July 2020 Alumni Profile: Emma Pratt

Emma Pratt, MA in Slavic and East European Studies Class of 2011

Emma Pratt

Emma Pratt in Lechkhumi, Georgia

Where do you work and what is your current position?

I am an Invited Lecturer in English at the International School of Economics at Tbilisi State University (ISET), as well as a freelance editor.

Tell us how you got there.

After graduating from CSEES into a tough job market (the previous recession), I moved to Georgia as a volunteer English teacher. My intention was to improve my language skills and cultural expertise. One of the things that I found I love about Georgia is that employers are often willing to take a chance on someone young and bright, but inexperienced. I was hired from my volunteer position into a full-time teaching job for the government, and a little later a friend tipped me off that ISET was starting a Bachelor’s degree program, and they needed someone to plan and execute the new English curriculum. ISET’s reputation for academic┬árigor and our famous family-like atmosphere made me eager to apply. They liked my teaching demonstration and gave me the position; I have worked there since, seeing the program grow. Next year our first cohort will graduate.

How has your CSEES MA helped you throughout your post-graduate life?

Most Georgians have never encountered a foreigner who studied Georgian formally and speaks (relatively) grammatically. The language skills I acquired at CSEES always endear me to new acquaintances in Georgia. My knowledge of Georgian/Russian/Soviet history and literature has helped me understand some of the background of situations I am walking into and given me a better understanding of current events.

What was your focus or research interest when you studied at OSU?

My primary interest was democratization and post-Communist transitions and my thesis was on the 2010 amendments to the Georgian constitution. One of my favorite things about the program at CSEES was that I was able to study broadly. I also enjoyed a number of literature, history, and international studies courses.

If you are a traveler, what is one of your favorite trips you have taken?

It’s impossible to choose a favorite, but my most recent trip to Kyiv was wonderful. I was visiting family who live there, and it was a great balance of seeing the tourist attractions and relaxing with my relatives.

What are your future plans?

My previous future plans were derailed by Covid-19 closures and delays, so I’m waiting until there is some clarity about the situation and timelines before regrouping. I think I will be ready to return to the US in the medium-term and I’d like to continue working in higher education.