Aleksandr Shumikhin is a student of “International Policy Studies” course at International University of Central Asia (Kyrgyzstan). He came to Petrozavodsk State University as an exchange student and is studying at the Institute of History, Political and Social Sciences for five months. We have learnt about his studies, plans and hobbies from Aleksandr himself.
- Aleksandr, why do you study international relations?
- When I learned at school I was interested in international events and I followed politics of different countries. The reason for it is maybe the fact that Kirghizia is a multicultural country: there are the Kirgiz, the Russians, the Koreans, the Chinese, the Dungans, the Uzbeks, the Uigurs and even the Germans. In such conditions it is very important that everyone lives in peace. In our country there are not so many specialists who work in the field of national and trans-regional politics. I hope that after the graduation from university I will find myself in the field of international relations and regional conflicts, to be precise, and will have a chance to establish myself as a professional.
- Why have you decided to participate in the exchange program?
- This is an opportunity to meet new people and gain the knowledge that I would have never received back home. For another thing I wanted to get acquainted with the Russian system of education. In Kyrgyzstan almost all universities function according to credit education system of the Bologna system of education. When I came here and studied my curriculum at PetrSU I couldn’t understand how the marks are given and where the credits are. The director of the Institute assured me that there won’t be any challenges with it and I can study. So I’m studying. I attend courses on social etiquette theory and diplomatic etiquette of the Russian Federation, current global problems and sustainable development, geopolitics and international relations theory, current international relations, economic and politic processes of the CIS.
- In your opinion what qualities should a regional conflicts specialist have?
- An ability to listen, to understand both sides of the conflict without taking any of them, to give an alternative option, to be truthful and of course to know languages. My relatives and friends have always told me that these qualities are inherent to me. I am a calm, not hot-tempered person. I can listen and give a piece of advice if I’m asked to.
For another thing the work of such a specialist contemplates not just the factual knowledge but also being “whyer”: why did this or that event take place, why did the president of some country react in this, not that way, why? We search for the answers to these and other questions and also analyze the events, forecast the development and learn to find the solutions to acute situations.
- The students of the Institute of History, Political and Social Sciences have to be aware of internal and international events. Do you manage it? And how do you build your own opinion about an event?
- I take the facts as the basis and study them thoroughly. I also read independent Mass Media sources and do a content analysis. If you manage to familiarize with information and compare the sources you can build your own point of view. I don’t limit myself with the national or the Russian channels. I watch foreign channels and read foreign publications. Knowledge of English and German helps me a lot with it. I am sure that language knowledge will be very useful when I will land a job.
- What do you do in your free time? Do you have any hobbies?
- I watch and study documentaries about space and astronomy. When I watch the night sky I wonder how the stars look like in close up. Every time I ask myself: does the Universe have any boundaries? And when I start to imagine it I understand that I don’t have enough knowledge to do it. I have also always wondered what it takes the scientists to build a spaceship. I also enjoy swimming.
- What impressions of Petrozavodsk do you have?
- When I got to know that I will study in Karelia I immediately decided to find out where it is. I was very surprised by its location because I didn’t expect it to be so far away from my country and so close to the polar circle.
- Aleksandr, would you please share your future plans with us.
- At first I have to graduate from the university. Then I am planning to get a master’s degree but I haven’t decided yet whether I will study in Russia or Germany. If you speak about a longer time lag then I might be a lecturer at a university, do a research. Maybe I would write several books about governmental impact on society.
I am also thinking about moving to Russia to live there because my grandparents live in Vladimirsky region and Yakutia.