Lena from Ukraine: In Tartu I Learned How To Learn

Lena Sologub

Organising a ‘photolaundry’ in Tartu. Photo by Viljar Sepp.

Listen to the interview with Lena Sologub:

Lena’s first trip to Tartu two years ago was nerve-racking. It was the last day to apply for studies at the University of Tartu, she was on the bus to Tartu, and the bus was running late. When she finally reached the university and said that she came from Kiev to submit her application documents, the staff looked shocked.

Why would anyone hassle with a visa and travel long hours if you can send the required hard copies by mail?! However, Lena was eager to get to Tartu. She admits feeling absolutely fascinated by the town long before her arrival. Luckily, Tartu did not disappoint her. She praises its charm and safety. If there is something that Lena misses here, then it is the noise of a big city — she grew up in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine.

Looking back at the two years of mastering the European Union – Russia Studies MA Programme, Lena sums up the result without hesitation: “You learn how to work in a team, how to do something together, how to share and present your ideas, and also how to defend them. You learn how to develop yourself, and you learn how to learn.”

Lena Sologub with her fellow students

Lena with her group after the defense. Photo by Silver Bohl.

During Lena’s studies Ukraine has remained in the focus. Almost everything they discussed in class, at numerous conferences and workshops, in one way or another touched upon her home country. Even though Lena’s family is currently relatively safe in Kiev, she says that everyone in Ukraine is somehow affected by the on-going war. She has mostly experienced understanding and support from her fellow students and university lecturers, who also volunteered to gather medicine and clothes for Ukraine.

Lena’s most valuable achievement in Tartu is learning to study independently, and her favourite place to do it is the quiet, cosy, and light college library. Another important achievement is running her first two marathons in Tartu. Lena’s usual 10-km jogging track starts from the Raatuse dorm, runs up Narva maantee, turns near the church and continues along the Jõgeva road.

Photography is Lena’s developing hobby. She has already organised three ‘photolaundry’ events in Tartu. The idea of a ‘photolaundry’ is simple: everyone can hang photos on a laundry line, thus sharing their visual stories. Lena says she has met so many interesting people, both photographers and passers-by, during these events.

Last week Lena started her summer internship at Domus Dorpatensis and hopes to find a job in Estonia. Her graduation ceremony at the University of Tartu is on Friday.

Lena Sologub with fellow student ambassadors

Starting from her second semester in Tartu, Lena joined the team of international student ambassadors. Photo by Alexander Chanadiri.

Lena Sologub is running the marathon

Running a marathon. Photo from a personal archive.

Listen to the interview with Lena Sologub:

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