Sofia Chernysheva 2017/2018
The exchange semester abroad was an incredible experience for me. I will never regret having chosen to attend the university named after Thomas Garrigue Masaryk, the first president of Czechoslovak Republic. My semester was very productive and rewarding.
Masaryk University is located in Brno, the second largest city in the Czech Republic after Prague. Compared to Saint Petersburg, Brno is a rather small city – approximately 400,000 thousand inhabitants. However, this city is enriched by its cultural heritage and vibrant and cozy atmosphere.
Each semester about 600 international students come to Masaryk University through exchange programmes, mostly as part of the Erasmus programme. I became used to the city very quickly due to orientation week events. A mini-course in the Czech language was also included in the orientation week, and I decided to continue this course during the whole semester. After completing the course I received a certificate in Czech language proficiency according to my level.
The courses I elected to attend in the University were very interesting, with the majority of classes realized in mostly lecture format. There were not many assignments during the semester, but the exams were more difficult than I expected. But of course, these exams were accomplishable.
My master thesis is titled “Management of UNESCO Sites: the Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and the Historic Centre of Prague”. For its preparation, I had chosen following courses: “Visual Arts of the Early Modern Period in Bohemia and Moravia”, “Contemporary Cultural Sociology”, “Czech Life and Culture”. Courses “European Union Public Policy” and “Impacts of the Transformation on the Regional Development in the Czech Republic” also contributed to my thesis a lot. I had examined Czech culture, public authorities’ activities toward cultural heritage conservation, tendencies in regional development and legislature within these courses. I was vastly interested in the curse “Transformation Impact to Regional Development in Czech Republic” which explains different aspects of social, demographic, territorial and economic development in Czech Republic after the collapse of Czechoslovakia. Moreover, I gained knowledge not only about Czech Republic, but also about European Union in general within the course “European Union Public Policy”. Additionally I elected courses “Intercultural Communication” and “International Nationalism” which expanded my general cultural and educational background.
The semester passed in one breath, I had no time to miss home. The ESN Club (Erasmus Student Network) at Masaryk University organized events almost every day: country presentations, tasting of national food, visits to swimming pools, hockey games, flag parades, different competitions and parties, and of course trips to neighboring countries.
The location of the Czech Republic in the center of Europe is a large advantage. It is just one hour by bus from Brno to Vienna, a bit more to Bratislava – 1,5 hours, 3 hours to Prague, 4 hours to Budapest, and also to Warsaw, Cracow and other cities. On weekends I traveled to new cities.
I found that the Czech culture is very close to me. Czech people are very open and calm. Life in Brno is very comfortable and pleasant. I experienced many bright impressions, moments and events during my exchange semester, which I will remember for a long time on my return to Russia.