Our students’ perspective:Matej Drotar (Slovakia)
Today’s post is the seventh in a series of profiles and reflections written by alumni and current students in the Security and Diplomacy program. This week’s guest blogger is our student Matej Drotar from Slovakia.
As a guy who has always been interested in studying abroad, learning foreign languages and acquiring a better understanding of the realm of world politics, I applied for an MA program at Tel Aviv University. Since my previous academic background was in IR I thought that studying security and diplomacy in Israel would be a natural continuation of what I have studied before and would definitely enable me to get a closer look at what is regarded as a must to know for anyone who is interested in the world politics – the Arab-Israeli conflict and difficulties that the Middle East has to encounter on a daily basis. I studied political science and IR at universities in Slovakia and in France which gave me a lot of useful experiences and provided me with the ability to compare. That is also why I can tell that Israel is so far a wonderful stop in my academic odyssey.
But it was not only my constant interest in IR, politics and world affairs that made me come and study in Israel. There were also some other factors that influenced my decision. One of them was undoubtedly the fact that I am coming from a country where the Jewish population used to be one of the most flourishing in Europe at one point of time. Slovakia is obviously no more what it used to be in that regard but I reckon that the remnants of the Jewish spirit is somehow still present in cities like Bratislava, Košice or even my hometown Bardejov. I thought that via my stay in Israel, I will be apt to fulfill my personal mission which is to explain correctly what the Jewish issue is really about and that it has always been a significant part of my country’s culture.
I would also like to say that every course I am taking in my program perfectly meet my requirements for a good academic subject. What is more, our professors are world respected scholars such as Prof. Martin van Creveld and Prof. Azar Gat. Each and every reading list that they have recommended us so far has consisted of literature that is really worth spending time on. That is my personal experience so far. For better illustration I would like to mention one course to provide you with an example. The course that I really liked, among others, was called The International System and the main content of the course were IR theories, an absolutely necessary and up-to-date field of interest in current IR. I had already studied the subject before coming to Israel at different places and within different Masters programs and I permit myself to say that the one taught by Dr. Uriel Abulof at Tel Aviv University I liked the most. Since we are entering the second semester right now I am looking forward to learning new and interesting subjects, be it core subjects or seminars. I am already sure that they will be a big asset to my better understanding of some vital issues of world politics and ongoing problems in Middle East.
As soon as I finish the program I would like to go back to Slovakia and work for our government service and I hope that my Israeli experience and upgraded academic background by studying here would help me make that possible. Since I know how selective and demanding jobs in government and diplomacy are, I am doing my best here so I can get as much as I can (mastering English is another example) and use it successfully in my future career. I have a strong belief that studying in the MA in Security and Diplomacy at Tel Aviv would definitely be a big advantage for me and that is also why I recommend it for prospective students as much as I can.Israel is writing a wonderful story and being a part of it is truly is a unique experience.