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Lina Rusch is a third year IRIO student and currently reports from Ukraine, where she is doing a semester abroad.

Studying Abroad: Ukraine 4

Last month I went home to Germany for a weekend.  On my way back I took a bus from Berlin to Chernivtsi. It took a whole day to get there and Ukrainian roads are not exactly a joyride, but the experience justified the means. Such a trip reminds you of what it’s like to live in Ukraine. The (Ukrainian) bus ... Read More »

Marriage as Last Resort

After two years of on-going war in Syria news from crisis area leave us increasingly indifferent. But the suffering continues for those affected, whether in Syria or in the refugee camps in the neighbouring countries. Coping with the refugee life is a struggle and some families have to opt for drastic measures to ensure an income. Child marriage is becoming ... Read More »

The Inbetweeners

Ukraine is deeply divided over where it should head – East or West. While the EU offers an Association Agreement including a Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement, it isn’t the only one reaching out its hand. Russia, the powerful neighbour to the East, offers membership in a customs union with Belarus, the Russian Federation and Kazakhstan, which might one day turn ... Read More »

Studying Abroad: UKRAINE 3

When studying abroad people always tell you about the stages of cultural adjustment, which apparently are very typical phenomena for people experiencing life in foreign countries. While I am not a big fan of generalisations of such a kind and always expected that I would embrace all things new – even I have to admit that there is some truth ... Read More »

Studying Abroad: UKRAINE 2

The Erasmus experience in Chernivtsi, Ukraine, continues. Being a university student in Chernivtsi reminds me of my days in primary school. Monday is my main day. I take the matrushka bus number 5 from student dorm number 3 to Cathedral Square. The mint-green building hosts the Faculty of History, Politics and International Relations and is right next to Chernivtsi’s hot ... Read More »

Don’t Mention the Genocide – Hidden Armenians in Turkey

In two years Armenians will commemorate the centenary of the attempted extermination of the Armenian people in the Ottoman Empire during the First World War.  While Turkey’s gross denial of the genocide will likely continue, a part of the Turkish population is starting to reveal their true  -Armenian- identity.  It is hard to estimate how many Turks are actually secret ... Read More »

Studying Abroad: UKRAINE

Checks&Balances is, as of this moment, starting a series of blogs from IRIO students studying abroad. Lina Rusch is currently studying in Chernivtsi, Ukraine. Welcome to Ukraine At some point I lost count of people who would suprisedly ask “Why?” after I told them I was going to Ukraine for my semester abroad. Most of them would also automatically assume ... Read More »

The Wonchi Experiment – Can Tablets be Teachers?

In Ethiopia over 2,000,000 children of school age do not go to school. Most of them never will. A few of them have tablets – and miraculously taught themselves how to read and write. MIT professor and technology nerd Nicholas Negroponte wanted to see what would happen if you handed a tablet computer, equipped with educational apps, to a group ... Read More »

Thank God – Blasphemy Law Throughout the World

Thank God, the Dutch parliament wants to ban the Blasphemy clause from its legal books. After all, nobody has been sentenced here for Blasphemy since 1968. That makes the law completely irrelevant, doesn’t it?  Actually, in quite a number of countries blasphemy, that is, remarks or actions considered to be contemptuous of God, is considered an offence. There are 32 ... Read More »

No Payday for Madgermanes

East and West Germany reunited only three months before I was born. That makes my generation the first generation that is still alive that never knew Germany as being separated. As a member of that generation, I’m always surprised when I realise once again how little I know about that “other” Germany, the German Democratic Republic, although it existed for ... Read More »