I am writing the blog for the young people, who live in developing countries and have the ambition to change the situation in their countries, especially for students from Post Soviet countries. I hope my story could be motivating for them.
I am an ordinary student from Georgia. Due to economical situation in Georgia and other developing countries, it is difficult to go abroad and study there. However, thanks to Estonian Development Cooperation I had a chance to be participant of summer university program at Tartu University, which was one of the most impressive experiences in my life. They financed my study program and gave me the scholarship. I can surely say that this was a great opportunity for me to find my way to Europe and in Estonia, which changed my life completely.
I would like to share my experiences during this program, which can be useful for young people and I strongly believe, that my example will give them motivation.
Some of you may not even have heard a lot about Estonia, but this country is worth seeing. During the summer program I fell in love with this country. Its natural beauty and mix of modern and ancient buildings is impressive.
Estonia is a small country; every city is different from each other. For example, Tartu is a cultural capital of Estonia.
Tartu University is the first and oldest university in Estonia.
Nature is marvelous and somewhat special in this country. However, the most impressive thing is that there is the internet and WIFI connection even in Natural Reserves
The program was a perfect mix of relaxation and studies, which had an outstanding effect on my academic performance.
Parnu is known as a summer capital of Estonia. This is the city, which makes you happy.
From the very first days, I was impressed how this small country managed to made the changes in extremely short period. Estonian reforms are vivid examples for countries like Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. We have the similar security issues. The country is a strategic partner of Georgia in the process of moving towards EU. Estonian experience is extremely important for Georgia especially, after Association Agreement with EU and for our final goal to be a member of European Union.
Estonia is a symbol of an image of a peaceful country. Surprisingly, I found out that Estonians have different methods of “fighting”. After Nazi German and Soviet aggression, “Music saved the nation”. Estonians’ fight for independence and revolution is expressed by singing. Music reunited Estonian people for independence and freedom. After watching the film ‘Singing Revolution’ I strongly believe in human power. This film made me believe that strong desire of people can break any system and fighting is possible without a weapon if you have a big heart and ‘magic’ in your spirit. In 1988 Hundreds of thousands Estonians started singing together about their beautiful fatherland and fighting against the Soviet occupation.
‘Keep the beauty of fatherland.
Fighting against the enemy:
Pay attention, pay attention,
Pay attention, pay attention!’
(Text from Estonian song)
After the program, I looked at this country differently, I rediscovered it. Estonian people deserve huge respect for their endless battle for their country, its development and independence. I can surely say that Estonia should be a great example for Georgians and not only.
Besides giving us various social experiences, the program also helped us gain knowledge about Russian “foreign policy” and its soft power. It is obvious, that Russia tries to increase its influence in Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova. Russian foreign policy uses new type of “weapon” for its interests. This new “weapon” is soft power, which is mix of different social, political, religious issues and its peak is to make people believe that EU is “an enemy” and Russia is “a friend” – this is Russian propaganda. It is important for Georgian young people to know how Russian propaganda is working. After the program, we have sufficient skills to identify Russian fake news and Russian “different” narratives, which is done professionally and seems true, but in reality, it is fake news. We have information about vulnerable groups, which can be unprotected and influenced by Russian fake news. I believe that education is the best way for realization and protection.
Security issues are one of the most important aspects in Estonia, due to its location and history. It is extremely difficult to be protectd enough for a small country, which is located between EU and Russia. Nevertheless, Estonia found a different way – technologies and cyber security.
Estonia is an outstanding country in many different ways. But it is something that you should see and experience yourself.