Studying in Europe is the dream of many applicants and students. And we, in turn, continue to interview the students studying in Europe to help you choose your country and university.

Students of European universities from Azerbaijan share their stories and experiences here. And from the words of students, we will learn about the details of education in Europe.

Today's guest is Maya Baghirova, a student at the Spéos Paris Photography Institute in France. Maya studied photojournalism in Paris. Our talented compatriot speaks about her student life in France...

- Maya, tell us a little about yourself. How come you are in France now and why did you choose this country?

- My name is Maya Baghirova, I was born in Baku. I lived with my family in Israel for 3 years and then came back to Azerbaijan again. I graduated from the Baku Music Academy in the specialty of a violin. And France lived as a wish in my heart from a young age. The culture and beauty of this country, books I read, the soundness of the French language always attracted me. My aunt Ayten Muradova lived in France and I always enjoyed her speaking, maybe one day I had such a desire to learn French. I cannot express in words my aunt's effort on me. I can say that I owe my childhood to my aunt.

- What did you choose the higher school and specialty you studied? What attracted you there?

- I am a person who likes working more than studying. But since I was always engaged in art, each area I read was very interesting. We saw a school called Spéos International Photo School, and at that school, we saw a two-year photojournalist program of Paris Match journal, one of the biggest magazines in France. As I worked in Nargis magazine in Baku, the journalism sector attracted me.

- How did you enter the university? Please tell us a little about your experience.

- The interview stage was held for admission to the university, and for the first time, I took my documents and went there. After interviewing by the higher school’s director and the director of the Paris Match magazine sitting at the big office with a white table and red chairs, I got a positive answer and left the office with great joy. So my university life began again.

- Are you satisfied with the education you got there? What were the biggest superiorities for you? 

- The first year was difficult. It was a completely different atmosphere, I could not get used to it. But from the second year, everything fell in its place. My teachers supported me very much, explained every nuance. I improved my French language, studied with them, tried to learn their temper. During lessons, I witnessed that everyone was very comfortable. Contrary to fearing and feeling shy with teachers, I saw friendly relations with them. I observed that my peers, who studied with me, perceived life very comfortably. For example, if we were given different topics as a task, we could say that they were superficial in their work. Let's say one of such topics is a train theme. They were enough to take a photo of the train, but no one entered it...

- Please tell us a little about the student routine, how are the lessons are held in the university you studied?

- The lessons were interesting indeed because we did not study only photography. We also studied its history, video editing, and Photoshop and Lightroom computer programs. We went to protest actions every week. We had a safety cap on our heads, a mask and protective glasses. There was a period of protests in Paris, the whole country stood up. All Paris was smelled of gas. Since I am a member of the APU (Azerbaijan Photographers Union), I am given a press card every year. With this card, I am allowed to be with the police during the protest actions. Actions, portraits, crows, black and white photos... sometimes, my teachers used to call a photographer Maya when black and white photos were taken. Wherever they saw a crow, they remembered me. Sometimes there was discontent and they said for fun, “Start a magazine named Maya for yourself and publish the photos you want. Because I did not adapt to their requirements sometimes and acted on my life vision. It would have caused some trouble.

- You’ve graduated this year, and tell us a little about the process of preparing for the exam, which is the most important in the life of each student. And how did you pass this exam?

- The exam consisted of two stages. I had two subject themes for the first exam: “Azerbaijani women” and the French slogan “Liberty, equality, fraternity” (fr.  Liberté, égalité, fraternité). I came back to Baku for my first theme. For two weeks, with the support of my mother and uncle, I took photos of Azerbaijani women in the districts. The second theme was to take photos of people living on the street in Paris. They had to answer the question below: What does “liberty, equality, fraternity” mean for you? They answered the question and I mentioned their response below. The second exam was about business. Within two months they held conferences with various editors, photographers, and journalists. We made a slide for the exam and it was held for 30 minutes. After passing the exam very successfully, I realized that the school is over, and the way is mine now. It’s time to go forward and work a lot.

- And in the end please tell us a little about your life in France. What are you doing now and what are your plans for the future?

- France... whether I'm tired or I want to go back to my homeland, Paris is still with me or I'm with this city, I do not know. At present, I am looking for a job. I already have the status of a professional photographer and I continue to look for a job. I have not yet set up big plans for the future and live to this day. For the future, I can say that I want to have students in Azerbaijan and teach them all my knowledge.
Please visit the website to see the work of our talented compatriot: