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Alena Sakhonchik
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My Upcoming Trip to Azerbaijan

It’s just a little more than one day left before I board the plane to Baku, Azerbaijan. During the next two weeks I will be attending the seminar at Baku Summer Energy School of Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy. After I finished the first year of my Master’s program at the School of International Service in Washington, DC, in the program of International Economic Relations, I decided to narrow down my quite a broad educational focus in the field of IR to energy. I am interested in political economy of oil and gas in the Caspian region and Russia. Particularly, I am looking forward to learn as much as possible about the existing and planned infrastructure projects in the region. Therefore, a field trip to Sangachal Oil Terminal and the BTC Pipeline would be one of the most exciting parts of the entire program.

Certainly, for some students BSES is a way to learn not so much about energy, but about the region and its people generally. On my behalf, I am really excited to meet professionals in the field of gas and oil, learn more about leading investment companies that contribute to the development of infrastructure projects, but also to get acquainted with the students and professors from different parts of the world.

Having quite a weak background in energy, I have dedicated a few weeks to extensive reading on the topic and looking forward to considerably broaden my just acquired knowledge.  An especially interesting part of the entire program is that it promises lectures on every aspect of energy, including legal, economic, political, environmental, and resource managing. Thus every student will be provided with an opportunity to focus on whatever concentration seems to be the most attractive for him/her.

I am a lucky person to be born in one of the CIS countries. Being a native of Belarus, I do not need a visa to travel to Azerbaijan. Moreover, taking advantage of such an opportunity, I am planning a trip to Tbilisi to learn more about the culture and well-known hospitality of the Georgians. I would be very excited to attend the motherland of Joseph Stalin and mountainous city of Kazbegi on the border with Russia. When I start my second year of Master’s at the end of August, I hope to be all set with a topic of my Comprehensive Research Paper (CRP) that I plan to come up with based on my summer trip to Azerbaijan.
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