Paul Pryce

Canada

Coming to Estonia...
For Estonia, 2007 was a year marked by conflict. I wanted to better understand the underlying tensions and how these might be addressed. After all, some of the issues were, in some regards, reminiscient of points in the history of the Canadian province of Quebec. I felt that learning how Estonians were working to address their country’s issues would help me to better understand how to address my own country’s issues. I could have tried to conduct research on this from Canada, but most material looks to the distant past and rarely to the immediate present.

Before coming here...
The closest I had ever come to Estonia before was Ukraine, so I expected similar architecture, similar lifestyles, and so on and so forth. I actually found that Estonia is very unique. There are some aspects which are similar to Russia or to Ukraine, but there are also many aspects which are practically identical to Sweden or to Finland. Estonia is truly at a crossroads, which means there’s always something to discover, something new to learn.

Student life in Estonia...
There is a student life! Well, to put it more accurately, there are more opportunities to interact with fellow students in and out of the classroom in Estonia. Thanks to the Erasmus programmes, the closeness of Europe, and the affordable tuition, there is a strong diversity to the student body, too. If you want to learn something about any part of the world, there’s probably a student from there, or who has been there, who you can ask.

Studying in Estonia...
From an academic standpoints, I developed a strong appreciation and understanding for the history of Estonia and the region. My research skills and my capacity for intercultural communication grew as a result, too. On a personal level, I came away from my studies in Estonia with a global network of outstanding friends. Estonia has become more than a centre of learning for me, though; it’s become like a second home.

Best things that have happened to me in Estonia...
Before coming to Estonia, I had been conducting as much research as I could on Estonian identity politics. I discovered that there are many exceptional writers in this area. One author in particular stood out for me. When it came time to defend my thesis, I discovered that my thesis reviewer would be that same author: Raivo Vetik, the leading thinker in the field. It was an incredible opportunity to debate and to discuss with Dr. Vetik about Estonia’s past, present, and future. Thanks to the small size of the country, and thanks to the kindness and welcoming spirit of the Estonian people, I enjoyed a great deal of access to other Estonian leaders, too.

I would tell others...
I would tell them that Estonia offers a far greater ’bang for the buck’. Thanks to the Estonian government’s investment in quality education, the tuition is much lower than it would be in Canada. But, at the same time, the classroom environment in Estonia is more open and participatory. There’s more to learn from the discussions and debates that take place in an Estonian classroom than there is to be obtained from sitting silently in a lecture hall. Depending on your specialization and area of study, Estonia could be where you will make the next breakthrough.

My degree programme is...
International relations, international security, international law, intercultural communication, geopolitics, epistemology, political sociology, multilateral institutions, and making the world a better place.

While being away from my home country, I miss the most...
Family and the dry mountain air of Alberta.

Studying in Estonia is an international experience...
Having experience studying abroad is vital to developing intercultural communication skills. In a globalizing world, it’s important to be able to work with people from many different backgrounds with differing ways of expressing themselves. Adapting to a different culture also broadens your worldview and means that you’ll be even better equipped to move with changing times when you complete your studies and enter the workforce.

My future plans...
At the moment, I am working on a number of human rights advocacy and democratization projects on behalf of an international non-governmental organization. But I am looking forward to soon increasing my involvement in Canadian politics.

The last thing I want to say...
Consider checking out Estonia for your studies. The cost of living is affordable, the prospects amazing, and you are very likely to get more ’bang for your buck’ than anywhere else.