Russian journalist Elena Krivovyaz is studying a Master's in Media & Communication Studies.
Russian journalist Elena Krivovyaz is strengthening her career with a Master's in Media and Communication Studies.

“I was 26 and working as a TV journalist back home and wanted to do something different,” says Elena, who has previously studied at Moscow State University.

“As part of my programme in Russia I'd learned some Swedish so I looked at the kind of programmes that were available in Sweden, having also previously visited as a tourist and liked it here. On the basis of that and the programme at the Department, I decided Stockholm University would be a good place to come and study.”

The International Master’s programme in Media & Communication Studies is taught in English with staff from both Sweden and abroad.

“It's a very international environment,” says Elena. “There are students from the UK, Turkey, Italy, Norway, Romania, Hungary, Austria, Germany and of course Sweden. But I'm the only Russian.”

Used to more teacher contact time and working independently when at Moscow State, Elena sees the emphasis on group work and research at Stockholm University as particularly positive.

“We have a lot of group work and we do much more self-study, which is very different to Russia. There you just have a lot of classes and speak for yourself. This has been a new challenge, a new experience for me. I've not had to negotiate joint project work and had to work with classmates before, so I've developed new skills,” she says. “It's given me new confidence. Especially as I'm also working in English.”

From an academic point of view, Elena also enjoys the theoretical perspective she is gaining into journalism at the Department of Media Studies.

“I've enjoyed the taught courses I've taken in theory and methodology and now I'm writing my dissertation,” explains Elena. “I'm also involved in a study about the future of journalism with a member of the teaching faculty, which is great.”

The chance to be involved in university research is particularly important to Elena, who now has her sights set on pursuing research at doctoral level.

“The research and library facilities here are very well organised. Stockholm University has a good library with a lot of current literature in my field, which is very important for my studies.”

Studying abroad is not all about hard work, though, as Elena is eager to point out.

“There's some good nightlife here in Stockholm. Some great clubs. You can find anything you want. There are also good sports facilities both on campus and in the city. I've done a lot of swimming here which I haven't done in Russia. The pools are so clean and well maintained.”

The only difficulty Elena had in settling into life at Stockholm University was the initial problem to find somewhere to live.

“I managed to rent a room in Åkersberga –about thirty minutes north of the University’s campus by commuter train – when I first came because I didn't get any student accommodation,” says Elena. “I then moved to Norsborg, closer to town. Finally I got a room on campus at Lappis, which makes getting to class and the library much easier. I'm much happier being on campus, although it was interesting to see how multicultural some parts of Stockholm really are.”

Although this was a bit stressful, Elena still sees the positive side of this initial difficulty.

“I've got to see different parts of Stockholm and the surrounding area. It's all been part of a great cultural and academic experience for me.”

Text and interview: Jon Buscall