Humanities Blog

Alumnus Stas Hakkarainen reflects on his Liberal Arts journey at Tallinn University

Our Liberal Arts in Humanities alumnus Stas Hakkarainen talks about his studies at Tallinn University and why he decided to study this programme.

Stas Hakkarainen

Why did you decide to study Liberal Arts in Humanities at Tallinn University?

I wanted to do something with humanities and language specifically, but at that time, I didn’t have a proper outline of what specifically I would like to specialize in. I picked to study Liberal Arts in Humanities because its vast approach to various fields at the same time allowed me to gain a more defined picture of my interests in the field of humanities. 

In Liberal Arts, from the second year of studies, you have to choose two modules to specialize in. What did you choose?

I studied anthropology and literary and cultural studies of English-speaking countries. Both of these fields required me to read a lot of academic texts and be prepared for a debate on different topics. Anthropology made me look into a pocket of cultural phenomena intertwined with social and demographic patterns. This field also made me question my assumptions regarding the cultures I belong to and how I judge others based on my experience. Literary and cultural studies of English-speaking countries showed me the world of history, literature, as well as cultural and social studies. Through the analysis of literary texts, we tackled different aspects of our world. 

Which courses and lectures inspired you the most?

When it comes to lecturers, I would pick several.
Mari Uusküla - I had Language and Culture with her where we got to work on creating our languages and studying theories of academics that studied structures and impact of cultural phenomena on languages. Mari was also my thesis supervisor and I enjoyed her optimistic and eager approach both as my lecturer and my supervisor.

Stas Hakkarainen with Mari Uusküla
Stas Hakkarainen with Mari Uusküla

Aigi Heero - She was my lecturer in German. She was also the person who inspired and encouraged me to continue studying German even after I graduated from TLÜ. She seemed welcoming and open to tons of questions from students and always tried to answer them in a manner that would 100% be understandable.
Julia Kuznetski - She was both my lecturer for some classes and program supervisor (as far as I remember). I mostly liked her firm approach when it came to her subjects. She was demanding but in a good way. I could feel that by being demanding she showcased her passion for her subjects, and that was admirable.

What did you do after you graduated?

After my graduation, I started getting an MA. I am currently in my last year of getting a master’s degree in Computational Linguistics. The degree allows me to become a Natural Language Processing engineer. I use my knowledge from TLÜ when I work with texts that would touch upon cultural or linguistic aspects. Additionally, despite the fact that the MA is more technical, it still requires a lot of knowledge of linguistics, which I accumulated over my years at TLÜ.

To whom and why would you recommend this degree programme?

I would recommend studying Liberal Arts in Humanities to people who are interested in how people dwell on cultural, political, social, linguistic, and socioeconomic issues. The degree allowed me to look at data in a more structured, analytical way. The program is suitable for those who are also interested in literature and want to connect authors’ ideas with events happening at that time and find correlations between the author’s thoughts and possible events in the present. Additionally, the program lets one pick a huge number of elective classes that would only broaden one’s understanding of the field and how one would want to navigate it afterward.

Read more about the programme