People generally say “thanks” to express gratitude, acknowledgement or appreciation to others. Even though cultures and languages differ around the world, people have similar practice of saying “thanks”. This is one of the lovely practices of human beings in communication. In my language, “Kye-Zuu-Tin-Par-Tae” means “thanks”. “Kye-Zuu” means “Benefit”. Whenever we get any benefits or advantages from someone or some people, we acknowledge him/her/them and say “Kye-Zuu-Tin-Par-Tae”. In Czech language, děkuji is familiar for most of the foreign students to say thanks. Some of them can use it fluently in communication with Czech people. If we can say the word, “thanks” in native language used with a particular country, it is emotionally beneficial and satisfactory for people of that country.
First of all, I would like to say, děkuji. The opportunity to study at Masaryk University in the Czech Republic was a great honour. During my studies at Masaryk University and stay in Brno, I faced professional and social concerns. For the professional ones, I was learning English language and teaching methodology at the same time. I faced a lot of challenges in the professional field, because my education background and language level were very different and low. For example, in exams, pass mark is 40% in my country from primary schools to universities, but here at universities the pass mark is a 65-70% depending on the individual courses. Studies, supplementary materials and learning methods are different from my country. Assessment methods (e.g. written and oral exams styles) are not familiar to me. Theoretical and practical aspects are trained at the same time. I have never taken more courses within one semester before.
Although I had little experience in my part-time diploma studies at ACU (Australian Catholic University) online program, the mechanisms are not similar. For example, in online programme, we generally had to focus on only one course or subject for around 1 or 2 months depending on the courses. In my home university, I took 4 courses in one semester for Master Level. At Masaryk University, I had to take 12 courses in the first semester, 9 courses in the second semester and 8 courses in the third semester for compulsory courses (plus one selective) from two departments. I really tried hard to pass the exams, to finish the assignments and to arrange the presentations on time. On the other hand, I had to go to schools for teaching practices. I obtained a lot of knowledge as well as I had the practical experience. I know that I was improving professionally. Teaching practices were wonderful experience, as well as the most difficult part for me. It would not be possible to face and pass these challenges solely on my own without help from professors, lecturers, supervisors and my classmates from the departments. To them, I would like to say, děkuji.
As a foreigner, there were several difficulties in a new place for long time staying. I have been facing many social concerns, especially in language boundary. Whenever I had problem, I asked Czech friends. For example, once I had to go to the immigration office to show my birth certificate for visa extension. I did not bring it and I could not contact my parents on time. I had to explain this situation in Czech language. One of my classmates helped with translation to Czech, in order to explain the situation. When I had to send an official package to an embassy in my country on time, my Czech friend went to the post office with me and arranged for this. I could not speak even basic Czech and I had no clue to communicate in the post office. I needed some services for phone and computer problems, and sometime health problems and so on. In these serious cases, I requested to help my student tutor or classmates and other Czech friends.
In addition, among the strangers, I sometimes felt lonely that might be caused by homesickness or community differences. Because of this, I sometimes wanted friendly, warm and kind environment. This was provided perfectly by my Czech friend, Baclev, who invited me and some Asian friends to his home. His family served us with traditional food such as chicken with potatoes, dumplings, cabbage, cakes, different kind of juices and homemade wines. We (6 people together) stayed one night and we also made barbecue party in his house. His parents were also interesting and asked about our countries and cultures. My friend interpreted for his family and us. We were really happy and felt warm family life as well as community life. It would be impossible to face this homesickness if the Czech people did not help and socialize with me. Therefore, I would like to say, děkuji for above all gratitude.
In conclusion, I struggled for many challenges in the professional and social areas in Czech Republic. With the help of the people in my surrounding, these difficulties were overcome. One or two pages are not long enough to express the full extent of my gratitude. I heartily would like to say, děkuji.
Ywet Wai Aung, student of Faculty of Education