Exchange Students

With approximately fifty exchange students coming to Olomouc each academic year to study sport, physiotherapy and healthy lifestyle, we aim to provide excellent-quality services to our international students. Our faculty has formal exchange arrangements with universities around the world, from Spain and the Netherlands to more exotic and far-away countries like China, Japan or Canada. If you choose to spend a semester or two of your degree course with us, you will be part of the international community in the lively Neředín campus where most of the exchange students stay. Moreover, the Faculty of Physical Culture is within this campus; in fact, you might be able to see its buildings from your dormitory window.

If you have any questions or need any help before your mobility, do not hesitate to contact our team of international coordinators, Zuzana (EU students) and Tereza (non-EU students), who are always ready to assist you. You will find their contact details below.

Here you can find everything about your prospective exchange study stay at Palacký University Olomouc: https://www.upol.cz/en/students/exchange-students/

List of courses for exchange students

Contact

In case of need of explanations concerning Learning Agreement please contact

Zuzana Hanelová
faculty coordinator for EU students
Palacký University, Faculty of Physical Culture
International office
třída Míru 117
771 11 Olomouc, Czech Republic
phone: +420 585 636 352
fax: +420 585 412 899
e-mail: zuzana.hanelova@upol.cz

Tereza Kučerová
faculty coordinator for non-EU students, visa students, degree students and IMAPA students
Palacký University, Faculty of Physical Culture
International office
třída Míru 117
771 11 Olomouc, Czech Republic
phone: +420 585 636 046, +420 730 545 167
e-mail: tereza.kucerova@upol.cz

Experience of International Students

Canada

Leif Edwardson

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).

Hungary

Patrik Horváth

Next international student in our series of interviews is Patrik Horváth from Hungary. He came from Department of Sports Management and Theory, Faculty of Sciences, University of Pécs and he likes travelling, table tennis, reading and touring. Does he also enjoy studying at our faculty?

Why did you choose our university for your Erasmus study experience?

I visited the Czech Republic in 2014 and it was love at first sight for me. During my trip, I decided that I would return to the country as soon as I have the chance. I heard about the Erasmus+ programme in my university. At first, I was not interested in it but when my teacher started to list the possible countries, my feelings changed because of the possibility to go to Prague and Olomouc. I came here with one of my friends and in Prague there was just place for one student, so it was obvious that our destination would be Olomouc. I registered right after the introduction. Later I googled the city and the university and I became a true fan of the Palacký University.

Were your expectations different from the reality?

Yes. When I came here, I realized everyone is so kind to us. I thought that maybe it would not be the same forever because usually everyone tries to be kind to the “guests” at the start but all of the teachers, students and even the non-academic staff of the Palacký University have always been so nice to us. When my new teachers ask about me or my Erasmus mates, they don’t do so just to ask some questions but they really want to get to know us deeply. I have a very good relationship with my teachers and with a lot of Erasmus and non-Erasmus students. I never expected better atmosphere during my Erasmus!

Can you compare your study experience in Olomouc with the experience from your home university?

In Hungary, I’m a student of the faculty of sciences which includes all of the sport studies. But mine is closer to business than is usual here. In Olomouc, I can study several kinds of sport studies like recreation, biomechanics, travel & tourism or even wheelchair sports. Most of my subjects are practical, however, it’s different at my home university where a lot of business subjects are theoretical. I like my classes here, they are so useful. English language is one of the most useful courses, while still being so interesting. It will be difficult when my Erasmus ends because teaching methods as well as the language of the teaching are different in Hungary. Anyway, I enjoy being taught in English.

What were some of the biggest challenges you had to overcome as an Erasmus student?

I had to overcome some difficulties, for example using English. It wasn’t the first time I needed to use it but with everyone and all the time… it was strange for me, though it’s better now. And the tiny everyday things were also complicated, like cooking and doing laundry by myself. Doing Erasmus is a perfect way to improve the skills for my everyday life!

