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What is it like being a foreign student in the Czech Republic? Added:11.8. 2009
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What is it like being a foreign student in the Czech Republic?

Not only from the Czech Republic goes for education students to other states, occurs the opposite process. Their experience and insights to share with us Senichev Valery (23) from Minsk, a student of psychology at the Faculty of Social Studies at Masaryk University in Brno. What are the pitfalls and how to meet them in our study (in Belarus) his eyes?

** What brought you to the university decision to study outside their country and why in the Czech Republic? ** Well, I did not picky I learned in 2004 that the Republic at the embassy in Minsk made a competition for a scholarship to study in the Republic, I applied, went through several rounds. Chose me. While I had the opportunity to study one year in Podebrady, then I as an ordinary student had to report to the university in Prague, Brno, Pardubice … At the same time, I mean 2004, I also got in Minsk on the psychology of the Belarusian State University. In Minsk, but I did not study, I decided to CR, as in Belarus, I can always return to the CR it is not so easy. It was a difficult decision because I was such a type of home, plus I was in Minsk at the time everything: studying, connections, known at that time I also went there with a girl.

** So you definitely hesitated a long time. Can you tell what was the „turning point“ or a major thing that finally pushed you abroad? ** Well it was a difficult period, we tried with the whole family to consider, or do it or not. I must say that I always wanted to try to study abroad, I had this idea since childhood. A year before graduation, we considered the study after high school Moscow State University, which is one of the best in the world. But it would be difficult financially. I still think that if I studied at home, I then went to the doctor and master's study abroad and not necessarily to Western Europe. I decided to try it, I can always come back. Moreover, it is an opportunity to become an adult faster, and have a European diploma is not bad.

** Returning to the competition. It was difficult for you to qualify for a scholarship and what actually was? ** It was not difficult, I am a graduate of one of the best high school in Minsk – French high school. So I had at that time very good French. The first round consisted of test questions in two languages ​​- Belarusian and Russian – in fact we have two state languages ​​of Belarus. Questions were similar to test general assumptions. And then we had to write a motivational letter to the Rector of Charles University in any international language (English, French, Arabic, German and Spanish, if I am not mistaken), why we want to study their subjects – in my case psychology. I wrote on 5 page professional French, why I am interested in psychology and what I plan to do it.

Why the UK? As we reported to the Centre of Charles University in Podebrady. The other schools we did not know at that time. I knew that in the CR, Prague, Karlovy Vary, Plzen and is a University … nothing more. I think that was my knowledge of la langue francaise had the greatest influence, because in our presence, the commission looked at our work and it was a pleasure for me to see how the raised eyebrows of one of them, when he saw my cover letter.

** And after a year in Podebrady did you try the application at universities in other cities? You have graduated in Czech? ** Yes, after a year in Podebrady I sent the application to other cities, even if only motivate us to Prague. In Brno, I just gave the recommendation of a psychologist who taught me – said that the Brno school is not bad. We studied from day one in Czech, teachers told us that they will speak to us only in Czech, using gestures if we do not understand, we understand, so no Anglin, or Russian. I think it was a good idea. We had 35 hours per week plus czech 6–8 hours for special items industry. I had such as psychology and biology. At the beginning of us in the „psychology“ was 5, but then fell away and the other was left alone, so I had individual lessons of psychology and biology.

** When you then began studying at MU, have you noticed any differences between Czech and Belarusian students need in how to build a school, a team of other students, in their opinions, goals? ** At that time I perceived the Czech students as people rather closed, with no motivation to study business. In freshman year, I also met with the fact that a few times told me that I rusak … Furthermore, it is very important in Belarus is the tradition of many years have a university education, which is perceived as the foundation of life (tradition is very strong from the time the Soviet Union, by the way in the USSR, Belarus was the most people with a university diploma). The university students in Belarus, for example, come about 30 minutes earlier before the lectures so they can sit in the first pews. Student Organization is a bit different. In each year is the „mayor“ = usually the responsibility of the student or student. The man in charge of organizational aspects, shows that students receive important information on time, gives lecturers to know who is present at lectures, etc.

Czech students still perceived as „closed race“ closed group of individuals. I do not know, maybe it's because I am a foreigner in the CR and some think that there is no need to talk to us. University for the Czechs usually mean a lot to spend just 5 / 6 years in college and then into practice quickly and forget about it. For us grown-active approach to education, for example, many Czechs were some shock that I ask speakers, discuss and go to lectures prepared. Of course this can not totally generalize, some also come prepared and truly interested in education. In addition, I worked 16 years in an American company and there I was much influenced by the fact that an active approach is best. So the conclusion – Czech students, in my opinion, are more passive in comparison with Belarusian students.

