Thursday, 14 November 2013

Interview with Emma Smit

- an international student of the European Governance joint degree programme

Where do you come from, Emma?
From the Netherlands, actually, from Utrecht. I did the Bachelor of Public Administration at the Utrecht University.

Why did you choose Brno and Masaryk University?
Well, especially because of the master programme, because I always had interest in Europe and the European Union and since it is in collaboration with Utrecht University – it’s a double degree – the first year here in Brno, and the second one in Utrecht, I looked at the programme and I thought “well, this is really where my interest lies”. So I started looking at the Masaryk University and Brno and realized that actually it has a lot in common with Utrecht, it’s a student city, the second biggest city in the Czech Republic, which is the same for Utrecht in the Netherlands, so it instantly got my attention and I thought I’d really like to go.

How would you describe your programme, what is it about?
It’s called European Governance and it actually focuses on Europe in a very broad context, it’s about the European law, establishing the European Union, it also concentrates on Europe nowadays, European relations to United Nations and other countries outside Europe, so it’s about concentrating on the European Union from a broad perspective. I follow four courses this semester and each one considers different aspects of the EU.

Is there anything you especially like?
I really like the course on the establishment of the European Union, it’s about all the treaties and the development of the EU, and also the law course, because we come in contact with the real cases within the European Union. Each week we discuss recent news and I would say we really implement knowledge into practice.

After these few months you spent here, would you recommend this programme to other potential students? Why?
Yes, definitely because of the international context, that’s for sure. Right now I had a lecture over Skype with someone in the Netherlands. We are in contact with people from all over Europe, and it’s unique, this is a unique programme to me. Since it is a joint degree, I can experience both Brno and Utrecht and their special collaboration.

How would you describe your life in Brno?
Well, I try to live a kind of a Czech life, I try to be in contact with Czech people, I even started eating warm lunch – I never did that in the Netherlands, we just ate sandwiches during lunch. I also went to the ice hockey game few times. It’s awesome! I just want to get a season ticket. And of course, the breweries here, it’s so nice to have a real Czech beer place… I also really try not to limit myself to hang only with the Erasmus students, but also with the Czechs. I regularly meet my tutor – I have a Czech student tutor who helps me with everything and gives me tips on what to do and where to go here in Brno.

Did you have any problems with Czechs not speaking English?
Well, with students it is not a problem, they all speak English, but sometimes it is hard at the supermarket, or when buying a ticket for something.  Sometimes it is quite hard, but I understand that they do not understand me, so it’s the same for them. But I realized that even though Czech people may seem a bit cold at the beginning, they are very friendly when you get closer to them, and that is the same for Dutch people, so I see some similarities and am quite used to it. I definitely wouldn’t change my decision to come to Brno.