How do you spend your free time?

I love traveling! I did it before Erasmus but I took some trips while living in the Czech Republic. Because of its location, the country is a perfect place for traveling either within the country, or outside. Also, I played table tennis in Hungary and I’m lucky because I got to know some Czech players and that´s why I could continue my trainings here. When I have some free time, I just open the map of Europe - sometimes not just Europe - on the internet and I start planning a trip somewhere. There are so many places I would like to visit. Some of them are closer to the Czech Republic than to Hungary so I should explore them now, during my Erasmus.

What is the single most memorable experience you have had from your Erasmus life so far?

It’s a difficult question because I have a lot of good memories that I will remember forever! Maybe my best Erasmus experience is my first couch-surfing experience with Portuguese friends of mine, Carolina and Leonor. We spent fantastic four days in Munich, Germany. We walked around the entire city and because it was my second time in there, it was not totally new for me, but this was still the most enjoyable trip. It was our first couch-surfing experience and everything was perfect. I think this kind of trips can make friendships forever.

Have you changed because of your Erasmus experience?

Of course! I think every one of us have changed somehow during Erasmus. I have changed also as I have tried living without my family and friends. I guess that´s the most difficult for me now – at first, I never felt homesick but now it´s changing and this feeling is getting stronger and stronger. For me, living with several students from different countries, having different cultures and religions, can be eye-opening. I learned a lot from other foreign students, for example to respect other cultures more. I made some really deep friendships with the other Erasmus students, which, I hope, will survive my return back home.

How can this experience benefit your future career?

I guess that I can understand different cultures and religions. In my opinion, it is very important not to be too conservative and judgemental. Everyone should be opened-minded when interacting with others, that’s one of the main purposes of the Erasmus programme, I think. I hope my Erasmus experience has changed me for good and I will continue having this view for the rest of my life!

Would you recommend the study at the Faculty of Physical Culture, Palacký University Olomouc to your friends? Why?

Of course! I really enjoy my time here and I can’t complain about anything. I think that all the services of the faculty are perfect for the Erasmus students. Even the city itself is awesome, I really enjoy being part of Olomouc! When I was in Hungary at Christmas, I met one of my professors and he asked me if I could participate in an Erasmus meeting next year whose goal will be to popularize the Erasmus+ programme among our students. I happily agreed and I honestly can’t wait. It will be honour to promote the Palacký University and the city of Olomouc!

If you had to describe your Erasmus experience in Olomouc using five adjectives, which ones would you use?

Perfect, instructive, unrepeatable, memorable, unforgettable!

Italy

Francesco Serra

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.

Japan

Kirara Iwasa

Next international student in our series of interviews is Kirara Iwasa. She came from Japan, from Faculty of Sport Science, Nippon Sport Science University. She likes travelling, watching movies, cooking, foreign language learning, puzzles or learning about new cultures. Does she enjoy studying in Olomouc?

Why did you choose our university for your Erasmus study experience?

First of all, my university in Japan and Palacký University have a study partnership. I was interested in the differences in the classes between Japan and the Czech Republic and also, since I had never been to Europe before, I thought it would be a great opportunity to try new things and then I wanted to contribute to my home university with this study abroad experience.

Were your expectations different from the reality?

There weren’t such big differences. However, I had some difficulties because of the language, which was harder than I expected. Also, I was surprised that each faculty of the Palacký University is situated in a different building.

Can you compare your study experience in Olomouc with the experience from your home university?

The biggest difference is the number of international students and that for Erasmus students, there are classes taught in English. Also, I don’t have to take a tram when I need to go to the stadium. The classes at Palacký University are mainly organized in small groups which means there are many opportunities to actively participate during the class by doing couple or group work. Compared to my Japanese university, where I had a lot of exams, I have more assignments rather than exams here.

What were some of the biggest challenges you had to overcome as an Erasmus student?

