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Isabell Junkkari, student

Isabell Junkkari

Doctoral Candidate in Public International Law; alumn of the Master's Degree Programme, Åbo Akademi University

There is simply an unsurpassable sense of community at Åbo Akademi not only among the students but also with the teachers.

Name: Isabell Junkkari
From: Germany

Why I chose this programme: I have always had a great interest in human rights. My great-grandmother died in the Ravensbrück Concentration Camp in her 20s, and already as a small child I wondered how it was possible a state could abuse and kill its own citizens. I chose the Master’s Programme in International Human Rights Law at Åbo Akademi University because of its strong teaching and research focus on international human rights law, its broad choice of subjects in the field, as well as its connection to the Institute for Human Rights. It was also the only university that sent me a very friendly welcoming letter by both the programme Director and Dean, and it just felt like a wonderful community that I wanted to be a part of.

The studies: I have been positively surprised by how varied the subject offering has been. I have taken classes in international protection of human rights, international criminal law, rights of the child, the European Convention on Human Rights, human rights and sustainable development, and the right of self-determination and participation of minorities. It has been an absolutely wonderful year, full of learning and applying legal knowledge! This semester I got to participate in the Gunnar Rosén International Humanitarian Law Competition, a competition Åbo Akademi won! I have discovered some new loves that I did not even know I had, such as international humanitarian and criminal law. Learning methods vary between lectures, group work, moot courts, class discussion, presentations, and seminars, with most teachers encouraging active participation in class. It has been a great way to learn new skills, e.g. making posters and flow charts, as well as arguing in front of a panel of judges.

Additional comments: In addition to the studies, I have very much enjoyed getting to know and study with my fellow Master’s students. Because many of us end up taking the same classes, there is always a bunch of friendly faces to greet you at the beginning of a new class, and a nice group to go have lunch with. We have also enjoyed getting to know and spending time with exchange students from all over the world, who all share the same passion as us. There is simply an unsurpassable sense of community at Åbo Akademi not only among the students but also with the teachers, who are all experts in their field, extremely passionate, encouraging, helpful, and fantastic at their jobs.