Farewell to our Chinese students

  • David Jančar
  • 15.01.2020
In the winter semester, our faculty welcomed the first group of 45 students from Shanxi University of Finance and Economics (SXUFE). This student mobility is one of the first accomplishments of our recent cooperation with Chinese universities. The planning for this particular mobility started almost one year ago when our universities signed a bilateral agreement for Exchange and Visiting studies. During the past summer semester, prospective bachelor and master students were interviewed via an online video call. Afterwards, each candidate from SXUFE had to apply and prepare a Learning Agreement for studies, which had to be approved by both partner universities. The students with the best university scores and interview results were offered to study at our faculty as Exchange students who are freed of tuition fees. The rest of the students had the possibility to attend the program as Visiting, i.e. tuition-paying students.

After a lengthy process of obtaining a visa, the students could finally set off for a journey to Europe.  For most of the students, this was the first trip outside the Chinese territory. As we realize how difficult it may be to study abroad, especially at the beginning, our Department of International Relations runs a so-called Buddy program to support the international students during their adaptation to a new environment. A student “buddy” is a Czech student of our faculty who picks up the newly arrived student at the train station, helps him out with check-in in the dorms and is helpful to the student during the entire semester. We are proud of our team of 19 buddies who decided to dedicate some of their time this semester to create such a friendly environment for our international students. Thank you!

During the semester, students had a chance to explore our country by attending trips organized by the Department of International Relations or by their student buddies. To mention some, students visited Fryštát Castle, The leaning Church of St Peter of Alcantara, Štramberk, Tatra Technical Museum, Třinec, Český Těšín or Prague. The students also participated actively in our faculty events, such as Erasmus Day when they shared their traditional Chinese dishes or delivered presentations within the International Student Seminar. Since most of the Chinese students are leaving in January, we would like to wish them a safe journey back home. And what have they said about their stay in Karviná? Here are their stories!

“I am a student at the School of Physical Education and I am much honoured to be an exchange student at the Silesian University in the Czech Republic. The teachers here are very warm and the classroom atmosphere is very harmonious. I am very excited to be able to communicate with classmates from various countries. I have learned a lot from studying in the Czech classroom and I feel full of knowledge every day. In addition to the daily study routine, I and my friends have travelled a lot and have met interesting people during our travels. For example, we went to Prague, Český Krumlov, Ostrava and other famous cities in the Czech Republic. These places are like fairy tale worlds, they are so beautiful! We have also visited other European countries. I was most impressed by Budapest. It is a place worth seeing. We have been to hot springs, tried local delicacies and visited the Ferris wheel. The Ferris wheel in Budapest is called the Eye of Budapest and the panoramic view of Budapest is just amazing. We have also found a Chinatown there. What a surprise! We had the Chinese traditional hot pot there and felt like at home.”- Qiongyue Zhang

At the beginning, I was in a state of not knowing where to eat, where to shop, where to attend classes and which bus to take. But since then, I have become a qualified international student who knows the bus lines well, remembers the supermarket business hours and solves the dinner by herself. Even though my English listening, reading and writing are all right, I was still quite mute. I wanted to say something, but I couldn’t say it, because I was afraid I would make a mistake. So I asked a lot of people for advice. They told me that the only way is just to say it. I started taking an initiative to answer questions in a classroom and chat with many international friends. I can feel the rapid progress now.”- Fan Jing (Vivian)

In general, there are four gains that one can get from a study abroad: Firstly, broadening your horizons and gaining a life-time experience.  This is a completely different environment for us. It has been very good only after experiencing it. Some of the impacts are imperceptible and far-reaching. Secondly, language skills, especially English listening and speaking skills.  My English has not been a weakness, but it does not meet the job requirements of high language proficiency.  After a month, I have been able to put the accumulated linguistic knowledge into practice, and I now have the ability to cope with daily communication, express basic ideas, and present basic facts. Along with the improvement of language ability, what is more remarkable is the improvement of self-confidence. It is no longer difficult to speak English. The presentation competition within the International Student Seminar and other debate activities made me look forward to it. Thirdly, being a better person. The environment here is very quiet, free, with plenty of time to do what you want to do.  I exercise, cook, do housework, and learn what I am interested in. I believe that a quiet environment can maximize your concentration. The lack of concentration after high school was a big problem for me. Now I seem to have recovered myself. Lastly, discovering new life paths and endless choices. I have always had a desire to study abroad. This precious opportunity has made me see the possibility and significance of studying abroad even in future. I can adapt to studying abroad and gain the desire I want.  Maybe one day in future, I will set sail again and pursue the bigger world that I long for.”- Qingpeng Li (Bill)

“In early October, after more than a 30-hours-journey, we finally arrived at the Silesian University in the Czech Republic. During the semester, we have developed deep relationships with our teachers and students from various countries. On Erasmus Day, it was the first time for us to try some delicious food from different countries and share the Chinese delicious food with the students. With our teachers, we have visited the border of neighbouring Poland and have seen a very old building called “rotunda” which is also printed on the Polish banknote. In Třinec, we have had a true ice hockey experience. These trips and activities gave us the first impression of Europe. Our teachers are very kind and lively, talking with us about life and passing on knowledge, which is very different from the system we are used to in China and increased our enthusiasm for learning. In a gap in-between studies, we like to visit different countries of the European Union, to appreciate the world with our eyes, and to measure the world with our feet. The exchange life in the Czech Republic is really rich and interesting. I like to study here, each teacher and classmate, and the opportunity to experience a different culture. Thank you.”- Sizhuo Hao