To adapt to a completely new situation and the fact that almost all of the environment around me has changed. I had to make new friends from the very beginning and I had difficulties with not only English but also with Czech. Moreover, it was hard for me not to keep in touch with my family because of the 7-8hour time difference.

How do you spend your free time?

I often sleep because I like to do it. I also go on trips with my friends from time to time and talk on Skype with my family or friends in Japan.

What is the single most memorable experience you have had from your Erasmus life so far?

The day when I had to say goodbye to my friends. Even though we spent just a few months being together, it was so sad and difficult because they were like a family for me.

Have you changed because of your Erasmus experience?

Of course, I think that all my experience throughout this Erasmus stay has changed me a lot.

How can this experience benefit your future career?

I can’t say exactly at the moment but I am sure that I will definitely use this experience in the future.

Would you recommend the study at the Faculty of Physical Culture, Palacký University Olomouc to your friends? Why?

Yes of course, that’s why I was chosen to study at Palacký University in the first place. :-)

If you had to describe your Erasmus experience in Olomouc using 5 words, which ones would you use?

Grateful / Proud/ Satisfied/ Trouble/ LOVE.

Spain

Juan Martinez Visa

Our popular series of interviews with Erasmus students studying at the Faculty of Physical Culture is back. If you have ever wondered what makes our international students prolong their stay at our faculty, Juan Martinez Visa from Pablo de Olavide University in Seville, Spain, has answers for you.

Why did you choose our university for your Erasmus study experience?

When I had to choose my Erasmus destination, I didn't know anything about any university or town. However, I found a website called "Erasmusu" where I could get some information about all the places where I could go as an exchange student. There you could find stories about Erasmus experience written by people who had done Erasmus in different cities and universities.
I read that Olomouc was a great place because it was in Central Europe (so you can travel to many countries), it was so cheap and the Erasmus community was amazing there. Moreover, I wanted a place with cold weather in order to experience different sensations, so I chose Olomouc as my first option.

Were your expectations different from the reality?

Before going to Olomouc, I didn't know what I would find there. However, since the first day I arrived, I have enjoyed every moment and every person I have met. I couldn't imagine that I would feel this city is my second home.
My expectations were high before arriving in Olomouc, but the reality has completely surpassed them. I have arranged an extension of my Erasmus period and I still don't know how I will be able to say goodbye to this wonderful and magic city in June.
Another thing that has exceeded my expectations is people I have met during my Erasmus. You would never imagine that unknown people would be as important for you as your family within just a few months. In fact, when you come back to Spain for Christmas, you find it too difficult to live without them.

Can you compare your study experience in Olomouc with the experience from your home university?

The first thing you expect when you are going to do Erasmus experience is that the classes and the exams will be so easy. It is true that the university in Olomouc is easier than my home university, but you have to take into account that you will have the classes in English, which represents extra difficulty.
The education system is different at both universities. In Olomouc, the classes are more practical and the teachers are closer than in my home university. You don't feel as much pressure with the exams as in your home institution because the teachers value attendance, diary homework and the knowledge that you learn more.
I would also like to point out that you don't lose an academic year during your Erasmus, as many people usually say. I have learned things in Olomouc that I had never discovered in my home university. Moreover, I speak from my own experience that the university in Olomouc has great teachers who try to help you in order to pass on all their knowledge.

What were some of the biggest challenges you had to overcome as an Erasmus student?

The first thing you need to know as an Erasmus student is that you will use English language every day. It will be so helpful for you because most people speak Czech language in Olomouc. However, you will be with Erasmus students most of the time, so you will always speak in English.
Another big challenge was the weather. In my home city, there is hot weather almost for the whole year. In Olomouc, the weather is so cold in winter that you will experience many new things: different type of clothes, customs, food… I personally prefer this weather instead of the hot weather, but it's up to you!
The most difficult challenge was related to the nightfall. Here, you will get used to seeing it at 4 or 5 p.m., which can be unusual for you in the beginning. However, you will find plenty of things to do with your friends in order to enjoy it.
Many people missed their families in the beginning of their Erasmus. Most of them had never lived without them, so they needed some time to adapt. However, I live in a different city than my parents in Spain, so this wasn't such a big challenge for me.

