- Nino Vadakaria
- MSc in Nationalism Studies
- November 2007
- Doing Now
- Working for non-governmental organisations in Georgia and Kosovo
What were you doing before you applied to the MSc in Nationalism Studies?
I was working at the European Centre for Minority Issues in Georgia, as a research assistant. My research was about ecological migrants displaced from the mountainous parts of Georgia to the southern regions compactly settled by two biggest ethnic minority groups and the challenges that the integration of presented ethnic groups face.
Why Nationalism Studies?
I chose this program for following reasons: my interest and popularity of this phenomenon in my country. My home-country, Georgia after the break-up of the Soviet Union was drawn into civil war in a result of which we lost two regions (Abkhazia and Samachablo). One of the numerous reasons of these conflicts was ethnic tensions between majority and minority groups. With the help of the theoretical knowledge in this program, I wanted to explain the events that took place in Georgia theoretically and transform this knowledge into practise.
What are some of your favourite memories of the year in the programme?
There were couple of things that made my studies in Edinburgh unforgettable: my course mates and lecturers, and the city itself. I sincerely appreciated the informal but still very professional and mature relations of academics and students, and how much the lecturers/supervisors are keen to help you in anything student needs, especially because I come from post-soviet Georgia, where the educational system (at least during my bachelor’s studies) was profoundly influenced by the soviet system of very top-down approach. The diversity and the small size of the group made the studies even more special. It was easier to get to know each other closely in comparison to other groups in which many of them did not even know each others names. Apart from scheduled seminars, we would spend a lot of time in lively discussions in informal situations; in the library, in the pubs, during drinking coffee or tea, while climbing up to the Arthur’s Seat or hanging out at the meadows during the lunch breaks. I could say that the best ideas were born in those moments. So you could notice that the city itself which is rich in architecture and attractive to thousands was very inspiring and gave a really special spirit to our studies.
What was it like entering the job market with an MSc in Nationalism Studies?
At the beginning I was a bit concerned about finding a job that would closely correspond to my studies. But I participated in the Internship Scheme offered by Open Society Institute and received 12-month internship in Georgia. The project, Independent Media for Civic Integration, I was working with was EU funded project, specifically concentrated on two regions settled by two biggest ethnic minorities in Georgia. I could not ask for more corresponding job. In summer I received another great opportunity to work as an international short-term expert in policy development in Kosovo. The project provided institutional support to the Ministry for Communities and Returns, specifically, helped to develop the policy side of the ministry.
I am sure that if not the degree obtained at the University of Edinburgh in a specialised MSc in Nationalism Studies, it would have been more difficult to get a job so soon and successfully.