Learning With NGOs and a Path to International Relations

June 22, 2023

Anna Flaismanova had been living in Vienna for a couple years prior to beginning the Culture, Politics and Society (CPS) program at CEU. She enjoys the coffee places and all the museums and culture in the city. Originally from the Czech Republic, Flaismanova reflects on how the structure of the bachelor’s program supported the process of clarifying the focus of her studies.  

“At first, you're interested in everything and then you can start to define your interests once you experience classes in different subjects,” said Flaismanova, whose path of scholarship combined gender studies, nationalism studies and an eventual focus on sociology and anthropology.  

Flaismanova took part in the experiential learning track of her bachelor’s program, for which she did a research internship (along with fellow student Ethan Danesh) remotely at a law firm in Victoria, Canada, focusing on the indigenous community. I was doing some research to help with the publication of a book [True Reconciliation by Jody Wilson Raybould] that is about the indigenous rights, which was very interesting and also counted toward my credits at CEU.” In addition to that work, Flaismanova is a tutor for an NGO, People in Need, in the Czech Republic, remotely teaching secondary school children who have difficult home situations or who are from the Roma community.  

“One of the nicest learning experiences was an excursion to Budapest with the Nationalism Studies professor, Luca Varadi,” commented Flaismanova. The class was about prejudices and stereotypes especially toward the Roma community, so we had a discussion with an NGO worker in Budapest about how the Roma population is treated there and in some of the smaller cities and villages; and how the situation with the regime now is changing and what is getting worse, which was very interesting and helpful to understanding the class topics.”  

Flaismanova’s next step following graduation is to pursue a two-year master’s degree in Nationalism Studies at CEU. In addition to academic growth over the last three years, she observes significant development on a personal level, having become more confident speaking up in class, standing by her arguments and defending her perspectives.  

Her advice to incoming students?Stay open-minded; be prepared to be challenged in a good way, because it's a lot of work. Don't be shy, and stand behind your opinions.”