How did you spend your free time?

In Olomouc I had plenty of free time so I could do a lot of things. I usually did sport (gym, running…) and went out with my friends to a pub. One of the best things about Erasmus is the amount of people that you meet. If you feel bored, you have many people to drink a coffee or speak with. I love getting to know different cultures, languages, customs… I tried to meet people from many countries in order to open my mind. When you explore different countries, you start to understand why people from each country have a different behaviour.
To be honest, the best thing I have done in my free time in Olomouc is travelling. You will be surprised to find cheap prices here and the big amount of cities and countries that you could visit anytime.

What is the single most memorable experience you have from your Erasmus life?

If I had to choose one experience from my Erasmus, I couldn't do it. All the trips were incredible and amazing and each one has given me magic memories with my second family in Olomouc. We have been in rooms with 16 people, slept at airports and on buses, eaten in the strangest restaurants you can imagine… It's been wonderful to have these experiences and I will continue doing it in Spain for sure!

Have you changed because of your Erasmus experience?

After my Erasmus experience, I can say for sure that I have changed completely. I have opened my mind in such different ways that it would be impossible to explain. Meeting such different people has helped me learn to tolerate all cultures and customs and it has helped me change my thoughts about some topics or stereotypes.
In addition, I have incredible maturity because of the experiences that I have had here. When your family and friends are so far away, you learn to be more independent by yourself and to organize your life without help from anyone. I have had some wonderful experiences during my Erasmus, but I have also had bad moments. When you have to fight with the last ones by yourself, you really mature and learn to be stronger.

How can this experience benefit your future career?

Nowadays, it is said that many companies prefer having workers who have spent one year abroad as for example Erasmus students. They consider this kind of experience to give you an enormous grade of maturity.
Moreover, I have improved my English a lot as a positive consequence of my Erasmus. You need to show interest and study hard if you want to improve all aspects of English language, but if you do it, you will speak English almost like your mother tongue after your Erasmus experience.
Finally, thanks to Erasmus you learn to manage difficult situations and control your whole life by yourself, something that will let you deal with unpredictable situations in your future job.

Would you recommend the study at the Faculty of Physical Culture, Palacký University Olomouc to your friends? Why?

I would absolutely recommend this university to the future Erasmus students because it gives you the opportunity to attend classes taught by excellent teachers. They will always help you as much as they can in order to make your learning easier and you will experience different teaching methods.
In addition, this university is very popular for its education system and modern techniques. If you show curiosity and work hard, you will acquire an incredible amount of knowledge.
Regarding the administrative area, this university has an excellent department and the formalities are easier than in my home university. The faculty coordinator is so kind and effective which makes you less stresses and worried.

If you had to describe your Erasmus experience in Olomouc using 5 adjectives, which ones would you use?

Amazing, magic, enriching, intense and unforgettable.

Lara Carrascosa Agustina & Alba Martinez Zorrilla

In second part of our series about international students at our faculty we introduce you two girls from Catholic University San Vicente Martir of Valencia – Lara and Alba. Both have been here since September.

Why did you choose our university for your Erasmus study experience?

L:  I chose Palacky University to do my Erasmus because I was very interested in coming to the Czech Republic. At the beginning, I didn't know why, but now I believe that I chose this country because of its location in the centre of Europe and also because I thought Czech people can speak English, but that is not true. Those are the reasons why I chose this country but talking about this university, well, when my university told me that I could go to the Czech Republic, I was destined to Ostrava, but then my coordinator told me that I could go to Olomouc and I decided to come here.

