Take your work seriously and challenge yourself!

One of the CES specialization: Central and Eastern European Studies: Research Track offers students to lead their own research project or take part in the Internship Programme. Read the interview with Alex from US, one of the students that used this opportunity and he had an internship at New Eastern Europe magazine.

Why was it worth it to be an intern at NEE?Alex B

My internship experience at New Eastern Europe complemented my coursework at CES very well, I was able to get relevant professional experience while completing my MA classes, and I made valuable professional contacts.  I would encourage all incoming CES students to pursue internship opportunities!

What did you learn during your internship?

I learned a lot about the whole editorial process of a regional current affairs magazine — everything from generating ideas, to soliciting commentary from authors, to formatting the outlook of the issue before publication. I was also able to write two book reviews for the print edition, which was a very valuable experience.

What was the most challenging?

The most challenging thing was to balance the demands of the internship with other schoolwork, but luckily New Eastern Europe was very flexible in this regard.

Why is worth it to be an intern in general?

You can gain professional experience while getting academic credit at the same time, which counts toward your MA coursework requirements.  Doing an internship helped me to finish the program requirements—besides the thesis, of course—in one academic year.

Tips from Alex on how to take maximum advantage from an Internship.

  1.   Find something that complements your coursework and is relevant to your interests and career goals.
  2.   Challenge yourself and don’t be afraid to go outside your comfort zone.
  3.   Network with your colleagues at the internship.
  4.   Take your work seriously, but have fun with it!

Thank you Alex!

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Be a wanted specialist!

Do you think of a research/expert career? Would you like to learn more about what it means to research? Meet some of the CES Alumni who are now successfully conducting their doctoral studies and who are willing to share their thoughts about it.

Alex Pomiecko from USA, who is a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto. If you want to follow her steps, we encourage you to check out the specialization: Central and Eastern European Studies: Research Track at CES which focuses on research management and prepares students to act as experts in the future. See how possible it is!

Alex Who is a researcher/expert? What is the role of researchers/experts today?

A researcher is someone who dedicates him or herself to a particular area of interest and utilizes the tools available to them to the best of their knowledge and capability. The role and uses of a researcher are varied; they can be as limited to a personal interest in a specific subject to a consulting position in a company.

How did you discover you would like to become a researcher?

My decision to pursue a research-based field was based on an early personal, academic interest in history. As I continued my university studies, I took courses related to the field and was able to refine my specific interests. Finally, I began to look at career and professional options related to my interests and narrowed it down to a research-based one. It seemed the best suited for my personality, goals, and work ethic.

What are your research areas of interests? Why did you choose those? How do you work on it?

My research focuses on Central and East European history; specifically, Belarusian and Polish history of partisans and guerrilla groups from 1915 to 1943. I knew for several years that I was interested in history in this particular region. As I continued my university studies, I took opportunities that would allow me to explore options pertaining to this type of study, and it is in this way that I was able to determine whether or not a research-related path was the right one for me. In my specific case, this came about through writing research papers, learning foreign languages, working in various archives, as well as talking to people who were pursuing a research-field in history. Lastly, I thought about a topic and research questions that were lacking in the historiographical field. This allowed me to choose an understudied subject that could hopefully be marketable for the future.

What keeps you motivated from day to day?

Ultimately, it is a strong passion and interest in the topic that motivates me. Furthermore, having a dedicated supervisor and group of peers makes the experience more rewarding and enjoyable.

What is the most rewarding thing about being a researcher/expert? What is the most challenging?

The most rewarding part is that I truly get to learn and work on a topic of my interest. Having the opportunity to be able to research and study something is rewarding in itself. In my case, being able to speak with people who are equally interested in similar topics makes it equally worthwhile, as I can share my ideas and many times, learn from others. That being said, there are, of course, many hurdles in the process that make the research challenging. These can be as minor as bureaucratic difficulties in accessing documents in the archives, to dealing with individuals who do not share your views and can be detrimental to your research development.

What kind of skills should a researcher/ expert develop?

Patience, dedication, motivation, and openness are equally important and vital to a researcher. These usually come automatically if someone is truly interested in what they want to study. There are, of course, minor skills that are more tailored to each research project; for example language skills, computer/technological skills, etc. Being able to work both with people and individually is another asset.

What is your advice for students who want to become a researcher/ expert?

I would recommend being flexible with your interests and research pursuits. Taking the time to think about a topic is vital, as in most cases it is something you will be working on for many years to come. Rushing into a project may prove to be weary and not enjoyable. This can be remedied by talking to people in these respective fields or university departments, who are working on issues you are interested in. Furthermore, while the research process itself is narrow and quite subject-specific, will the outcome of your research provide you with opportunities in the future?

