A Belgian student in Czech Republic

16. 1. 2003 | | Názory, Studentský život

Hello everybody! My name is Pascale, I am here as an exchange student (Erasmus). My home university is UCL (Louvain-la-Neuve). I know that some of you have already been there. But I am not here to talk to you about Belgium but about how I am feeling here…

Hello everybody! My name is Pascale, I am here as an exchange student (Erasmus). My home university is UCL (Louvain-la-Neuve). I know that some of you have already been there. But I am not here to talk to you about Belgium but about how I am feeling here…

My first meeting with the VSE was really funny… It was in September, I had to make a picture for the student card. I was at the place for the picture at 9 in the morning but the computer didn’t work. So I had to wait for two hours and stand in a queue before a woman took a picture of me with the webcam. There, a Czech woman told me “standing in a queue is a part of experience of Czech culture”.

At this time, I didn’t realize what it was exactly.

Now, I know because of all these queues to reach a computer, or sometimes to enter the library or to have your meal at the mensa. Something really difficult to understand here is how the mensa works. My first time there, I made stupid things! My Buddy told me that I have to book in advance some food, so I did it. But when I came to the mensa to take my food, I didn’t see the difference between “Jidlo” and “Jidelna” so, I was in the first stairs because I wanted to have the first meal. What happens then? I was in the “minutki” queue but of course I didn’t know what it was, so I took my meal and gave my card and I paid for the minutki! When I checked my card I saw that my first meal cost me around 53 Kc (ordered meal + minutki). I found it strange because everywhere it is written 19.80 KC so I thought: “Maybe they have special prices for foreign students!”

Don’t worry now, I know how it works, my Buddy explained it again to me!

Now, I have been here for already 10 weeks so I am not completely lost as in the beginning. In this time everything seemed really difficult, especially because of the language. Each time I went to the toilet and saw the small timetable on the door, I thought: “Is it the time when we can go in or when we can’t”. Now, I have seen the cleaning woman at this time, so I know!

Sometimes, my Belgian friends ask me if my courses are in Czech. Fortunately, they aren’t! That’s more reasonable and efficient for us to have courses in English but I like when they are Czech people in the classroom. Now, I am preparing one presentation with Czech People. It is really nice to work with them because we can exchange our different ways of thinking and we can ask them so many things about Czech Republic. And last but not least, they can use Power Point really better than us! Why? Because of the language, of course! There are only 6 computers with Power Point in English and they are full all the time. Once, I tried to use the Czech version and to guess a little bit… I really don’t want to show you the result!

I have taken a Czech language course since the beginning, it is really useful for me! I can’t of course speak fluently but some words can help me sometimes in bad situation. If I can give an advice to future foreign students in Prague: To know some words of Czech can help you to survive here! More than that, it can help you to have closer contacts with Czech people and that is very important because if you want to like a country, know some local people is the best way! I met some of them at school, abroad or in Czech train, it was really nice to talk to them and because of this people, I enjoy being here!

Thank you to all of them.

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