A: First I wanted the Czech Republic because it is cheap to spend my whole academic year and it's in the centre of Europe and I can travel a lot. Ostrava was my first option also but I searched for some information about both cities and I decided to change my decision because I saw that Olomouc is smaller and more beautiful than Ostrava and there are different activities for students. Also, I knew that here I would have to speak in English and I needed to improve it.

Were your expectations different from the reality?

L: I think that the only thing I thought would be different is, as I said before, that I was pretty sure that almost every Czech person knows how to speak English, but in my opinion it is not like that. When I go to some restaurants, bars or supermarkets, I usually need help from waiters or cashiers and they don't know how to answer me.

A: I thought that Czech people would be friendlier and they would speak English very well but it's not true. There are exceptions but not too many. Anyway, normally I am with Erasmus people. About the weather, I thought that it would be cold but not like this. It's too cold.

Can you compare your study experience in Olomouc with the experience from your home university?

L: My life here is completely different from my life back home. In Spain, I need 30 minutes to go by car to my university, because I live in a village and the university is in the city while here I am living one minute from my faculty so I can wake up twenty minutes before the lesson and I don’t have to drive anywhere. Also, in my home university, I have classes only during the morning and almost without a break while here I have classes maybe two hours in the morning and one in the evening, or just in the morning or just in the evening. And I usually have half-an-hour break between the classes so I can come home and have a snack. Also, in Spain, I have to do homework for every class, like here, but at my university we have to work in groups.

A: It's very different. At my university, I study in my language and it's easier to understand the teachers and then study. About the classes, I do much more practice here than at my home university and I love it. I think that I needed it, it's another way of learning. Another important thing for me is the homework. At my home university, we always work in pairs or in groups but never alone and now, studying in Olomouc, I have improved the way I do my homework a great deal.

What were some of the biggest challenges you had to overcome as an Erasmus student?

L: I think the only challenge I had to face was to speak English. Before Erasmus, I have never spoken any English apart from the English classes, and to communicate, solve problems, meet people etc., speaking another language was a real challenge for me.

A: I agree. For me, English was also the biggest challenge. When I first arrived, I found it very difficult to understand the teachers, do the homework and also communicate with other Erasmus people.

How do you spend your free time?

L: I usually do sport, either alone or with my friends in my free time. We play football, go to the gym, running, swimming, hiking or climbing. Also, I watch English series and films to improve my English or I go out for beers or a snack with friends and to parties too. I also do my homework and I study English but I like to spend most of my free time with friends.

A: Normally during week, I do exercise, sometimes in the gym, some days I go running, it depends on the day. And I watch TV series in Spanish and in English. I try to watch them mostly in English but it's a little hard for me. Once or twice a week, I go to a party with my friends and we drink beer coz we like Czech beer. At the weekends, I often go on a trip with Erasmus people or if we don't have any trip planned, we go skiing or snowboarding if we can.

What is the single most memorable experience you have had from your Erasmus life so far?

L: My best experience was when we went hiking for a day in the Jeseníky Mountains. We knew that we were going to do a route, but we took a bus without knowing which one or where to start. We met one guy on the bus who told us that there was a path at the next stop and it went to the Jeseníky, so we decided to go. We started walking up and we were walking and walking for a long time and being higher and higher, there was more snow and finally we arrived to the top of the mountain. There was a restaurant which looked closed because it was covered with snow. It was -7 °C and we weren't prepared for that cold. After eating something and warming ourselves, we started walking back and it was amazing because I have never walked in a place like that, it was full of snow. For me, it was like being in Santa’s house in the North Pole. Finally, we arrived to the Jeseník town and we took our bus back to Olomouc.

A: I think the trips in general because we decided where we wanted to go on Tuesday and on Thursday we went. I have never slept in a hostel with maybe 12 people in the same room. Normally I travel with my parents to a city with a hotel and a guide and it is all organized but here nothing is organized and it is always like an adventure for me when we travel.

