable communication skills during my classes. I enjoy participating in group assignments with my classmates, where we work together to solve conflicts and problems indifferent situations.

I also like to write research papers, which are required inmost of the courses. By completing these assignments, I have considerably improved my analytical skills, through increasing my knowledge and making critical decisions. Now, I have developed many different opinions, and I can think outside of the box!

What was your experience when applying to University of Tartu?

I found the application process to be straightforward. When I visited the University of Tartu’s website, I found that everything is described step-by-step. I uploaded some documents for the application, such as my motivation letter, CV,  language certificate(I took IELTS test),and proof of previous education with the translations.  I did not encounter any difficulties while applying. I would advise anyone looking to apply to the University of Tartu to look carefully at the curriculum of the programmes they are interested in and pay careful attention to their deadlines and requirements, so you don’t miss any.

What is your opinion about the teaching quality of your programme?

The quality of teaching has been very high in my programme. Our lecturers and professors always create a comfortable environment where I feel at home, and not like a foreigner in a new country. Our academic staff is highly qualified: our professors and lecturers have a background from University of Oxford, University of Tokyo, and Georgetown University.

I also would like to mention the friendly and warm environment in my department. It was extremely difficult for me to move away from my family and country. I thought it would not be easy to adapt to a new place with so many new things. I remember my first day at the University of Tartu. We had a presentation for new students with the programme director, and from the first moment, I felt a very warm and friendly environment. In large part, this environment was due to the kindness everyone I met that day showed me.

Is it compulsory to have an internship for your programme? Have you completed one?

It is compulsory to have an internship during the two years of master’s studies in my programme. It was not difficult to find a place for it as there was an opportunity given to every student to choose an internship. If a student cannot decide, the programme has several subjects, in which you can complete it within the programme. During my internship, I wanted to have some experiences dealing with issues related to human rights. So, I volunteered for an organization in Estonia in a position related to human trafficking.

What would you say to your fellow students who wish to apply to study International Law and Human Rights?

I recommend this programme to all students who have thought about studying International Law and Human Rights. As you can see from my experiences, I am pleased with my study programme and university choices. Estonia is a small country but very beautiful and quiet. Initially, I was a little scared by the idea of the cold weather in Estonia since Albania is so warm but found it to be effortless to cope with, and not unbearably cold at all. Just do not forget to bring your gloves and hat with you!

Learn more about International Law and Human Rights at the University of Tartu, Estonia here.