I was deeply impressed by the calm and comfortable living environment in Karvina, the humorous and serious teachers, and the friendly and enthusiastic student buddies. Due to the excellent location of the Czech Republic, it is very easy to have a short trip to other European countries during our free time on weekends. During trips, I can feel the different cultures, customs and lifestyles of the West and the East, taste the unique European cuisine and enjoy the colourful European architecture. Standing on the Charles Bridge and watching the swans playing around in the Vltava River, I will never forget it.”- Jiang Jiayu

“My major in China is law. It was a special opportunity for me to come to the Czech Republic and come to Karvina. The Czech living environment, history and culture have deeply attracted me. I was most impressed by the Charles Bridge in Prague. I believe that the days here are the most memorable ones of my life.”- Zixiang Shi (Daniel)

“Karvina is a very beautiful town. Every Tuesday when I am off class, I always go to the lake to sit down and have a beer to enjoy this unique tranquility. Whenever I leave school, I don’t like to take the bus back to the dormitory. Because when you choose to take a bus or ride a car, you miss many beautiful things around you. On a walk, I have met a Vietnamese who opened a shop in Karvina. He had studied in China for four years and we talked a lot. The environment here allows me to concentrate on studying. In my spare time, in addition to studying, I like to go to the gym to play volleyball every Tuesday, which, in fact, helped me to integrate faster into the student community. The biggest difference between studying here and studying in China is that I have to cook myself every day. Fortunately, I like cooking; this is not a problem for me. The learning and living environment here made me decide to stay here for one more semester. So see you in the summer semester!” – Weicheng Xia (Anthony)

“Time flies. From the strangeness at the beginning to the gradual familiarity now, everything is slowly changing, including learning and life. The Czech teachers and students are very friendly to us, they have given us a lot of help in life and study, and here I would like to sincerely express my sincere thanks to them. Luckily we didn’t miss the Erasmus Day. We all helped to prepare the Chinese traditional food: dumplings, gongbao chicken, cold cucumber, tomato egg noodles, and others. I'm glad that our food was popular among the visitors. After serving the food, we also danced and played games together. I have very happy memories of that day. The faculty as well organized a trip for us to see an ice hockey arena. The hockey players were very friendly; they greeted us warmly and took photos with us. We also visited a steel museum which helped me to understand the whole process of steelmaking. Then we crossed the border between Poland and the Czech Republic. One of our teachers talked about the history of Poland and took us to a special scenic spot to take more beautiful pictures. This whole trip was of great significance to me. Once, I had to go to a hospital. My buddy Lucie, Veronika Novotná and Veronika Saganová, gave me a lot of help. Veronika Saganová took me to the hospital and accompanied me all the way. Facing the fear in my eyes, she encouraged me and gave me strength which I needed. Here I thank her very much. In addition to the daily study routine, daily exercise and daily kitchen experience make my life complete. We got to know the neighbouring countries on weekends, which not only helped us expand our horizons but also broadened our horizons. I felt warmth, learned a lot and became familiar with the Czech culture and life. I was very lucky to have a chance to experience all this. Last, but not least, I was also lucky to meet very kind and brilliant people, which have inspired me greatly. Thank you so much.” – Xuan Li

What makes me feel the best is the fresh air here, which is refreshing and pleasant from morning till night. The blue sky outside the dormitory window every morning makes me feel better. Of course, the most touching thing is the warm help of the Czech people. It is all about the small things they help us with, like buying a SIM card, supermarket shopping, or patiently explaining how to get somewhere when I am lost. Every teacher is very patient and passionate. By the way, the atmosphere in the school cafeteria is also pleasant and the steaks are delicious! The trip to Prague gave us a better understanding of the Czech culture and history: the ancient castles, the Vltava River, and the famous Gothic architecture, all presenting and interpreting the ancient and mysterious history of the Czech Republic. Standing on the Charles Bridge, watching the Vltava River and the swans swimming slowly, the sun in the sky, it was the most charming thing I have ever seen.”- Zekun Tong

“On Erasmus Day, we shared our traditional cuisine with other international students, which was fun for all of us. Besides attending classes, I have travelled to the Czech-Polish border, visited Ostrava Zoo, Prague, Berlin, Budapest, Vienna and other places. The library environment is very good. I also appreciate the Wi-Fi coverage throughout the campus. In the dormitory, we cook in a shared kitchen which is very lively sometimes. And the dumplings in a school cafeteria are very special - completely different from our Chinese dumplings!” - Hao Wang

“Long time ago, I heard the song "Love in Prague" by a Chinese female singer, so I was full of expectations and curiosity about Prague. Thanks to this exchange program, I was finally able to see all of its beauty in person. What I appreciate most about the Silesian University is the quiet environment which is perfect for studying. When we arrived in Karvina, the people were very friendly. I remember that once we needed to change the bus. Even though a local driver could not speak English, he would call his friends to help us, which made us feel very warm. That's right. It's too early for sunset these days. Haha, it's a long night every day.” - Jiaying Xing