Department of Economics


What would you say to a new researcher, about to start their EUI experience?

 Answer: My first year at the EUI has been a demanding experience full of challenges that pushed me outside of my comfort zone, with the feeling of self-fulfilment that comes after such an intense learning experience. First year courses are designed to provide students with all the necessary tools to initiate a successful career in research with top quality teaching in economics. In this process, the EUI  community is extremely supportive i every step, from the experience of moving to Florence to day-to-day issues after settling. Being such a small community, professors and senior students are very approachable, and most importantly a strong group spirit is fostered among first-year students. All these ingredients make EUI a great place to undertake a Ph.D. in economics. 

 Karina Colombo, EUI Department of Economics researcher, from Uruguay



What would you say to a new researcher, about to start their EUI experience?

 Answer: As you begin your Ph.D. in Economics at EUI, your first year will definitely be a challenging yet rewarding experience. Despite the tight schedule, all courses are helpful in building a well-rounded background in economics and in developing a critical view on methods and questions addressed by research. The small - yet international - department at EUI makes you feel welcome from the first day, and it is always nice, instructive and inspiring to interact with researchers at different stages of the Ph.D. or professors around the campus. 

 Chloe Larkou, EUI Department of Economics researcher, from Cyprus


What would you say to a new researcher, about to start their EUI experience?

Answer: Even though I have been wanting to do a Ph.D. for a long time, I started the first year of this Ph.D. journey with a handful of doubts: will I be good enough? Do I have the potential to learn what it takes to become a good researcher? I still don't have definitive answers to these questions, but I can say that this year has been at the same time challenging and reassuring.

At the Economics department of the EUI, I have had the chance to learn a lot, and I understand that I'll never be done learning: however, with the support of the faculty and fellow Ph.D. researchers, there's nothing you cannot try to achieve. The positive atmosphere around me has changed me in that now I have a much better grasp of my skills and limitations, while at the same time I feel secure enough to proceed in the uncertain but beautiful adventure of doing research. 

Alice Dominici, EUI Department of Economics reseacher, from Italy



Question: What is your fondest memory of your EUI experience?

Answer: A day at the EUI was always well spent. I would begin with a morning workout biking up to Fiesole. I would attend meetings and seminars, before enjoying lunch with a view over Florence under blooming magnolia trees. My afternoon involved research in the library and I would conclude by joining friends in Bar Fiasco.

My EUI experience taught me not only how to find answers but, more importantly, how to ask questions. And, without doubt, it has helped me develop my future career, as I am now a lecturer at Cardiff University. I believe an EUI Ph.D. will open doors for you, within academia, institutions or policy-making, across Europe.

Wojciech Paczos, EUI Department of Economics alumnus from Poland, Now Lecturer, Cardiff University, UK


Department of History and Civilization


Question: How do you look back on your EUI experience?

Answer: My years at the EUI were, by far, the most formative of my career. The EUI’s intellectual and cultural diversity gave me an unparalleled academic experience as I explored historical subjects and methodologies while developing my thesis. I interacted with researchers and professors from different schools of historical study and, often, with different disciplinary and methodological perspectives. This created an intellectual milieu in which I formed lifelong friendships.

The EUI encourages a professional and open approach to your PhD, equipping you with social and cultural skills that I have found useful in my career. It taught me the value of thinking about issues from a global perspective and with long-term strategies in mind. My EUI experience has proven determinative in different ways in my academic career and in my life as a whole.

Alanna O'Malley, EUI Department of History and Civilization alumna from Ireland, Now Professor, Leiden University The Netherlands



What would you say to a new researcher, about to start their EUI experience?

 Answer: The EUI offers researchers a truly unique experience in a multicultural and international community. The enthusiasm and kindness of professors and staff, combined with stimulating seminars and workshops, enables researchers to develop fruitful academic and professional relations. For me, this experience is fundamental. I got my BA and MA in Italy, between the universities of Pisa and Siena, so attending the Ph.D. programme in English was a rather traumatic transition! But it is an obstacle that can easily be overcome because the EUI offers a wide range of activities and solutions that you will never find in any other academic institution. The EUI is a very special place; it is a house of knowledge, where you can prepare the way for your academic career alongside extraordinary colleagues."

Matteo Calcagni, EUI Department of History and Civilization researcher, from Italy



What would you say to a new researcher, about to start their EUI experience?

 Answer: Besides being a place where I could start making the best of my Ph.D. project, the EUI has also allowed me to develop a broad range of skills. The many language courses offered at the Language Center are, in my opinion, the best example of that. When I arrived, I was offered intensive Italian and English courses. This was a very useful experience, but also a lot of fun. Additionally, the Language Center set up a Russian language course, as my project requires good knowledge of this rather complicated language. 

After almost a year at EUI, I do really feel progress. Yes, it does take a bit of dedication next to the hard work on my project, but I have noticed that the effort really has paid off. I can suddenly chat with the Italian staff at the canteen and bar, read Russian without too many problems, and even write better English.

