Alumni Talks - Madina - It all started with Enrique Inglesias!

Ayasha interviews Madina

1. Could you tell us about yourself, your hobbies and interests?

I’m Madina from Kazakhstan. I have my background in International Relations and recently received my master’s degree in South European Studies. I am a huge coffee lover and can speak four languages. My area of interest is Central Asian and Turkic anthropology, history, and politics.

2. Could you share your experience of becoming an Erasmus Mundus student? Coming from Kazakhstan, how did you decide to study Southern Europe?

I will never get tired of telling everyone that everything started from Enrique Iglesias (giggling). As a teenager, I was fond of listening to his music in the Spanish language on loop. That’s how my interest and passion for Spanish culture took a start. Afterwards, during my bachelor's degree, I had been studying Spanish as my second professional language for two years. As an undergrad student, I had a class on Introduction of World History where I discovered that history and nations of South European countries went through the same political route that Central Asian states are currently passing, namely hybrid or authoritarian political regimes, ethnic cleavages, corruption, and migration. Apart from that, I also noticed mental and cultural similarities between these two regions such as hospitality, strong family ties, and friendliness. These factors in sum nudged me to press the ‘apply button’ when I bumped on the EUROSUD Program. I was preparing myself very deliberately and started collecting necessary docs before two months to the deadline. Other than that, I spent the same amount of time preparing for the IELTS and passing it.

3. What was your study track on EUROSUD? How was your experience?

I chose the academic track (Glasgow-Madrid-Italy). I must admit I regretted it a bit at the beginning because we had more classes to study and more workload to do. Nevertheless, the heaven-like climate of Italy in combination with gelato and high-quality education delivered by LUISS made me forget regrets in a flash. Initially, I should have studied in Greece, but in the middle of the second semester, I realised that my areas of interest had been altering. When I was applying to the program, I had a huge interest in the Balkan countries and I was eager to learn the political development of these countries after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Moreover, courses in Greece also covered contemporary Turkish politics which topped up my desire to choose Greece because I studied in Turkey for a while and became aware of the importance of Turkey in the Central Asian region. Nevertheless, while studying at the program my visions and goals have changed: somehow it became clear to me that I would like to explore a tangled, diverse but united institution named the European Union. I want to thank the EUROSUD’s executive board for allowing me to change the path because it had an invaluable effect on my life afterwards.

4. What is one of the most memorable experiences you had while studying in the EUROSUD program?

Definitely, writing the dissertation. Owing to this experience I revised the whole Research Methods class within a week and learned how to conduct qualitative analysis in three days. Furthermore, surprisingly for myself too, I mastered coding sentences and using a software program in a couple of weeks. I would sum up by saying that this experience taught me self-discipline and self-study. Besides, I really miss every now and then the classes of Ignacio and Leila when you could have a decent cup of Arabic tea with spices and biscuits aside. I was literally feeling like I was in the Middle East.

5. What are your future projects and aspirations?

So far to enrich my working experience.

6. Your advice and recommendations for current and future EUROSUD students

Enjoy! Study! Travel every two weeks! Save up the money! Be Grateful! Try Arabic tea with spices.


by Ayasha Sarybayeva: EUROSUD Erasmus Mundus Social Media and Programme Promotion Officer 

PhD Opportunity - University of Glasgow

Application tips from Sergio

Application tips from Sergio

Sergio Reina Pastor our 2021-23 Cohort 3 student has taken the time to provide some application tips for those keen to apply to join the EUROSUD programme.  We hope you find it useful.

Publication (2021) - José Pedro Martins Lopes

EUROSUD 2020-22 Cohort 2 student José Pedro shares his recent publication:

Lopes, José Pedro (2021) Listening to the wind of change: The implications of the 2019 general election for the Portuguese party systemInternational Journal of Iberian Studies, Volume 34, Number 1, 1 March 2021, pp. 47-64(18)


This article offers an overview of the Portuguese general election of October 2019 and of its impact in the ongoing evolution of the Portuguese party system. The election results are interpreted by looking at the socio-economic and political context in which it took place, as well as the protagonists, issues and party positions of the electoral campaign. Additionally, the process leading to the formation of the socialist minority government is also examined. It is argued that changing patterns have mostly been reverted and that the party system that comes out of this election is a more stable one. This was mainly due to institutional constraints that limit the potential of change. Nevertheless, the increasing role of the left-right cleavage, alongside the entrance of new parties in parliament might pave the way for future realignments of the Portuguese party system.

