EspREES student story: Remotely and in English

Rebecca Pisimisi is a Greek student studying in Turku's Åbo Akademi in Swedish. In her experience, the English hybrid courses of ExpREES provide a great variety of options and the special events like the Summer School and excursions abroad offer social networks she is looking for.

Tell me a little about yourself. What is your major and where do you study?

I come originally from Greece and currently I study Russian language and literature at the Åbo Akademi in Turku. I also have studied philosophy and ethics in the context of globalized world as minor subjects.

Why did you decide to apply for ExpREES?

During the first year at Åbo Akademi I was thinking about how I could merge my interest in philosophy with my Russian studies and I came across the poster from ExpREES. So, I have planned to apply ever since. 

How do you like the programme so far and can you find enough courses in English? 

Actually, it is truly satisfying to have access to such a diverse range of courses, to different universities and to their researchers! The courses cover various aspects across Europe and Eurasia, and while the programme is officially in Finnish, it has not been hard to find interesting courses in English. Not hard at all. 

I’ve also found the weekly ExpREES newsletters about courses and seminars from different universities very useful. For instance, I’ve found an interesting free online language course in Armenian university via these letters. And also I’m travelling to Uzbekistan through ExpREES this spring! I am quite optimistic that socializing during the trip to Uzbekistan will work out well. So the being part of the programme is beneficial in many different ways.  

How about online versus onsite? Can you find what you need online and at your local Uni or have travelled for your studies?

I am satisfied with hybrid the courses, which means they offer online options as well, allowing me to participate remotely. I have taken courses both from the University of Helsinki (Nuclear Narratives in the East Central European Context) and the University of Eastern Finland (Populism in East Central Europe). I also travel to Helsinki once or twice a month for meetings or lectures coordinated by ExpREES. 

You attended the Summer School at Lammi Biological Station in August which was also fully in Finnish. Tell me about the experience you had. 

As I’m studying in Swedish and have moved from abroad, I thought the intensive course would be a really great opportunity for me to start using Finnish and connect with people studying in Finnish universities. I have to admit, I didn't fully understand everything, but I was glad I could still participate in a Finnish-speaking environment.