Kyle Ferguson, one of two Canadian students spending the past winter semester at our faculty, came to Olomouc from the University of Alberta where he is studying Bachelor of Kinesiology with a Major in Adapted Physical Activity. Does he think the study system at Palacký University differs from what he is used to at his home university?
Why did you choose our university for your Erasmus study experience?
I chose Palacký University as they are a partner university of my home institution, so it made the application process quite easy. I also picked it as the Czech Republic is very central in Europe allowing me to travel for relatively cheap each weekend and experience as many different countries as I could. The cost of living is also cheaper than in Canada so that also helped.
Were your expectations different from the reality?
Yes and No. I talked with a few students who came here from Canada before me, so I had a general idea of what to expect but there was also a lot that was unexpected. For example, you really get to know the other Erasmus students and interact with even if they are staying on the dorm. The culture is much more like Canada and it is easier to adapt to and get used to than I thought it would be.
Can you compare your study experience in Olomouc with the experience from your home university?
In terms of classes, I expected to be very much like Canada where you have lecture where the professor speaks, and you take notes and then are evaluated throughout the semester and then an exam at the end. The lessons here are much more practical and hands on with real life application and some classes have exams and some do not. I think this is a much better way to learn some concepts and develop confidence in your field study. There are also more presentations that you do on a selected topic of your choice and then teach it to the class. It is stressful trying to come up with a presentation with little guidance, but the professors are very lenient on how and what is presented.
What were some of the biggest challenges you had to overcome as an Erasmus student?
Language. Czech is nothing like any other language I have heard before and very few people outside of the people involved internationally speak any English. I would highly suggest learning some basic Czech before you come here. I have also never lived in a dorm or away from home before, so it took some time to get used to it and adapt to a new way of life.
How did you spend your free time?
Every weekend I travel to other countries in Europe and during the weekdays, I use my free time to either study, read or do to the gym. Except Wednesdays, which are Erasmus student, club nights at Belmondo.
What is the single most memorable experience you have from your Erasmus life?
Traveling to Warsaw on my own. This was the first time I have ever gone somewhere alone, and Warsaw was such an interesting city to walk around and learn about its history and everything.
Have you changed because of your Erasmus experience?
Absolutely. I am much more independent now and I am better at working through new problems and challenges. This applies to both normal life and in my classes. The teachers really don’t give you a guide on what you need to know and learn so it’s based much more on independent learning of the introduced concepts.
How can this experience benefit your future career?
I don’t really have a specific career planned out in my future, but this experience has really helped me see more of the options that are open to me and what else I can do with my degree after I graduate.
Would you recommend the study at the Faculty of Physical Culture, Palacký University Olomouc to your friends? Why?
Yes, I would really recommend coming here. The teachers are great and interesting; the mix of other students from all over is something you can’t really get everywhere and Olomouc as a city is also amazing. It’s not a super busy and fast paced city like Prague and it allows you to learn about it in a relaxed way without feeling rushed.
If you had to describe your Erasmus experience in Olomouc using 5 adjectives, which ones would you use?
Unforgettable, fun, enlightening, exciting, amazing.