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Azerbaijanian alumnus: Brno is small city full of big experiences

From Azerbaijan via the classrooms of Masaryk University to Amazon’s Prague offices: this has been the journey of Samir Salimov, a foreign graduate of the English Finance programme at the Faculty of Economics and Administration.

MU alumni Samir Salimov currently works at Amazon in Prague.

Careful consideration and hours spent looking at university comparative rankings. Samir considered many options for where to study before finally deciding on Masaryk University. “The ratings were great. As were the financial costs and standard of living. I was also not disappointed by the fields and subjects on offer. In the end the choice was clear,” says the graduate, for whom the journey to obtain a master's degree was also his first trip to Europe.

From a city of ten million to the Moravian metropolis

However, studying far from home was not the only change awaiting Samir. From Baku, Azerbaijan’s capital, with over ten million people, he moved to Brno, which in this comparison would almost fit in your pocket. And that's what he fell in love with. “Everything you need is in easy reach. You don't need to spend hours in public transport as you can get everywhere within a few minutes. You aren’t constantly surrounded by crowds. You don't have to plan in advance where to eat and how to get there. At every corner you will come across a restaurant or a cafe, complete with several students,” explains Samir.

It was the number of students, especially those from different corners of the world, that surprised Samir most. “I would never have imagined how many nationalities and different cultures I would encounter in a small city in Moravia.”

In addition to learning about foreign cultures, Samir also gained an insight into Czech society as well. “I must admit that the older generation here is colder than people in Azerbaijan. There you will meet warmth and people are also more direct. Czechs, on the other hand, are quite reserved and it takes time to get to know them,” says Samir, and adds that young Czechs however are able to mix successfully and are open to the unknown.

Thanks to the faculty coordinators, Samir's path to study was almost without obstacle. The buddy programme, which connects incoming foreign students with current ones who already know how things work, was also helpful. They help newcomers with their arrival in Brno, and accommodation, show them around the city and answer their questions. “My ‘buddy’ even helped me with my suitcases”, remembers Samir with a smile. He later became such a partner himself and helped more than thirty international students during his stay.

Despite Samir's studies also being affected by covid, above all he remembers the good moments. For example, he was the face of a promotional video, accompanying viewers through the corridors and nooks and crannies of his former faculty. “I practically became famous,” says Samir with a laugh. “I think it's great that international students can be part of promotional videos. It was definitely one of the most powerful experiences for me,” he adds.

According to him, the most impressive part was his involvement in the Erasmus Student Network (ESN MUNI Brno), where he helped newly arrived students and organised student events. These memories were the most precious ones that he took away with him from Brno.

From student benches to office chair

However memories of filming or student events are not all that Samir took with him into his career. His diploma from the Faculty of Economics and Administration enabled him not only to stay in the Czech Republic but even to land a job with Amazon, where he now works as a transport expert and programme manager. “Although my current position is not directly related to finance, in which I have a degree, my studies prepared me perfectly and gave me much of the useful knowledge and skills that I use at work today,” says Samir.

Currently, Samir lives in Prague but has fond memories of Brno. “I gained unforgettable experiences that only a student city like Brno can offer, but also experiences that got my career going. During all the years of my studies I never met anyone who was sorry for deciding to study at Masaryk University. I will never regret it,” concludes Samir.

Samir's graduation at Masaryk University.
Samir currently works at Amazon as a transport expert and programme manager.