Have you changed because of your Erasmus experience?

L: In my opinion, I haven't changed much. Here, I do the housework but it is because I must do it. In my house, I don't need to. Maybe I am more mature, but I believe I am still more or less the same person.

A: I wouldn't change anything that I have done.  I have been able to do what I want here, though maybe I would like to spend more time with people who aren´t Spanish but coming from other countries. I am trying to change that this semester.

How can this experience benefit your future career?

L: This experience will be very beneficial for me because I am sharing my daily life with flatmates and friends from different countries and I must learn how to do it. I am learning how to take care of myself far away from my home. Also, I am learning so much about different cultures which could be very useful in the future. Another important thing is that in our lessons here, we study in different ways from what I am used to and I believe that knowing different teaching methods is very useful for me because I want to become a PE teacher.

A: I think that doing Erasmus is very beneficial for our future because we are learning another language. I live with my parents in Valencia and in Olomouc, I have to do everything on my own and live with people from different countries and it's very interesting because every day, I learn something new. You can expand you mind and this experience helps you become more responsible.

Would you recommend the study at the Faculty of Physical Culture, Palacký University Olomouc to your friends? Why?

L: Yes, if someone tells me that they want to do Erasmus, I will recommend this place. I think this is a good opportunity to travel around Europe because you are in the centre of it. Also, this faculty offers many different courses in different fields of sport that you can choose and create your own timetable and if you have a problem, they help you solve it easily. On top of that, they have a good Erasmus system - we are separate from Czech students to have classes in English but if Czech students want, they can join us, though we also have our own Erasmus subjects.

A: Of course I would because here it’s different from my university and that's great because here you do more practice. The way you learn the theory is pretty much the same I think, but when you mix theory and practice in the same subject, you can learn much more. Another advantage is that you attend your classes in English with other Erasmus people and it´s great because you improve your English and you are with your friends.

If you had to describe your Erasmus experience in Olomouc using 5 adjectives, which ones would you use?

L: Funny, friendly, diverse, enriching, unique.

A: Surprising, cheerful, funny, intense, family.

Laura Salort Tomás

Next international student in our series of interviews is Laura Salort Tomás. She came from Spain, her home university is University of Alicante. She likes sports, especially basketball. Does she enjoy studying at our faculty and living in Olomouc?

Why did you choose our university for your Erasmus study experience?

I chose the University in Olomouc mainly for two reasons. The first one was because my coordinator recommended it to me, since he had been there and told me that this university had a lot of prestige, and they had very good materials and facilities in terms of sport.
The second reason was that I was fortunate that there was an Erasmus student from Olomouc, in my class during the last course in Alicante. So one day I stayed with him and he told me all the information about the Czech Republic, about the city of Olomouc, the weather, prices... in short, about life in there. The truth is that I was very excited when he told me and everything seemed fabulous so I decided to go to Olomouc.
Also, this student was very nice to give me all the information he knew and he also offered help, if I had any problems over there. That reassured me a lot, knowing that I had already had a friend there before I even left.
Finally, I put Olomouc as my first choice, and so I was assigned this destination. And then the great Erasmus experience began!

Were your expectations different from the reality?

My expectations were totally different since my older sister has been on Erasmus but she had bad experience there and did not like anything. That's why I was a bit scared, thinking something bad would happen to me. But it has really been totally different, each person can live the Erasmus life in its own way, in a different way. And I did it my way, I have grown as a person, matured and improved my English, that these were one of the three reasons why I wanted to go to study abroad for the whole year. So I am more than happy that I could enjoy and do what I wanted. I was treated very well, made thousands of friends and visited many wonderful places. I even felt sorry to leave because loved the people around me - in the end it was like a big family.
Lots of partying, fun, and other things... But if you are a person who does not like all of that, you can do without it there and enjoy it your own way.

Can you compare your study experience in Olomouc with the experience from your home university?

