In October, I travelled to Baku to attend an Education Fair. It was my first time in Azerbaijan and my first time in a CIS country so I must admit I was quite excited!
My first impression when coming out of the airport was that I was truly impressed by some of the buildings (old but very nice), by some of the new things they were building (a super modern stadium) and had the feeling that the country was really in a period of economic growth because new buildings for housing were rising everywhere. I was also surprised when checking out the cars: half of them were Ladas and the other half was Mercedes (well, not 50/50 but a good 45/45%). I saw different parts of the cities, some that clearly reminded me that the country had been part of the Soviet Union (a long time ago) and some blew me away because they were extremely modern. I also loved the old city which is beautiful. Last but not least, I found out that you can find great caviar for an excellent price in Baku.
I organized a small alumni dinner which provided me with an insight into the country directly from the people. The Fair was also an interesting experience. My conclusion was that candidates in Azerbaijan are really interested in the opportunities to study abroad.
Some people had told me: “You will see, Baku is a very industrial city” but I really liked it, the architecture and the mix between old and modern. I got a strong feeling that the country is booming and I am sure than in a few years, we will hear much more about Azerbaijan.
Laurence Friberg, IE University