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