A few hours before Jevgēnijs and I are supposed to meet for an interview, he warns me on Facebook that due to bad weather conditions on the way from Riga to Tartu he might be late. There isn’t much room for being late though, as Jevgēnijs’ graduation ceremony starts fifty minutes from our interview appointment. Luckily, he arrives just in time – looking handsome in his bow tie and joyful.
“It is a funny trip, I guess”, smiles Jevgēnijs Rjaščenko, a fresh master’s graduate of the Baltic Sea Region Studies programme. He came to Tartu along with his family and a friend to take part in the graduation ceremony, and after a few hours they would continue driving for about ten hours more to visit relatives in Russia.
Will he celebrate his graduation in a big family circle upon arrival? “I wouldn’t call it a celebration, but a calm time spent with my family, friends, and relatives. I prefer it to hard partying”, says Jevgēnijs.
He came to Tartu two years ago, leaving behind his job in Riga. In looking back at his choice now, Jevgēnijs is content – he made many new friends, travelled a lot, challenged himself in an unfamiliar environment, and enjoyed independence. Right from the start, he aimed for the Atlantis programme and succeeded in getting the scholarship, so having spent his first semester in Tartu, Jevgēnijs continued his studies at Collegium Civitas in Warsaw, Poland, and then at West Virginia University in the United States.
The three countries, cities, and experiences all differed academically and culturally. Nevertheless, he enjoyed both the historical atmosphere of Tartu and Warsaw, as well as the contemporary fast-food culture in West Virginia.
Jevgēnijs likes to get involved in different activities, particularly in the academic field. At the University of Tartu, he joined the International Student Ambassadors programme, and praises it for helping student candidates make good choices and learn about opportunities in Tartu. At the same time, he likes to be alone and spend time by himself. Tartu seems fit for both: “To get the energy of the city and just feel the city – this is what I like in particular about Tartu”.
Now Jevgēnijs is in the process of finding a job in Riga: “You have to be on your own in your home country. I’ll do my best to succeed in that”. No doubt he will.
Listen to the podcast interview with Jevgēnijs Rjaščenko: