Have you noticed that in Brno there are hundreds of overseas students of medicine? Some of them visit Brno for one semester within the framework of the Erasmus programme, but some of them study here for the whole six-year programme, paying tuition fees themselves. Most of these students are members of the Masaryk International Medical Students Association (MIMSA), which was established in 2007. MIMSA arranges diverse informal actions, compiles playlists with music on the web for its members and also looks after study matters. Clearly, such an organization makes the lives of international students living and studying here easier.
But how do students generally like living and studying in Brno? And could they imagine their future in this city? We asked seven students from seven different countries a few questions. In this part you can read the answers of Anastasiya Zbratska (Ukraine, 19) and Olivera Radovanovic (Serbia, 23).
What do you like and what don’t you like in Brno?
Anastasiya: I don’t like dirty streets here, and lots of old outdated places, for example close to Tesco. Also the relations between Czech and international students are problematic; sometimes there is no respect at all. I appreciate the good quality of Masaryk University.
Olivera: I like Brno for being a vivid (student) place, offering many random opportunities – nice parks and squares for a walk, lots of nice cafes… You can rock in numerous and different types of clubs, visit festivals and many other things. The centre is really “focused” and rather small, so every time you pass through it you will most likely meet someone you know. The many foreign people, young people mostly, give Brno a special spice too. At this moment, I mind the reconstruction work of the streets that’s going on all around. I don’t like people on Česká stopping me with “Do you have a moment, Miss?”, and the homeless and drunk people that you can often meet in the streets.
Have you ever thought about staying here in Brno after your studies?
Olivera: I’m not thinking in advance, the only thing I know is that I will be led by good opportunities –both professional and private ones. If those keep me in Brno, I wouldn’t mind at all.
What do you think is the advantage of Brno compared with other cities?
Olivera: Compared to my home, I love the transportation. There are web pages for almost all stores and institutions, etc. I think Brno always has good cultural and entertainment offers for everyone.
Anastasiya: A small city without the problems of big cities!
How do you think Brno could be made more open and attractive for foreigners?
Anastasiya: This is one of the hardest questions. In my opinion the relations between Czech people and visitors are quite insufficient. I think there is a problem with the Czech mentality. It will be hard to change, but probably possible, if Czech people get to know more about important things such as financial support from international students. There are thousands of international students and the financial support coming from them is quite large. Then the language – I don’t have problems with the Czech language but my international friends who don’t speak Czech are not able to find all information about the city, cultural events or even just elementary stuff in English. In my opinion we could live here more easily with more important information in English (like theatre and cinema programmes, restaurants, official information, etc.)
Olivera: Brno is already attractive for foreigners, because people have good access from it to all parts of Europe. The universities are quite good, and inexpensive in comparison with the rest of Europe and Prague. And also Brno is a nice, pleasant city 🙂 . In order to attract even more foreigners, it should maybe work on where to accommodate them and how to entertain them more.
What is your favourite place in Brno that’s really unique?
Anastasiya: The city centre and Vinařská. This is hard to explain; everyone has to see that for himself 🙂 .
Olivera: It really depends on my mood but generally I love the centre – sunny days and cafes full of people or pleasant fall evenings, passing along Česká and Masarykova street, where you can see only a few people. Occasionally, I like exploring my neighbourhood – Masaryk quarter – or heading off in some unknown direction, where you always find some nice spot with a bench :-).
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