Polina Zyaparova had a clear future direction mapped out when she applied to study at the University of Helsinki. The decision to apply to the University of Helsinki was born out of her desire to develop her own competence in the leading peace-mediating country in the world.
Polina Zyaparova had a clear goal in mind: “I want to work in peace promotion and conflict prevention as well as to find ways to successfully build peace."
In addition to the esteem of the University of Helsinki, Finland's reputation as one of the leading peace-mediating countries in the world was important to the Russia-bred Polina. For an international student it was natural to consider the choice also from these perspectives.
“I knew that the competence acquired here would help me a great deal in the future," says Polina.
At the roots of complex peace processes
Polina is studying in the international Religion, Conflict and Dialogue Master's Programme, which is currently a part of the International Encounters Programme. The multidisciplinary programme studies religion and conflicts from a variety of perspectives. It has helped Polina to perceive peace work as a comprehensive process, which does not end in the signing of a peace treaty.
“It is often thought that a conflict is resolved simply by signing the peace treaty”, says Polina. “However, after that you have to take into account the whole post-conflict process: unification, trauma recovery and mediation between the parties.”
Polina sees her studies as not only providing her with practical know-how in peace work and conflict prevention but also an ability to interpret the world in a more comprehensive manner. These tools are increasingly in demand.
“The programme helps you to interpret world events. It teaches you to listen to different opinions, put yourself in other person's position and understand their perspective.”
Student community supports international students
Polina appreciates the international atmosphere at the university as well as professors providing students with personal supervision. The international student community has supported her in her move to a new country and has enriched her thinking in many ways.
“During your studies you get to exchange ideas with others, hear various points of view and discuss issues in an international environment,” says Polina. “This makes you better prepared when you run across these same situations in working life.”
One of the strengths of the University of Helsinki is that it is a multidisciplinary university, which has increased Polina's understanding of the elements affecting peace work. “I have learned a great deal, for example, about international law, humanitarian law and developing countries. By the time I graduate, I will have a comprehensive understanding of these issues. After all, they are all tied together.”
Apply to the University of Helsinki
The University of Helsinki is one of the best multidisciplinary universities in the world. Our teaching is based on research conducted in an international environment. Together we seek solutions to global problems.
The study options at the University of Helsinki include the international Master's Programme in Intercultural Encounters
A good basis for the master's programme is provided, for example, by a number of bachelor's programmes in theology, the humanities or social sciences.
Read more about our interesting and varied programmes in the degree finder.