Clearly, the level of studies cannot be compared because at your home university you are asked much more, you study much more, the syllabus is more extensive and difficult and you have works and final exams that are much harder. However, during the Erasmus, attendance and participation matter more. You can do some essays, power point presentation or final test, but nothing to compare with what you must do in your home university.
But it all makes sense since you cannot require the same performance and sacrifice with a language that you do not master at all, being away from your country, being alone without anyone's help ... Erasmus is more about making your English fluent (learn vocabulary, listen, speak, lose your fear), solve your problems without the help of your parents - that is, to mature and grow as a person, to become independent.
In conclusion, the Erasmus year is totally different from any year at your own university.

What were some of the biggest challenges you had to overcome as an Erasmus student?

One of the biggest challenges for me was living away from my family. I have always been very close to my family. On Sundays, we all go together to eat at our grandmother's house, help my father with the garden or my mother with household chores. At the beginning of my Erasmus, not being able to do that was a great shock and a strong blow for me. They were very far away and we could only see each other through Skype. Little by little, you become stronger and with the passage of time you realize that life goes on and that you will not always be able to have your family by your side. They are stages that happen, you grow and get older and someday you have to leave the nest.
I'm telling you the truth, I missed them too much and I had bad times but you start to live so I followed along and leaned on friends and colleagues who were going through the same as me, and I did not feel so alone.

 

How do you spend your free time?

In the first semester I trained with the team of the university, but since the card did not come to play, there were many players, the coach only spoke Czech,.... among many other things, I ended up leaving. So the second semester pointed me to the gym of the residence, and although it was small, I liked it.
As for the weekends, I travelled a lot, both on my own and taking part in organized trips. I visited Prague, Vienna, Bratislava, Krakow, Warsawa, Brno and many charming little towns of the Czech Republic.
As for outdoor sports, I have done skiing, snowboarding, running, Nordic Walking, cycling ... I would like to do a lot more but time has not allowed me to. It was very cold, which I was not accustomed to, and I had to adapt to the conditions there. I also remember the cold evenings, drinking tea with friends, long conversations, watching movies...

What is the single most memorable experience you have had from your Erasmus life so far?

The most memorable experience I had in my Erasmus year was meeting Anna Vicarova, a senior I had the opportunity to meet in Donald's classes during the first semester. It consisted of a group of seniors coming to classes to do strength, balance and aerobic exercises and Erasmus students had to be with them, correct them, help them and take care of them.
Anna and I met there, and from that moment we became friends, she was like a mother or grandmother for me. With time, I had more and more affection for her, she introduced me to her circle of friends, her partner Brain, she gave me everything she could (the most importantly her time because she is a really busy person but she wanted to share many things with me).
Thanks to her, my stay in Olomouc was much easier, she showed me beautiful places that I would have never visited and most importantly, she made me feel at home. We shared many moments together that I will never forget and that I will always keep as a memory.
How lucky I was to be able to find her and to create that magnificent friendship. 

Have you changed because of your Erasmus experience?

Personally, I have not changed my personality or my character, I think it remains the same. But I do have to say that I am much more mature and that I managed to correct things. Studying a year abroad makes you open your mind and your eyes and you realize many things that you never have done before.
I think that the same Laura comes to Spain, but a little older and more mature, more focused on what she wants. Also knowing the amount of things I can do for myself and with confidence, without fear or shame. Ready to eat the world and enjoy it in my way!

How can this experience benefit your future career?

Doing the Erasmus for a year away from home will benefit me a lot in the future, both for my studies and for my work.
For my studies, having the opportunity to have a year in the Czech Republic will open more doors to me. I also improved my English and now speak fluently. In addition, the different traditions and cultures, that is, to see the world and to have more knowledge of what surrounds us. Not only from Spain.
As for work, it will help me find it more easily, since if the bosses see that a person has been studying a year out, it will be very positive, for sure.

