Since 2007, more than 400 students have participated in the Schools organized within the framework of the project. Each School gathers together an international team of researches and students and promotes collaborative work. The representatives of Russia, Austria, Canada, China, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Norway, the Philippines, Switzerland, the United States, and other countries have already visited the Schools.
(Estonia'16 and '13, Barcelona'11, Higher School of Economics'12, St. Petersburg State University'10)
"For me the strongest part of the Escapes from Modernity project is a perfect combination of people and places. There was no better place to dive into the study of architecture, urban geography and sociology than Barcelona. And there was no better person than renowned architect Josep Acebillo to interpret its past, describe its present and think about its future. In its turn, Estonia is an ideal place to study the politics of memory. The presence of students from Russia and Estonia made it extremely interesting to dig into the common past in the quest to understand the reasons and preconditions of the long-lasting conflict of identities between the two countries. Careful guidance by bright professors helped to spur the discussion and explore unconventional aspects of the problem.
I would recommend the Schools to those who want to broaden their perspectives on the given topics and also to those who are used to pushing the envelope, no matter what they are doing: disputing about the future of architecture, skiing through the forests, or jumping into the cold lake at the end of a study day."
(Estonia'13, University of Tartu'15, Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences'13)
"At the moment I noticed a call for applications for the Winter School in Estonia, I decided to apply because it combined everything one could wish for: beautiful area, diverse schedule, and meeting people with similar interests. But the best thing was that it all went well beyond expected. The lectures and discussions engaged everyone in meaningful, down-to-earth debate, relevant both for academic studies and everyday life. It definitely helped to put previously gained knowledge in a wider perspective, develop deeper insights on issues related to nation-building, history, memory and identity. Nothing of this could be achieved without a common spirit aimed at understanding what hides under the theoretical conceptions and no one was left behind in the wish to do it. It was fun and it was enriching, and I am happy that I was a part of it."
(Estonia'12, Academy of National Economy'13, Brigham Young University'11)
"The Winter School in Estonia cultivated students interested in understanding the political turmoil that exists in a late-modern world. Only in the quiet, unorthodox setting of the School in Kääriku, with the combined intellect of superb instructors and equally impressive students, could theory come so close to reality and practicality. I was especially personally enriched by the lively discussions on memory and national identity, especially as they are applied not only in Eastern Europe, but in various nation-states around the world. This really was a fantastic School. Aitäh!"
(Estonia'12, Garmisch'11, MGIMO-University'12, University of Virginia'10)
"The days spent at the Winter Schools in Estonia and Garmisch-Partenkirchen were one of the most harmonious days I have ever experienced. These weeks embodied a perfect synthesis of academics, sports, culture, socializing, resting, trying new things and making new friends. The level of lectures was highly engaging and incredibly interesting, the participants of the Schools were a lot of fun and made for a great group dynamic, and the areas we lived in were beautiful and conducive to all kinds of sports and recreational activities. Both trips stand out in my memory as enriching and full of lauther, and also as the beginning to a lot of new passions I will seek to build upon. I highly recommend such an experience to everyone, no matter what their interests are either in sports or academics and no matter where they are from. Everyone has something to share, and everyone will take a lot away from these multi-dimensional adventures."
(Lappi'11, University of Prishtina'14)
"I decided to participate in the Summer School in Lapland because the topics developed there were of particular interest to me. Besides the various and exiting subject-matters, we often went to hiking trips, where we also engaged in outdoor classes. The nature there wasn't just beautiful, it also meshed harmoniously with the overall theme of the School. The group work was especially impressive, for we always had the freedom of discussing original arguments, thus making learning an ever-fluid and rewarding endeavor. I think following this School would be suitable for people with a variety of interests: political theory, ecology, social studies, systems theory or economics, anything goes."
(Estonia'11, Higher School of Economics'14)
"One of the reasons for my decision to participate in the Summer School in Estonia was some misunderstanding that exists between Russians and Estonians. And I was glad that the School proved out that this is no more than a stereotype. I especially liked the lectures on sovereignty and democracy. With regard to our sports activities, it was a great idea of Sergei Medvedev to go for a jogging with us every day. The communication with our Estonian colleagues was a pleasant experience as they appear to be sociable, tactful, and having good sense of humor. In my view, this educational project should be continued in future, as the Schools allow both to get new knowledge and to have a good escape from the daily routine."
(Estonia'11, Higher School of Economics'14)
"I had never thought much about my future specialization, but the Summer School in Estonia gave me a clear understanding of what I can do after finishing the university. The problems touched in the lectures of the professors from the University of Tartu and the Higher School of Economics were concerned with sovereignty, memory and democracy in connection with modern development of statehood and international relations. The lectures were always interesting and interactive so everyone could express his or her point of view and ask questions. Apart from studying, we had a good opportunity to play tennis and volleyball outdoors, to go walking, to enjoy picturesque landscape and take photos or just to have fun together. At evenings we watched films connected with the topics of our lectures and then discussed them. The week in Estonia quickly came to an end, but it gave me unforgettable memories and I am just looking forward to visiting the School once again."
(Garmisch'11, Lappi'10, Luzern University of Applied Sciences and Arts'11)
"The Summer School in Lapland was one of the best moments during my university education time. First of all, the place in the middle of the untouched tundra is simply amazing. The location changes the mind and really allows focusing on the subjects of the course. Furthermore, the professors were very competent and explained themes in an understandable way. The School was also linked with various activities like trekking or sightseeing, which also allowed me to get an impression of the tundra and the northern life.
After taking part in the Summer School in Lapland, I decided to visit the Winter School in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. In this course the knowledge-transfer also was very intense. It was fascinating to see the projects of the websites, which were developed by the students at this School. Arrived now in business life, I am very glad to have had the possibilities to participate in these two Schools. In their way, they were very open minding and could transfer knowledge in another form of learning. I recommend the Schools strongly to any student who is interested in the offered topics."
Photos by Anastasia Kalimanova (Estonia'11), Daria Vdovenko (Estonia'12, Barcelona'11, Lappi'10), and Olga Zeveleva (Estonia'12, Garmisch'11).