Olav Hofland, EUI Department of History and Civilization researcher, from the Netherlands


Elena Rizzi_cropped

What would you say to a new researcher, about to start their own EUI experience?

Answer: Your first-year is incredibly enriching. Your research will evolve in many and, sometimes, unexpected directions thanks to seminars, meetings with your supervisor and other members of the faculty, and fellow researchers. Furthermore, thanks to your first- and second-year seminars, you will become more confident in sharing your ideas with others. There is a great collaborative research culture.

The EUI is an outstanding place to study. Invited speakers from different parts of the world that visit to give talks and lectures enrich the intellectual atmosphere here. Make the most of these opportunities!

My last advice: take the chance to learn new languages and practice them on a daily basis with your friends! And never miss a stunning sunset over the Tuscan hills!

 Elena Rizzi, EUI Department of History and Civilization researcher, from Italy



What would you say to a new researcher, about to start their EUI experience?

Answer: In my home country, the work conditions for many Ph.D. researchers are dire: short contracts, part-time employment and a lot of non-academic work duties. Compared to this, the EUI is an island of bliss. No cumbersome administrative tasks nor any second jobs to make a living, so one can really focus on research for four full years. But it does not stop there! If you have a good idea of a guest speaker to invite or a workshop to organize, the EUI helps you with funding and administrative support for the event.

Ludwig Pelzel, EUI Department of History and Civilization researcher, from Germany


Department of Law


Question: How do you look back on your EUI experience?

Answer: For me, there were many reasons to study at the EUI and, above all, it was the unique opportunity to work with top international scholars as colleagues and tutors, and to learn and develop in a truly interdisciplinary way. Your EUI experience can be a perfect platform for an academic career, and it also leads naturally to international organisations. Speaking these days from a recruitment perspective, I value the creativity, flexibility, independence and drive that a PhD at the EUI nurtures and promotes. And, if I could, I would grab the opportunity all over again...!

Richard Burnley, EUI Department of Law alumnus from the UK, Now Director of Legal, European Broadcasting Union, Switzerland



Looking back on the first year of your EUI experience, how has it changed you? 

 Answer: More than anything else, my first year at the EUI has helped me to gain perspective. Cutting-edge seminars and workshops greatly contributed to my understanding of the law  - not as a disconnected set of legal rules, but a discipline that is part of a bigger picture. at the EUI, interdisciplinarity is at its finest. With four neighbouring departments, the faculty closely brings together people from various fields of expertise. I thoroughly enjoyed taking courses in other departments, which allowed me to explore new methodologies and pick up necessary skills. 

Frequent interactions with my supervisor, other professors and fellow researchers supported me in the proces of developing a clearer research focus. The institute's facilties are outstanding and my apperciation of being part of this lively community is an increasing one. 

Eun Hye Kim, EUI Department of Law researcher, from Germany/South Korea



Looking back on the first year or your EUI experience, how has it changed you? 

Answer: My first year at the EUI has been tremendously enriching and exciting. After practicing law for five years at an Amsterdam law firm, it was time for the next step and I am grateful it brought me here. The law department's courses challenge your way of thinking and force young researchers to leave familiar paths in search of doctrinal depth and unfamiliar methodologies. This has broadened my horizon and I am confident that it will be a valuable basis for a continued career in practice or academia. Most importantly, you are not alone here: with close supervision and a large cohort of smart and friendly fellow students, I feel part of a vibrant academic community with plenty of sparring partners and new friends. And If you need more convincing, just imagine wandering through sunny Florence on the weekends, speaking Italian with ease, enjoying the city's cultural and culinary treasures and knowing that it's just one of many parts of Italy you get to discover...

Léon Dijkman, EUI Department of Law researcher, from the Netherlands



What would you say to a new researcher, about to start their EUI experience? 

Answer: I would say to new EUI researchers that they got a great opportunity to work with engaged supervisors, to be surrounded by peers eager to help and give feedback, follow thought-provoking seminars and access to high-quality library collections. They will be guided in turning their initial projects into robust research questions while having full administrative and language support. The EUI gives a unique chance to grow professionally and personally while enjoying a multicultural environment in welcoming Florence.  

 Svitlana Lebedenko, EUI Department of Law researcher, from Ukraine



What would you say to a new researcher, about to start their EUI experience? 

Answer: I would say that they undoubtedly made the right choice coming here. This is quite literally an exceptional place, one of a few in the world that are tailor-made almost exclusively for doctoral studies. You can feel that distinct focus in every step. Courses are structured around improving researchers' PhD projects and encouraging them to examine their research topics from different perspectives. Relationships between professors and researchers are not hierarchical but collegial - one is not treated as a student but instead as a full member of the academic community, albeit a junior one. You find yourself surrounded with some of the cleverest peers in the world, who are at the same stage of their academic career as yourself. Everyday interactions with them not only broaden your perspectives, but more importantly, normailse the troubles you inevitably go through during your PhD as you quickly realise that everyone is in the same boat.

