Although Mariia Poretskova is making the most of her year as a postgraduate economics student in Rotterdam, her heart is still in Ukraine. As the first anniversary of the Russian invasion passes, she looks forward to the day she can return home to a free and independent country to support her people to rebuild, prosper and take their place in the world.
Mariia’s family lives in Kyiv, far from the battlefields in the East, but bombers targeted the city in the early weeks of the war and her grandmother was injured. As the conflict continues, Mariia is working hard for her Masters in Behavioural Economics, but home and family are always in her thoughts.
Impossible without her scholarship
Studying at EUR would have been impossible without her scholarship: “My parents’ business has been badly affected by the war, their building was damaged and there were fewer customers. Support from the Erasmus Trustfonds has been crucial to enable me to come to the Netherlands and it has relieved the financial burden on my parents and my family.”
It was during her bachelors’ degree in Marketing from the National University of Kyiv, that Mariia first seized her opportunity to study overseas. She took part in Erasmus exchange programmes at both the University of Almeria in Spain and the University of Groningen to find out more about other European countries and improve her language skills.
Mariia is gaining psychological insights into why we frequently make irrational choices
Looking back at her positive experience in the Netherlands, she then signed up for a postgraduate qualification at EUR. The university offers one of the few specialist Masters in Behavioural Economics, the science of why people don’t always make sensible decisions. Mariia is gaining psychological insights into why we frequently make irrational choices, to the despair of economists and policymakers, and how to encourage us to recognise and understand these biases. For her thesis, she plans to embark on a research project to explore the motives of individuals who make charitable donations to Ukraine during the war and hopes the results may be useful to her country.
Super-efficient and helpful
Halfway through the Masters, she is enjoying life in Rotterdam and has made many friends among her fellow students, many of them are also neighbours: “I can’t imagine a better place to study. I like the Dutch culture, it’s super-efficient and everyone’s helpful. I now have so many job opportunities and know studying at EUR is really opening doors for me.”
This spring, Mariia is beginning an internship with a local data company alongside her degree to improve her knowledge of data analytics, a vital tool in behavioural economics. She has already achieved online qualifications in data science, neuroimaging and programming with Python through Coursera.
After graduating later this year, Mariia would first like to stay in the Netherlands to work and become an expert in her chosen field, before returning home to use what she has learned to benefit the people of Ukraine.