Would you recommend the study at the Faculty of Physical Culture, Palacký University Olomouc to your friends? Why?

I will definitely recommend to all my friends to come and do the Erasmus in Olomouc. In fact, I am already helping one of my classmates that wants to go to Palacký University next year and I am sharing with him all the information possible.
I'm super happy about the decision I made about that, the day before I left and I regret nothing. Actually, I know I would choose that again.
It was very pleasant there, they treated me very well and I felt like at home. The sports facilities are very good; besides, I enjoyed the classes a lot. And I was delighted with the teachers, I didn’t have any problems with anyone. Personally, I feel that I have learned a lot, that the subjects were very varied, both theoretical and practical. Also, I must say that both Tereza and Zuzana helped us with everything we needed, if there were any problems and so on.
The studen's residence is great, with enough furnishings to live there and also right next to our faculty.
All prices were lower compared to Spain and everything there was beautiful, especially the square where the monument of the Holy Trinity is located.
In short, I am in love with Olomouc and, by all means, I would recommend this city to everyone.

If you had to describe your Erasmus experience in Olomouc using 5 adjectives, which ones would you use?

Excited, interesting, surprising, satisfying and awesome.

Ukraine

For this week´s interview, we questioned a Ukrainian student Bohdan Kostenko who came from Vincent Pol University in Lublin, Poland. Bohdan is a physiotherapy student and when asked about his Erasmus experience, he is most grateful for having improved his English and making lots of new friends from all over the world.

Why did you choose our university for your Erasmus study experience?

I chose Palacký University Olomouc because it is located not far from my home University in Poland and it is one of the biggest universities in the Czech Republic. The culture and language is very similar for me. Also, not many universities offer English programmes for physiotherapists.

Were your expectations different from the reality?

My expectations were different from the reality. I really practised English so much, during the whole semester we had so many meetings, events called “National presentation’’, ‘’Language Café’’… it was great.

Can you compare your study experience in Olomouc with the experience from your home university?

Yes, I can compare my study experience in Olomouc with the experience from my home university. In Olomouc I practised English more, there were so many classes related to sports, different teaching methods… It was new for me. At my university I did not have the internet system ‘’STAG’’ to check my schedule and other useful information, but I think they should create something like this. There were so many international students from all over the world – at my home university, I do not normally meet them, only Ukrainian and Polish people. I think that is all.

What were some of the biggest challenges you had to overcome as an Erasmus student?

Biggest challenges? I do not think so! The teachers at the university were very kind and so were the international and Czech students. The Neředín dormitories were comfortable for me and located near the faculty. Olomouc is a small student city and I like it.

How did you spend your free time?

In my free time I went to the gym or walked to the city centre with my friends. I visited the Aqua Park in Olomouc, played laser tag game and saw other interesting places in the city. And of course, so much travelling! From Olomouc I travelled to Vienna, Prague, Budapest, Brno, Katowice… and all my travels were by bus or train, very cheap and fast (not longer than four hours). If you want to do Erasmus programme, you must travel!

What is the single most memorable experience you have from your Erasmus life?

The most memorable experience in my Erasmus life would be connected to my new friends from all over the world. I experienced a great deal of funny situations with them and it was the best experience for me.

Have you changed because of your Erasmus experience?

Yes. I became more friendly because I learned about many other cultures that I was not familiar with before.

How can this experience benefit your future career?

It can help me find a good job because the employer will realize that I am sociable, I know English at a good level and I have knowledge that is not yet available or not used in my country. And of course it can help me to open my own private practice.

Would you recommend the study at the Faculty of Physical Culture, Palacký University Olomouc to your friends? Why?

Yes, I will do it because it is a very good place to learn the language, to have good experiences, a place where you can meet a lot of new people and get to know their culture.

If you had to describe your Erasmus experience in Olomouc using 5 adjectives, which ones would you use?

I would use friendly, helpful, successful, lively, cheerful.