Jaka Kukavica, EUI Department of Law researcher, from Slovenia


Department of Political and Social Sciences

Ines_Bolaños Somoano

Looking back on the first year of your EUI experience, how has it changed you?

 Answer: When I first joined my cohort in September 2018, I was very impressed by the high academic and intellectual level of my colleagues. Coming from a background very different from Social and Political Sciences, I felt that I couldn't possibly catch up to their level of expertise. Now, I have realized that I have all the potential I need locked inside me, and that being surrounded by such excellent researchers can only help me improve and learn faster. The first year provides a thorough methodological training for disciplinary beginners like me, and the broad course offer and all-year round workshops and conferences allow you to branch out to new fields. Plus there are many bottom-up researchers' groups and initiatives, perfect for extracurricular activities. I am truly privledged to be here, working side by side with the future professors of Europe!

Inés Bolaños Somoano, EUI Department of Political and Social Sciences researcher, from Spain



Looking back on the first year of your EUI experience, how has it changed you?

Answer: Since my arrival at the EUI, I have gained a stronger sense of intellectual purpose thanks to a stimulating environment and meaningful interactions with passionate young researchers. Working alongside senior academics is a constant intellectual challenge, which has raised me to a new level, for which I am particularly indebted to Professor Olivier Roy. My EU citizenship awareness has also grown as I discovered a linguistic melting pot and enlarged my circle of friends to new nationalities. A very pleasant surprise has been to discover a sport-friendly institute that has provided me with logistical and financial support for sport competitions - thank you for the scenic runs in the Chianti!

Théo Blanc, EUI Department of Political and Social Sciences researcher, from France



What would you say to a new researcher, about to start their EUI experience?

Answer: It was a hot sunny day in August that first day at the EUI. I still remember the amount and diversity of fellow Ph.D. researchers coming to register to be simply overwhelming. Now, more than a year later, I can say that this is one of two aspects of doing my Ph.D. here I enjoy most. While working on your Ph.D. can typically feel lonely, at the EUI you have the opportunity to present and discuss your work with people from different fields and years, during colloquiums, workshops and seminars, or simply over a beer at EUI student-run bar Fiasco. Second, I believe the EUI to be a very non-hierarchical environment. Aside from your supervisor, professors are open to giving advice and support, and the terrace witha panoramic view of Florence is the perfect lunch-spot while you're surrounded by renowned scholars and, of course, the friends you'll undoubtedly meet if you decide to do your Ph.D. at the EUI. 

Emma Hoes, EUI Department of Political and Social Sciences researcher, from the Netherlands



What would you say to a new researcher, about to start their EUI experience?

Answer: The first year at the EUI exceeded my expectations. The quality of the courses taught permitted me to learn a great deal of new theories and methods that enriched my general knowledge and positively contributed to the development of my Ph.D. thesis. In addition, I am pleased to have access to a wide range of conferences and workshops taught by internal or external accoplished scholars, providing a variety of perspectives on several topics. Morevover, I appreciate the good vibe, nice surroundings and the offer of sport activities and social gatherings of the Institute. Here, it is easy to meet with students from other cohorts or departments, to exchange conversations with the professors and to get in touch with the staff, feeling part of the EUI community. 

 Risto Conte Keivabu, EUI Department of Political and Social Sciences researcher, from Estonia



Looking back on the first year of your EUI experience, how has it changed you? 

Answer: I have never developed intellectually as much and as quickly as during my first year here. Regular discussions with my supervisor and peers have let me discover my interests and made me see the world differently. Paradoxically, it seems now to be both more tangible and more complex. One of my best moments so far was a discussion with a friend from another department who recounted to me the history of my home region, which I had previously no idea about! She recommended me a whole list of fascinating history books which I would have otherwise never stumbled upon. To any new researcher coming here I would say: read, discuss, and enjoy!

Kasia Nalewajko, EUI Department of Political and Social Sciences researcher, from Poland


Chiara Comolli CV

Question: How do you look back on your EUI experience? 

Answer: The EUI is an international community of researchers and scholars linked by the passion for knowledge. At the EUI your motivation to learn grows and you are professionally enhanced by the researchers, professors and visiting fellows that you are in constant proximity with via numerous academic activities. 

Your EUI experience is also enriched by the non-academic life which connects and strengthens the community. Sport, music, art and travelling - whatever your interests - you will find your group of colleagues and friends. As an alumna of the EUI, currently working as an Senior Researcher at the University of Lausanne, I am proud to have been part of this vibrant community.

Chiara Ludovica Comolli, EUI Department of Political and Social Sciences alumna from Italy, Now FNS Senior Researcher, University of Lausanne, Switzerland



Page last updated on 22 January 2021

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