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As an international student originally from Romania and pursuing my Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Philosophy in the United States, I have often been exposed to different cultures and perspectives, which made me very appreciative of other ways of life and of the beauty our environment has to offer. Nevertheless, as my exposure to both national and global affairs broadens, so does my awareness of the vast amount of injustices that plague not only societies but biological environments, as well.
A mission of sustainability is integral to navigating the now-unpredictable patterns in climate and ensuring food security in regions dependent on agriculture. My chosen disciplines lead me to often consider the role that different countries, as well as international organizations, can and should play in correcting injustices.
I am particularly interested in how specific kinds of challenges namely natural disasters relate to, and what they can reveal, about our existing political structures. The chaotic and unpredictable situations caused by natural disasters foster the analysis of the foundations of societies.
Arguably, disasters can redefine social norms and relations, and provide opportunities for reconstruction and social re-evaluation. The social and economic circumstances of afflicted communities define the quality of their protection from disasters, and the response efforts showcase the government’s capacity and legitimacy. Improper infrastructure or evacuation procedures, and continued mismanagement of resources are only some examples of how governments can fail their citizens in case of a natural disaster. Consequently, important questions become apparent: are governments evading responsibility by regarding disasters as purely natural phenomena? What can be done to address the root causes of disaster vulnerability? How can we do this in a way that is considerate of our environment and how can we learn better from the lessons our environment is trying to teach us?
The Helsinki Summer School course entitled “Environmental Ethics: From Philosophical Texts To Real Case Studies” would provide me with the opportunity to explore and analyze these questions in depth within a multicultural learning environment at a prestigious university.
It would allow me to approach a new topic within the larger discipline of Philosophy, with an eye to the perspectives of indigenous people and various stakeholders. I would especially appreciate the chance to learn from a specialist in the field of Environmental Ethics, as courses of this specific nature are not yet offered at my institution in the United States due to the smaller size of the department. Moreover, the course would constitute the perfect next step towards my goal of pursuing a Master’s degree at the University of Helsinki.
I believe that my international exposure, complemented by the strong foundation provided by my previous courses in Philosophy such as Contemporary Ethics will allow me to get the most out of the Helsinki Summer School experience. My strengths – being an astute student, an adaptable team member, and a quick learner will help me in successfully completing the course requirements. Furthermore, the experience of studying so far away from my home country has helped me became more comfortable with being vulnerable to the nuances of a new culture. Simply put, this experience increased my confidence in adapting to new sets of expectations, academic or otherwise in fostering meaningful cross-cultural relationships, and in independent traveling in general.
With this in mind, I am extremely enthusiastic about the prospect of participating in this amazing course and about the opportunity to get to know a diverse array of people with similar academic interests, beautiful life stories, and rich cultures unbeknownst to me. I am also very much looking forward to exploring the vibrant city of Helsinki and to being challenged and enriching my knowledge.
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