Thank you Aleks!

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Be a wanted specialist!

Do you think of a research/expert career? Would you like to learn more about what it means to research? With this new series of articles you will have an opportunity to meet some of the CES Alumni who are now successfully conducting their doctoral studies and who are willing to share their thoughts about it. Adrian Favero from Switzerland, who is a PhD candidate at the University of Edinburgh will be the first to do it. If you want to follow his steps, we encourage you to check out the specialization: Central and Eastern European Studies: Research Track at CES which focuses on research management and prepares students to act as experts in the future. See how possible it is!

Adrian AWho is a researcher/expert? What is the role of researchers/experts today?

Personally, I would describe a researcher/expert as someone who spends a lot of time reading and analysing a certain topic of interest. Through learning and experience, the researcher obtains intellectual and academic capacities, such as to think critically and the ability to convert information into high-quality written work.

How did you discover you would like to become a researcher?

During my research for my MA thesis, I realised that I enjoyed gathering and organising information and to analyse the data with statistical methods to explain the observed phenomenon. I also liked the process of writing and finding a way to state my arguments in a manner that made them comprehensible for the readers. Moreover, I want to gain more knowledge in the area of my personal interest and I would like to convey this knowledge to students, once I have completed my studies.

What are your research areas of interests? Why did you choose those? How do you work on it? What keeps you motivated from day to day?

Generally, I focus in my research on European Union politics. More specifically, I examine identity related opinions and behaviour towards the EU. Growing up in Switzerland, a country where anything related to the EU is debated controversially, made me want to learn more about the relationships between place-based identities and the view on the EU. Currently, I am at the stage within my PhD where I read books and increase my knowledge about the topic. I also meet with my supervisors regularly to discuss my findings. In my opinion, the key to being motivated is, to be interested in the topic.

What is the most rewarding thing about being a researcher/expert? What is the most challenging?

 I think the reward of doing a PhD is first and foremost intrinsic. I would like to think of my work as being interesting and maybe meaningful one day. I am free in how I accomplish my work and I believe in the approach that I am taking. I feel satisfied when I learn something new and discover a new angle to my investigations. Another aspect is, to meet new people from all over the world who share the same interests. The interactions and discussions with them are very interesting and fruitful.

One of the biggest challenges is the self-management of the studies. Doing a PhD requires a high degree of self-motivation and self-structuring. It is easy to lose track since nobody forces the researcher to so something. It’s on them to make progress.

What kind of skills should a researcher/ expert develop?

A researcher should develop the ability to think critically, analyse carefully and to work to high standards.

What is your advice for students who want to become a researcher/ expert?

You should like to read and to study. You should be able to work independently and enjoy being part of the academic environment.

Thank you Adrian!

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Why is it worth it to intern?

Practical experience is most valued at the start of your professional career. A new specialization at CES: MA in European Studies – Central and Eastern European Studies: Research Track combines high quality academic knowledge with practical courses about professional research know-how, management and usage which will enable students to either lead their own research project or participate in the Internship programme. This innovative idea will prepare young professionals for future challenges which they will face in the labor market.

We have asked some of our students who have already gained experience through interning, “What is interning worth to you?”.

Lana, France: It is truly worth being an intern because you acquire abilities that cannot be pursued in class, such as autonomy, responsibility and a great sense of self-confidence. It is also an efficient way of preparing yourself for the professional world. I would also add that doing an internship helps you specify your professional project and allows you to experience some paths that you would have never thought about if it had not been for an internship.

Alena, Czech Republic: Practice is priceless and can give an experience that school cannot provide because everyone has to live it on their own. An internship allows you to deepen your knowledge (you learn as you go, you are really lame at the begining etc.), you are able to discuss with and learn from experienced colleagues, see how the daily rythm in an organization/company works. It is also a good opportunity to see whether you would like to do this kind of work later on, and it is definitely helpful to have some experience before looking for a job, as employers ask for it. And plus, you meet some great people!

Claudia, France: Internship is an added value, because in the labour market it is an advantage and makes a difference when there are a lot of candidates for a position or job. An internship is proof that you are able to work in the real world and not only through books. Finally, it helps personally to learn and redefine our interest in the labour market; working with ideas or with theories can be very different from reality. Sometimes a job can seem interesting but being interested in a job and working in the field with can be completely different. That is why an internship and immersion in the work can help to redefine these borders.