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Artemiy Nosach Reflects on His Time as an Exchange Student at Fletcher

My time at The Fletcher School was an experience of a lifetime. I cannot find better words to describe my exchange semester there. My time there represented a number of firsts for me: first time in the United States, first time living abroad for more than a couple of weeks, and first time out of my comfort zone of Russia’s system of higher education.

Even though it was a challenge, it was enjoyable and supremely rewarding. Never before have I gained so much knowledge and so many skills in a span of four months. It is not an understatement to say that Fletcher offers outstanding expertise in international studies. Future professionals can choose from an impressive variety of courses in diplomacy, business, and law, but the opportunity for specialization was what I valued most. I had spent the previous five years studying an average of fourteen different subjects per semester, which is advantageous in many ways. Still, at some point, one has to concentrate. Focusing on just four disciplines felt like writing a capstone project on each of them in terms of the literature that had to be studied. I became a bit of an expert in international relations and civil war theories, the recent history of Latin America, and authoritarian populism. As an aspiring foreign policy practitioner, I could nothave been more satisfied.

Fletcher’s illuminating environment is not limited to all things academic. The social list, the school’s electronic advertisement board, supplied me with a seemingly endless list of event suggestions ranging from talks on strategic stability to roundtable discussions on the future of the Asian Elephant.My real and virtual worlds came together when a Fletcher conference on “Weaponized Interdependence in World Politics” gave me a chance to meet scholars such as Barry Posen and Stacie Goddard, whose works I had read and cited in Moscow. Since Tufts University is located in Greater Boston, one of the most influential education hubs on the planet, I did my best to reap the benefits and cross-registered for a course at the Harvard Kennedy School

Studies aside, my experience at Fletcher would have been incomplete without leisure and fun. Fletcher students procrastinate between policy papers and exams by joining baking societies, going to theme parties such as Fiesta Latina and Asian Nigh, and practicing sports and arts. My activity of choice was Los Fletcheros, the best (and only) graduate school cover band I have ever played with, which turned me into a local rock star and introduced me to some amazingly talented people.

Speaking of people, they are Fletcher’s greatest asset. Each of my professors struck me as the quintessence of knowledgeability and professionalism. All staff members are extraordinarily kind and accessible. For instance, as a Russianexchange student, I would not have coped without the constant help and advice of Arik Burakovsky, Assistant Director of the Russia and Eurasia Program, who guided me through the the bureaucratic complexities of the application process, invited me to all events on the post-Soviet space, and gave me useful tips on how to improve my academic and cultural experience in Boston. Finally, and most importantly, I was honored to become part of the Fletcher Mafia, a diverse body of students and alumni who provide each other with priceless insights, invaluable connections, and lifelong friendships.

Wherever you come from, whatever your focus is within international studies, you can be confident about one thing: joining The Fletcher School in any capacity, be it as a member of the faculty, a degree candidate, or an exchange student from Moscow, will not be a waste of your time. It will be an experience that will influence you for the rest of your life.

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