by Anastasiia Bolshakova, LLM student in the Department of Legal Studies
When I received an acceptance email from CEU, my first thought was how happy I was, but my second one was that I have no idea how the educational process at CEU looks like, its intensity or if I can even handle it. Now that the first term is almost done, I am ready to say that there is nothing to worry about.
First of all, since all of the students at CEU have different educational backgrounds, I would like to start with choosing your courses. That was new for me since in Russia all of your courses are mandatory, but at CEU you can even take courses from other departments. From my perspective, that is the most important part of a student’s curriculum, since you need to choose classes that are interesting and suitable for your future career/academic track. Also, it gives students an opportunity to adjust the intensity of their coursework by taking more or less credits (hours) per term.
The second topic is the process of studying. Before every session we need to read a large amount on which future discussion is based. Thus, classes are mostly interactive, but some departments have lectures too. What I really liked during these discussions is that there is rarely a wrong answer. Professors encourage students to elaborate their personal opinions, not just recite those popular among scholars.
Last but not least are final exams. There are two types: in-class exams, which can be closed-book or open/restricted open-book, and take home exams. Due to Covid-19, the only type I have experienced is the take home variety. This experience was also new for me. With this type of exam, students download assignments and usually have 12-24 hours to complete them. You may think that this type of exam is the easiest one, because students can communicate with each other and use different resources, but in reality it is the most exhausting as during this period you think only about the exam. I cannot describe the amazing feeling you have when you submit your paper just in time, and understand that you did a great job and are now totally free.
In conclusion, I now understand that studying at CEU is a completely differ experience than studying anywhere else. It is not easy, but it is doable. I really hope that an open approach to education such as this will be considered by other universities, including those that are located in post-Soviet countries.