Understanding Society

Tilburg University has been a reliable provider of high-quality education and research for more than eighty years. We specialize in the social sciences and humanities and we seek to make a structural contribution to society.

Tea Kipshidze

image tea kipshidze

Last August. Tea Kipshidze travelled from Georgia to Tilburg University. She will stay for two full years and will take the research master's in Sociology. In  this program she focuses on the acquisition and development of the statistical knowledge needed for her future research plans. Gathering this knowledge contributes to her goal of tackling one of Georgia's biggest problems: social inequality.

Understanding Society

After finishing high school, it soon became clear that Tea wanted to study at university. She had good grades, which led to a scholarship, so she was able to start studying. Sociology was the choice. "When I started this study, a whole new world opened up for me. I finally started to understand the society and world around me somewhat." This positive experience marked the beginning of perhaps a promising academic career. Meanwhile, she already feels quite at home at the university in Tilburg. "It's funny how well the university motto: Understanding Society actually suits me."

Social Inequalities

After completing her Bachelor of Sociology at the University of Tbilisi, Barcelona was her next stop. Here she completed her first research master's and came into contact with the subject that still intrigues her today: social inequality. Since then, Tea has been involved in an academic career in which she focuses on teaching Georgian university students. She actively shares her knowledge about social inequality in order to enrich others with that knowledge and thus to make the problem known in her home country, where social inequality is a serious problem.

Own University Course   

Tea is concerned about the extent to which social inequality is affecting citizens in her country and in many other countries. Once she returned from Barcelona, she had the opportunity to develop a subject at Ilia State University on this subject and also to teach it herself. She wrote a syllabus, searched for the right literature, wrote an exam and supervised the students. "This was a great opportunity to contribute something to my country by sharing and further developing this knowledge. I am following politics and can only conclude that nothing is being done about this problem, even though it has serious consequences for our society. The fact that I may be able to make a difference is therefore extremely motivating. When I look, for example, at the social policies of Scandinavian states, I am always very inspired to see how things can be done differently and better."

Failing Vital Institutions and Critical Media

In Georgia, there is little knowledge of the harmful effects of social inequality. People simply do not know what it is or do not understand its seriousness. "Critical media, respected research institutions or other social awareness raising initiatives simply do not exist or are deficient. In addition, there are no left-wing or social political parties in Georgia out of fear of Communism. People are still afraid of this."

Contributing to Knowledge Development

"After I have acquired the necessary knowledge, I want to do doctoral research into social inequality. Research is simply of the utmost importance! Without the right knowledge and experience of a second research master's, it is extremely difficult to do quality PhD research and achieve my ultimate goal: to develop a research master's program at the university in Georgia. It would be fantastic to contribute to knowledge development and education programs that can improve the future. I feel very happy with this opportunity and I want to be able to offer all the knowledge I have gained through Georgian education in the form of new research master's programs! That is how we can slowly but surely bring about change."