Testimonials About the RIT Kosovo (A.U.K) Peace and Conflict Studies Summer Program
American Graduate Student:
The Study Abroad trip with RIT Kosovo (A.U.K) was an amazing experience! Exploring the Balkan region provided a profound framework for understanding the rich, yet turbulent tapestry that persists. Dr. Baskin’s wealth of experience in this region’s history and unique culture is truly impressive. Prishtina is a vibrant and beautiful walking city, offering a great base for study away with cultural experiences, beautiful parks, and fun events including film and music/beer festivals. The people of Kosovo are so warm, friendly, and eager to share their lives. Campus is perfectly situated near Germia Park, with lodging adjacent and stores and cafes in walking distance. Everyone on campus and involved in the program truly made this the best experience it could be, from the programming and special events, to the delicious food and coffee.
It was a great experience – Kosovo is like an undiscovered pearl. I found great friends in local Albanians, Serbs, and Bosniaks, as well as international students. The program enabled me to develop and practice valuable skills such as public performance, critical thinking, decision making, and group work through interesting case studies of real situations from Kosovo/Yugoslav history. That approach to learning was very valuable. The professors were very approachable, available all the time for any questions, and persistent in encouraging us to do better. Without exaggeration, they were the best professors I’ve ever met. They became our friends, but at the same time stayed very professional and demanded that we do our best.
I got more than I had expected from the program. For travel, the Balkans are unparalleled. The study tour during the first week of the program – to Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia – was one of the most interesting experiences of my life. The landscapes of the Balkans alone made it worth it. In terms of academics, I think the program has given me knowledge and skills that I will now be able to apply anywhere in my life or career. I cannot speak highly enough of the instructors in the program. Everyone is genuine and eager to impart their knowledge, and it is clear that what they are teaching is not from rote academia, but from real-life and hands-on experience. Particularly for Political Science or International Relations majors who are thinking about pursuing a career in international development or post-conflict work, this program provides students with invaluable insights and tools that are much needed for any kind of work in the field.
The Program allows students to immerse themselves in Pristina. I chose to spend most of my time outside of class simply exploring and walking around Pristina. The city was urban and modern, and walking around Mother Teresa square with a gelato in hand will always be a fond memory. Exploring Pristina and interacting with Kosovars made a huge impact on me. This was the first time I have spent a significant amount of time abroad on my own. By the end of the program, I had a detailed mental map of Pristina, and I am confident that even today I would be able to navigate most of the city without a map.
Bosnian Graduate Student:
I really enjoyed the Summer program. I have learned a lot, met great people, had fun! The moment I applied for the program, I knew that it was one of a kind opportunity that shouldn’t be missed. And I wasn’t wrong
Serbian Graduate Student:
Recently I defended my master thesis about inter-ethnic reconciliation in Kosovo and I need to say that the RIT Kosovo (A.U.K) summer program, the 5 week-long visit, people I met and talked to, helped me a lot in my research and analysis. In my thesis, I mentioned RIT Kosovo (A.U.K) and the great experience with you.
I cannot recommend the program highly enough. The initial week-long trip through the Balkans was an awesome experience. The academics of the program are also unparalleled: there are few study abroad programs where you will learn about the topics at hand from actual practitioners. All the instructors had several years of experience working in their respective fields, and it was a novel experience to learn from someone who was not simply a college professor, but had actual and varied experience working on the ground in the Balkans. Our instructors ranged from high-level officials in the United Nations Mission in Kosovo to military coordinators in KFOR to on-the-ground development workers who worked to register IDPs. All together, Kosovo and the program offer a unique and enriching experience that cannot be found in many other study abroad programs.
Dutch Graduate Student:
Coming back home, Holland is grey and flat. I didn’t expect to be missing Pristina and its people as much as I do. Thank you very much fo the amazing summer program you made possible in Kosovo. I learned a great deal and believe all of us gained very valuable insights into each other’s’ lives and cultures.
The program exceeded my expectations in every way. The week-long Balkans tour we took at the beginning of the program was the best trip I’ve ever taken. One day we got to swim in the Adriatic in Montenegro, and the next day we walked through the Tunel Spasa (the Sarajevo Tunnel) that allowed supplies and humanitarian aid to enter Sarajevo during the siege. It is no exaggeration to say that it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The classes were unlike any I’ve taken. The professors are practitioners in the field, and so classroom learning was based on experience and then supplemented with concepts and theory. There was a huge focus on skill-building, which was a really exciting academic experience. Oftentimes political science and international relations can be very theoretical and therefore become detached from on-the-ground conditions. But these courses provided a real-world perspective and made career possibilities tangible. The professors took interest in introducing us to careers in international development, which was valuable to me as a college senior who wants to work abroad.
I would recommend this program to every student who wants to discover some lesser-known parts of Europe. It was also beneficial to be able to study in a multicultural environment and work as a team with other students on topics like making institutions more efficient, making politics more open to change, and contributing to the development of a country. All these things are useful and open up opportunities to learn even more new things. The program offers interactive, well-structured, interesting lessons, as well as first-hand experiences.