Alumni Profile: Bradley Jardine
I grew up in the south of Scotland before moving to Glasgow to study political science when I turned 18. In my final year I wrote a thesis on the Polish Solidarity movement and my fascination with post-Communist societies began. After graduating I spent the next year teaching English and writing freelance articles from Georgia and Azerbaijan before moving to Kyiv, Ukraine. In Kyiv I witnessed the tragic events of Maidan unfold and was engulfed in the dark mood of the country during Russia’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula. Subsequently, I decided to embark on the IMRCEES program to gain a deeper understanding of the region’s politics.
Looking back, my favourite experience was the summer I spent in Prague, Czech Republic after earning an internship in the RFE/RL newsroom. Prague is truly one of the great capitals of Europe with plenty of great museums and historic locations to keep history buffs interested – not to mention the beer! In addition, appearing on podcasts alongside veteran Central Asia correspondents was a real privilege, and I learned a lot under their wing.
Now I live in Moscow, Russia where I’ve been working for the past year for The Moscow Times news organization. My work experience has been pretty wild, covering anything from modern shamanism out in Russia’s remote Tuvan Republic, to Moscow drag queens, football hooligans and prison culture – I’ve enjoyed every minute of it!
I have three pieces of advice for new IMRCEES students. The first is to talk to everyone in your group as there’s no better way to pursue your passion for the region than through like-minded peers and friendships from the region. Second, get out there during your summer and second year. Books and articles are wonderful, but there’s nothing better than exploring the region’s history and politics first-hand by immersing yourself in it – personally I encourage you to visit Kazakhstan, you’ll never forget your first night-train across the Kazakh steppe. Third, act like a professional from day one. Don’t wait two years for graduation to begin your career, start writing articles and networking as soon as you can and the career transition will be much easier in the end.
First published: 19 December 2017