What is BSRS? Why BSRS? What is the point of BSRS?

MSc Baltic Sea Studies! The course everyone thinks you are doing!

What is BSRS? Why BSRS? What is the point of BSRS?

A triumvirate of questions of which you may laugh at, gasp at or think irrelevant to yourselves as students on the MA Baltic Sea Region Studies programme.

Think again! Quiz any current or former member of the small but proud BSRS department fraternity, and they will smile and tell you that these questions are three of the most popular questions one gets asked when explaining your choice of studies here at Turku University.

As the title above suggests, you are often initially placed into the category of Science student, due to the “mishear” that is the title of our course.  People hear Baltic Sea Region Studies and automatically eliminate the ‘region’ part for reasons still unclear to my good self, and then immediately have you pegged down as a budding hotshot marine biologist who is out to become the David Attenborough of the Baltic Region.  And as appealing and financially rewarding as this sounds, you must then gently let them down explaining your love of the humanities and social sciences.

Now that you have established yourself as a lover of social sciences and humanities with a penchant for essay writing over lab experiments, the questions above come at you rapid-fire like a news reporter who is still looking for ways to explain your first answer.

I must confess a dash of hyperbole may have been used throughout, but if esteemed students and colleagues within the academic family are asking the questions above, a safe bet would be that future employers will be asking the same questions also.

So think hard on what you are studying, why you are studying BSRS, and what is the point of you studying BSRS!

With the experience of my first year of studies over, I will give my own insight into this trio of questions and offer up my answers to them in my next blog…

© Pravin Bjarni Ramdin


What has the EU ever done for us?

Brexit evokes concerns everywhere in Europe. Pravin Ramdin, BSRS student from the UK, wrote a blog post about the topic in the immediate aftermath of the EU referendum on June 23rd.


Out of the ashes of WWII there arose a noble ideal, that the continent of Europe would never again see such bloodshed, collective trauma, upheaval and devastation as had been witnessed prior to 1945.

From the treaty of Paris 1951 through to the Treaty of Lisbon 2007 the overriding desire has been to maintain peace and stability within Europe through economic, political, social and judicial collaboration, is that not noble enough an ideal to warrant support?

Prior to the European Union project Europe was in a state of perpetual war and peace, a constant jockeying of position between Europe’s great powers often leading to conflict and the spilt blood of her ordinary citizens.

When countries in Europe had their sovereignty in tact, was it a safer place? Was it a place free from hatred? Was it a place at peace?

When nationalism was allowed to flourish, was Europe a place that welcomed everyone? Was it a place that created equal rights for all its residents?

The history books tell us this was not the case.

That a portion of my countries sovereignty has been deferred to Europe does not have to be a bad thing. That the highest court in my country is now the European Courts of Justice and Human rights does not have to be a bad thing.

If the legislation and judgements born out of these institutions eradicate past injustices, illuminate and enlighten our understanding, surely this is a good thing?

If, together as Europeans we can advance ourselves in a constructive and peaceful manner, and through continued cooperation eradicate the evils of nationalism and xenophobia, the institutions that help us to do this should be celebrated and not despised, they should be reformed but not rejected.

The European Union provides an open and equal market for all residents, students, workers, tourists and those unfortunate enough to be on welfare.  It provides funding to deprived areas in all corners of it’s member states, and for all its failings has helped maintain an unbroken peace within the continent since 1951.


©Pravin Bjarki Ramdin www.brownviking.com