In our series of interviews, we are also introducing some international students who are studying at our faculty this semester. First of them is Francesco Serra. He came from the Faculty of Physical Culture, University of Turin in Italy and his study programme is Adapted physical activity. He has been with us for the second semester and he likes sport, travelling and art.
Why did you choose our university for your Erasmus study experience?
I chose to do my Erasmus at this university because last year there was a Slovak girl on Erasmus in my class coming from Palacký University of Olomouc and she talked very nicely about the city and the university in general. I wanted to choose an Erasmus destination different from Spain, which is the most common for Italian students, and try to have a different experience.
Were your expectations different from the reality?
Yes indeed, I did not imagine that the faculty would have such cutting-edge tools and facilities.
Can you compare your study experience in Olomouc with the experience from your home university?
I think there are many differences in the relationships with the teachers which is totally different from what I have in Italy. The courses are made up of fewer students and thus the atmosphere in the classrooms is more intimate and I find generally much willingness and desire to help in general. The teachers can be helpful if the issues are not understood or in case of any problem. In addition, there is a good balance between the theoretical lectures and the practical classes where you can try what you have studied. In Olomouc, there are more tasks and projects to do each week and also the class attendance and participation matter. In Italy, on the other hand, we do fewer projects and our attendance is not always obligatory in all the courses. However, the exams in my home university are more complex and require much more material to study from.
What were some of the biggest challenges you had to overcome as an Erasmus student?
The coexistence in the dormitory. It is not always easy because you find yourself living with guys you do not know and it can be hard in a very restricted environment such as the dormitory. If you are not used to living with other boys, it can be complicated. It is also tough to follow lessons entirely in English and carry out projects and tasks in the foreign language.
How do you spend your free time?
I am used to spending my free time doing sports so I go to the gym or swimming pool, besides doing household chores such as doing the laundry, cleaning and cooking. :)
What is the single most memorable experience you have had from your Erasmus life so far?
There were many beautiful experiences, for example at the end of the Successful Ageing and Physical Culture course where we did physical activity with a group of seniors. We did a project that had been created with some of them where we became an important part of their weekly routine and we had to overcome the initial difficulties since we did not speak Czech. I remember the trips organized with their colleagues and the good relationships that we established with some of them. And also the winter camp where for the first time I took a ski course entirely in Czech and learned how to teach children with different disabilities.
Have you changed because of your Erasmus experience?
I think I became more tolerant of many things, I got involved in activities and improved my presentation skills and spoken English. But above all, I guess I learned a different way to look at things, to find new solutions and be more open-minded.
How can this experience benefit your future career?
I believe that this experience has given me the opportunity to get to know a lot of young people like me from all over the world and also to confront ideas and different ways of thinking that have helped me grow as a person and to change the way I see various situations. I tried many things in the practical field and I think this will help me in my future career.
Would you recommend the study at the Faculty of Physical Culture, Palacký University Olomouc to your friends? Why?
I would recommend it because the university has a lot of facilities and new equipment to practice and learn. The courses are well-organized with not only theoretical classes but also practical seminars. The city is very beautiful, not too big and you can easily find your way here and move around.
If you had to describe your Erasmus experience in Olomouc using five adjectives, which ones would you use?
Interesting, unique, fun, useful, educational.