Interview with Dmitry Zavyalov, CAYN 2013 alumnus from Tajikistan

Dmitry graduated with Honors from Lomonosov Moscow State University (Dushanbe branch) and is currently pursuing his Master’s Degree in Human Rights and Multilevel Governance at University of Padua, Italy under Erasmus Mundus Program. In his interview, Dmitry will share with his experience of being an Erasmus Mundus student in Italy as well as give some tips on how to become part of such program.

Dmitry, you are now studying at the University of Padua in Italy. Can you please share about your experience of living in Italy? Was it difficult to adapt to new life in a new community and a new culture?

Adapting to a new lifestyle was not difficult for the simple reason: I found that Italian culture and Italian lifestyle almost perfectly match my preferences. Italians are open, hospitable and hearty people, willing to help others. If you succeed in making Italian friends, you won’t face any unsolvable problems.

Moreover, as my MA degree program is taught completely in English, I enjoy international spirit all around. Generally speaking, I don’t think it should be a problem to adapt to a foreign country for an open-minded person.

Practically speaking, what should a young Tajik student expect when starting his/her education in Europe?

A different approach to education for sure. Attendance is not obligatory here, nor is participation in the lectures and seminars. For a student, who studied in a Tajik educational system, studying in Europe may seem easy until the examination period starts. Studying on a daily basis is a key to success here.

Will you share your secret on how to get selected for Erasmus Mundus programme? When should students start preparing to get into the programme? Any special aspects that they need to pay more attention to?

The preparations for applying to Erasmus Mundus programs should start the day a student enters university: good GPA is one of the crucial elements of a successful application. Recommendations and motivation letter represent another paramount part of the application. Thanks to the recommendations of my professors from Moscow University and a training on writing successful motivation statements during CAYN, I managed to have everything at the necessary level to become selected for the Erasmus Mundus Silkroute scholarship.

Unfortunately, the mentioned program no longer offers scholarships. However, I strongly believe, the educational cooperation between the European Union and Central Asian states will reveal itself in a number of other programs down the road. The advice for those wishing to win a scholarship and graduate in Europe is to set up to sail through every wind.

I know that Erasmus has a huge network community. What is it like to be part of the Erasmus network? Maybe you can tell us more about relations between the members and the advantages of being Erasmus Mundus alumni?

Erasmus Student Network (ESN) has about 190,000 members. I enjoy being a member of ESN — it unites people coming from different countries in an informal environment. Thanks to this network I made many friends. Not to mention tons of fun that one can have as a member of ESN. The networks also helps to build up your own professional network, which is of crucial importance for any ESN member upon his/her graduation.

In your opinion, what will happen with CAYN in 5 years? What direction should we choose?

CAYN is a network featuring a solid potential for development into something quite substantial further on. It can evolve into a think-tank of young intellectuals, a platform for discussions of the prospects of Central Asian integration: it all depends on what organizers and the community of CAYN alumni agree upon. One thing can be said for sure: with such enthusiasm that CAYN alumni have, CAYN will remain one of the leading institutions in the region promoting the development of Central Asian youth.

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