Next international student in our series of interviews is Leif Edwardson from Canada. His home school is Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, University of Alberta. He likes especially sports and having fun. Does he enjoy studying at our faculty and living in Olomouc?
Why did you choose our university for your Erasmus study experience?
Originally I was supposed to go to Oslo for my exchange, but they were not offering enough English courses so I requested to come to the Czech Republic. Palacký University is partnered with my home university so it was an easy option. It is also centrally located in Europe so I would be able to travel a lot.
Were your expectations different from the reality?
I have spent less time in the city than I imagined, I have been constantly travelling. I didn’t really know anything about Olomouc before I came, including how to pronounce it. So as far as the city goes I do not think I had many expectations, I tend to not think that much about my future. I did think it would be warmer though.
Can you compare your study experience in Olomouc with the experience from your home university?
The schooling here was very different, back home I study sciences and it is very theoretically based, other than in labs. Here in Olomouc I haven’t taken any science courses, so I am studying completely different things. The classes here also tend to be more practical than theoretical. Our Erasmus courses were also very simple compared to at home, where I spend everyday studying, as opposed to almost none here.
What were some of the biggest challenges you had to overcome as an Erasmus student?
For me it was mainly money. I had no financial support from my university and also had to pay my tuition back home because of our exchange agreement. But luckily I had saved well and the Czech Republic was quite cheap so I have been able to survive quite happily, and do a lot of travelling. Another challenge was how late the students go out to the bars until. Bars in Canada close at 3 AM and it is rare to be out even until then. Here, many of my friends will stay out until 6 or 7, and not even go to the clubs until 2 or 3 on some nights, while by that time I am usually ready to sleep, especially on a school night.
How do you spend your free time?
I spend most of my time travelling to other countries. I think I have only spent three weekends in Olomouc the entire semester. But on nights I am in town I usually go to play soccer (football) or ping pong with friends. Often I go out to parties later on in the night.
What is the single most memorable experience you have had from your Erasmus life so far?
Definitely my Ski alp course. I had the opportunity to join a Czech ski touring course in the Austrian Alps, and absolutely loved it. I spent the first week there with the bachelor students from Palacký, and then asked to stay for the second week with the masters’ students, and was able to ski everyday except for one. This was great because it is something I have just begun to get into in Canada, and having more experience in the backcountry is always really good, and it was also a ton of fun.
Have you changed because of your Erasmus experience?
I don’t think I have changed much. Definitely have gotten a little fatter due to all the cheap beer.
How can this experience benefit your future career?
It probably won’t, I have no interest currently in a career to do with the schooling I am doing, I am just finishing the degree because I am almost done, and someday I may change my mind so having this degree could be beneficial.
Would you recommend the study at the Faculty of Physical Culture, Palacký University Olomouc to your friends? Why?
Absolutely. It has been a really nice break from university back home. While getting credits (regardless of how few will transfer) I have been able to travel so much of Europe and also make friends from all around the world.
If you had to describe your Erasmus experience in Olomouc using 5 adjectives, which ones would you use?
Fun, exhausted, enriching, friendly, super (that’s the Czech version of this word, not the English one).