Publication - Zine Labidine Ghebouli

Our International Master student from 2020-22 Cohort 2, Zine Labidine Ghebouli shares his recent publication with the Middle East Institute on Algeria:

Zine Labidine Ghebouli is a political analyst and postgraduate scholar at the University of Glasgow, where he focuses on Euro-Mediterranean affairs. His research covers political and security dynamics in Algeria. Zine previously worked as a junior consultant at the Asfari Institute for Civil Society and Citizenship. The views expressed in this piece are his own.

Afaf attends Nile University Model United Nations (NIMUN)

𝐀𝐟𝐚𝐟 𝐒𝐞𝐛𝐛𝐚𝐫 - 𝟐𝟎𝟐𝟏-𝟐𝟑 𝐂𝐨𝐡𝐨𝐫𝐭
This year’s Nile University Model United Nations NIMUN invited me to join them in Cairo, Egypt; To occupy the role of director for their Model UNFCCC COP27 council, the first one of its kind worldwide.
The topics we discussed ranged from sustainable construction to the role of nuclear energy in combating climate change. In hope that our resolutions would contribute towards this year’s COP27 held in Sharm el Sheikh.

Walking Tour on Final Day of Winter School in Lisbon

Walking Tour - Final day of Winter School

The final day of the Winter School at ICS-ULisboa, the students went on a walking tour led by Andrea Pavoni, assistant research professor in geography at Dinamia'CET, ISCTE-IUL to discover urban art, conflict and change in Lisbon. It was a great end to brilliant Winter School experience for all.

Our student Zine Labidine Ghebouli expressed the sentiment perfectly "it was a joyful, engaging event and I truly appreciated the opportunity to meet everyone finally so Bravo to each and all!"

A selection of photos from the Tour

Walking Tour Winter School Lisbon Feb 2022



Consortium Management Board (CMB) Meeting & Dinner - held in Lisbon 21 February 2022

𝗘𝗨𝗥𝗢𝗦𝗨𝗗 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝘀𝗼𝗿𝘁𝗶𝘂𝗺 𝗠𝗮𝗻𝗮𝗴𝗲𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗕𝗼𝗮𝗿𝗱 (𝗖𝗠𝗕) 𝗠𝗲𝗲𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 and Dinner

EUROSUD Consortium Management Board (CMB) Meeting took place in Lisbon on Monday 21 February 0930-2.00 pm to coincide with the Winter School 2022. Our partners met to discuss the pertinent issues of the programme and to make relevant changes, considering student experience and feedback. We care about our students and want them to have the best possible experience at all Partner institutions of the EUROSUD Programme.😍.

This was followed by the EUROSUD Administrators meeting. Also a valuable meeting opportunity for the programme as it allows the administrator from each partner institution to meet, engage and discuss programme business. The meeting in Lisbon provided a valuable opportunity not only for work related topics it also provided a time for staff across Europe to 'get together' for a social event.

Later that evening, there was a Consortium social dinner at Entrecopos restaurant. The food was delicious with octopus the dish of the evening. This was an opportunity for the CMB members and academics from the Winter School to relax, chat and enjoy the delicious food of Portugal. 😍

Winter School - 20-23 February 2022 - Research Track

Research Track

Research Track students presented and discussed their dissertation topics with the Academics also from  EUROSUD Consortium Partners. There were many interesting ideas where a range of issues affecting Southern Europe were presented in front of fellow students who had the opportunity to ask questions and give feedback.


Winter School - 20-23 February 2022 - Days 2 & 3 - Professional Track

Winter School - Days 2 and 3


The Winter School continued on Day 2 with Professional Track student sessions 'Meet the Academics', Roberto Falanga (ICS-ULisboa) and Carolina Silva (ICS-ULisboa), followed by 'Meet the Alumni' session with two EUROSUD Alumni from the 2019-21 cohort Vukan Jokic, OECD Paris and Ilaria Pelucchi, ESN France. Both Vukan and Ilaria were previous Professional Track students and were able to pass on their experiences with the students giving them the opportunity to ask questions. This was a productive and valuable experience for both Alumni and students.

Day 3 presented an opportunity for the students to engage and 'Meet the Professionals':

- Jean-Marie Moreau (European Commission, DG NEAR)
- Vincent van Grondelle (Open Cultural Centre, Barcelona Office)
- Marta Hormaechea (Open Cultural Centre, Barcelona Office)

The students gained wide ranging knowledge all round at their sessions, which will be valuable when it comes to their internships, both practical and theoretically.