Sanzhar Akayev was a senior student at Political Science bachelor's programme at Higher School of Economics (Moscow) interested in moral and political philosophy
"Taking part in the essay competition was a very demanding and yet an exceptionally interesting experience. It certainly was not easy to write a coherent text in such a short amount of time, but the prompts were amazing and immediately inspired a lot of ideas. In terms of advice for future participants I can say one thing: write as many philosophical texts as you can in order to enhance your argumentation skills -- as the saying goes, practice makes perfect."
Ali Mousareza is from Tehran, Iran. He did his undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering. Currently, he is a second-year student in the Philosophy of Science master's program at Sharif University of Technology. He is applying for another MA in philosophy to experience different areas of philosophy and prepare to pursue a Ph.d.
"Writing an essay for this competition was a challenging yet interesting experience. I was not familiar with any of the given topics and authors. Also, we were not supposed to use any additional materials. All of this made the experience of writing very different from what it usually is; however, I loved it a lot because it gave me the freedom to think for myself and not rely on any other thing, which, in my opinion, triggers creativity. I would highly recommend others to participate in this competition in the future. The grading criteria and tips given by the department could be very beneficial."
Rebecca started studying philosophy about three years ago with a small perspective of what she was going to encounter. However, now her goal is to do philosophy professionally.
"The essay writing competition was an exceptional opportunity to develop arguments and write without reading much literature on the topic. My writing experience was more of a thinking experience. The paper was blank for over an hour until I started writing all my thoughts down in the last twenty minutes. So, my tips for future participants would be, test different versions of how you write best before the competition.“
Francisco (Frank) was born in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico and graduated with honors from the University of Texas at El Paso with a double major in Philosophy and Multimedia Journalism. He is interested in social epistemology, epistemic justification and philosophy of language.
"I had never participated in a competition of this sort, but I was really intrigued, and to be honest also a bit nervous, about it. I was worried that my ideas wouldn't be clear enough or that I wouldn't have enough time at the end to revise my essay. Honestly, I am very happy with the result and with the experience as a whole. I think it was a great opportunity to challenge myself and improve my writing and analytical skills."