Mariam from Georgia: I knew more about Tartu semiotics than about Estonia

Mariam Nozadze
Mariam Nozadze receives her master’s diploma from the rector of the University of Tartu. Photo by Andres Tennus

On the day of our interview, Mariam arrived to Tartu from a week-long conference. She walked through the streets and said: “Oh my god, this is so familiar!” She had the feeling of opening the door and saying: “Hey Mom, I just got back!”

Mariam’s family is back in Georgia, though, which is where she headed after graduating from the master’s programme in semiotics at the University of Tartu.

Mariam had been studying in Tartu with a Georgian governmental scholarship funded by the International Education Center. Her only obligation was to study well, which she did. Now she would present her study experience and diploma and see what the ministry would like her to do.

Prior to coming to Estonia, Mariam knew more about Tartu semiotics than she did about the country itself. The Estonian climate took her by surprise. While many find November the most difficult month to cope with, for Mariam it was October – not winter yet, but cold according to her Georgian standards.

Mariam Nozadze
Mariam at Toome Hill in Tartu.
Photo from a private archive

“Studies are no struggle if you are motivated,” says Mariam. The most amazing things that she experienced in Tartu were connected to studies: professors and their classes; the knowledge that she gained; and the academic environment where students can communicate with the lecturers, discuss things, get feedback, and question everything.

Mariam also gained a lot of adorable friends and met her boyfriend in Tartu. “I’m going to Georgia with all my luggage, but he – not with all of his luggage. That’s the difference,” says Mariam with a smile.

Before coming to Tartu, the young lady taught Georgian literature and language, as well as foreign literature, to teenage students at a private high school in Georgia.

There she learned not to judge anybody if they didn’t know something. She also knows that you can’t enter a class and change somebody’s life. This just does not happen. What you can do, though, is facilitate people to discover something. “This is the beauty of teaching,” says Mariam. She would like to teach in the future as well.

While she loves cozy Tartu and her home country, Mariam is convinced that we all need to see new places and challenge ourselves with new (academic) environments. She would love to continue with doctoral studies in the future – either in Tartu or elsewhere.

Listen to the interview with Mariam Nozadze:

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