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** And when srovnáš system prevailing in the Czech and Belarusian universities? Are there any significant differences? I mean, in terms of permeability studies, organization, facilities for students …** Yes, in the Belarusian higher education there is the idea that the first few years at university is yet to be us dovzdělávat furo general subjects. For example, students of linguistics will be out of language study radiological safety. When I went to see in 2004, I could study during the first week of studies in psychology at BGU Minsk, so there was 4–5 hours of advanced mathematics, which seemed to improve in our thinking … and it sucks. That's the task of secondary education. Then, approximately from 3 year students already studying a subject.

The Belarusian system of university education, we can not choose subjects that we study, we have a plan and we go after him. Generally, the system looks as follows: 5 years of study at the bachelor, then as an extension of 1 year „Magistratura“ and then, if one wants to go to „graduate“ – that is the PhD study of European lingo said. The vast majority vystuduje 5 years, then goes to work. We still have the opportunity to study another field, for example, if you have a high school, so you can log on to the next field and graduate him for 2 years. It is assumed that one can study and master a new field faster, of course, this does not apply to all disciplines, yet it is not possible to graduate from medical school in 2 years. This applies to such situations, when one studied international journalism and then more logs on the field manager, economist, etc.

Furthermore, it is very important for us if you are studying for free, so you have after graduation to work in a place where you shall stand for 2 years. For doctors it's 3, maybe 5 years. And I really do not like, is used in our discourse, that if we have to repay the „debt“ investment in the state. But does a university education is funded from the money of all people, yet we pay taxes. I think that Belarus is the only country from the former Soviet Union, where it survived a similar experience. Where you can send to some backcountry, for example, my girlfriend who is a trained physician and is from Minsk and the Polyclinic must work in two shifts a day and go to visit patients in the Roma ghetto, where taxis do not go after 8 pm. Works in Borisov, which is not bad, but funding is poor and conditions are very difficult. I am glad I have a free certificate and do not solve it.

** And what are you planning after completing a master's degree studies? You go back to Belarus, or you'll find work somewhere abroad? ** It is a question that bothers me a lot, I really do not know, I'm in Belarus family, girlfriend and the possibility of a low salary. I certainly continue to doctoral studies or just to solve this problem finding opportunities in Moscow, where they are very good conditions for work and competition is crazy, which I am very happy. Furthermore, looking at the possibility of Economics in Prague, Karlovac, then in England and Central Europe. I do not, it's a tough decision. I am abroad for 5 years and it's not exactly easy, I am half a foreigner in our country. In the CR, yet I do not want to stay. I do not like how some Czechs look to people from Eastern Europe as inferior. I mean Belarusians, Ukrainians and Russians, even though we are more than 200 million. This means that I do not want to address discrimination in the country. We are all different and not good to generalize – it is a reaction to the statement that everything is on the east is poor and backward. As far as me personally, it is not good to forget that we still pay military duty. Going to war for a year or year and a half will not. So this is another motivation to continue their studies.

** You're a volunteer in a multicultural center in Brno, as there is actually filling your business? ** Well, I went there with the motivation to carry out a seminar on the psychology of creativity, then I was interested to meet with members of other nationalities, studying their culture, I must say that I wanted to work there, but for foreigners it is hard. Now I go only so far in the lecture multicultural center.

** Your activity is related somehow to study psychology, it somehow zužitkováváš what you learn in school, in practice? ** I think so, the study of psychology provides an opportunity to identify themselves more deeply, a lot of things between people becomes clear, as I meet with things that are sad, for example in case of severe mental illness. So far, occasionally lecturing, preparing a series of lectures in psychology of creativity and intellect, which in the future I want to learn and study intensely, very intensely – that's my job now. I plan in the future to study advertising and public relations, managerial psychology.

** If you had the opportunity to again decide whether to complete a few years abroad, it would be a different decision? ** That's a tough question. I do not study CR enriched me a lot. Maybe I tried to study in Austria, Germany or Angli.Taky I thought that I could stay home and rest study. But this is all hypothetical.

In conclusion I would like to say a few things: Study in the CR gave me also a lot personally and professionally, I learned to live independently, care for himself, to be flexible and adapt to new environments. In the Czech Republic, I also met several people whom I consider true friends, for which I am grateful to study at MU. As for the FSS and studios in the Czech Republic, I would like to emphasize that my school has provided an excellent opportunity to meet presenters, develop their skills in workshops and trained, the school also provides financial support for emergency activities such as travel to conferences abroad, etc. I also grateful to the Ministry of Education for their support and scholarship that allows me to consistently give education and profession. I also say, and it's not PR, that management and the FSS MU deserves great thanks for their helpfulness and understanding in resolving any problems of students, particularly students from abroad. Yes, foreigners in the Czech Republic is not easy, but FSS MU and MU are trying to do everything to solve problems quickly and constructively, supports and cares for us. I am glad that I am a graduate of Faculty of Social Studies, I am proud of my university and I will forever Fssákem.

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Photo source: archive Valéry Senicheva.

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