Amarandi Barrett ’23
I earned my B.A. in Environmental Studies with minors in History and Political Science at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Q: What do you like about UNC’s graduate program in Russian and East European Studies?
I like that half of the hours are elective courses, and the freedom that gives me to shape my master’s degree in a way that is specific to my research interests.
Q: Why did you choose to specialize in this region of the globe?
I grew up between Chapel Hill and Greece, and in 2017 I earned my M.A. in Southeast European Studies from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. That degree was focused on the Balkans, and I want this degree to take me deeper into learning about the wider region and the geopolitical contexts that the Balkans have had to develop in. It’s such an interesting region and I really just wasn’t ready to stop learning about it after my first M.A. degree.
Q: Do you have work and/or study experience in the region?
Besides earning my MA in Athens, I also attended 5th grade on the island of Kea and 10th grade in Athens, and I have worked on the islands of Santorini and Sifnos in the tourism sector.
Q: What are your research interests?
My research interests are in the Western Balkans and Greek security studies, especially in regards to their relations with the US, Turkey, and Russia. I’m also interested in the role of the military within the Western Balkans societies, which is what I focused on in my first master’s thesis.
Q: What would you like to do after you graduate?
If I don’t pursue a PhD, I’d like to work in foreign policy, either for the US government or for a think tank. I also always have the urge, in the back (and often front) of my head, to move back to Athens; I think that is one of the curses of loving that city. Athens is such an incredible place but it can be really difficult to make a career there.
Q: What are your hobbies? What do you like doing in your free time?
I like biking, lifting weights, film photography, cooking, running, going on long walks, reading novels, and hanging out with my cats. My cat Mitso has recently learned to fetch so I spend a good deal of time throwing his favorite toy (a muselet) for him.
This is a photo I took in Lesvos, Greece a few years ago. It was a saints’ day celebration in the village of Skalohori and people from all the nearby villages bring their horses and dress them up and then ride them through the tiny village streets. It’s always a really fun day.