Over the inter-semester break I was lucky enough to attend a virtual exchange paper in “International Relations and Threats to Global Security” delivered by Masaryk University in the Czech Republic. I’d been planning on going on an exchange for a few years, but with everything that has been happening, this was not going to happen. But thanks to the Uni providing access to virtual opportunities, I was actually able to complete an exchange and make friends from around the world whilst staying in NZ. Thank you so much to 360 for this opportunity!
This course ran for 3 weeks in the evening and the topics we covered ranged from armed conflicts, cyber, energy and environmental security, and religious radicalism through to the refugee crisis. Each topic was taught by a different lecturer who was a recognised expert in the subject. The course was really well organised with the assessments clearly enhancing our understanding of the content.
As there were only around 16 of us in the virtual paper, during the live lectures we were able to get into in-depth discussions, and gain perspectives on global issues from people located all around the world!
In terms of assessment, we were expected to complete mini assignments to test our understanding of each day’s readings before the lecture would begin. We were also required to create a 20-minute video presentation on how various crises affect European security and what Europe does about it. We were expected to analyse the specific nature and causes of the crisis, why it matters to Europe and what the European response has been and its effectiveness. My group was assigned South Ossetia and Georgia. Other groups investigated Libya, Ukraine and Syria. Discussions about each group’s presentations formed our final lecture for the course. This was a great way to round off everything that we had learned. I will be putting the lessons from the presentations into practice in my final essay for the paper on a security issue which Europe has failed to deal with adequately in the recent past.
In addition to your normal zoom lectures, we were fortunate to attend virtual sessions hosted by the OSCE, Radio Free Europe, and the UN. Masaryk University also arranged numerous social and cultural activities for us to attend over the 3 weeks.
I had a great time on the virtual exchange, and could not recommend it highly enough. Thank you again to everyone involved in making this exchange happen. If you have the chance, apply!