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Cambodian student: I never thought I’d stay in Brno

An interesting study programme, a university town in the heart of Europe, and above all lots of IT companies all in one place. These are the things that drew Cambodian student Kanitha Chim to do her master’s degree in Brno at MU’s Faculty of Informatics.

Kanitha is currently working at the Brno office of Red Hat as a software engineer programming products.

She enrolled in the Software Systems and Services Management programme the semester before the pandemic broke out in Europe, so she spent most of her time at MU online. “Unfortunately, three out of four semesters were online, but all our courses were interesting, and we had lots of schoolwork, so those Covid months flew right by,” she says.

She gained at least one thing out of the long lockdown: she had the time to immerse herself more deeply in cryptography, her favourite and at the same time most challenging subject. It led her to choose the topic of her thesis, which is focussed on using blockchain technology in the public sector.

Blockchain technology is most often used for encrypting cryptocurrency, but it can also be used, for example, in electronic voting or digital identity verification. Kanitha concentrated on the potential uses, challenges, and limits of this technology in the first part of her thesis. In the practical section, she developed an application that can recognize changes in data and financial transactions and thus prevent corruption.

“For my thesis I had to study many things on my own and take extra courses, but I enjoyed the whole process from the start to the finish and I learned a lot. Cryptocurrencies and investing have become my new hobby. I am still interested in this subject, and maybe I would like to work in this field,” she adds.

Brno: Europe’s Silicon Valley

She is currently working at the Brno office of Red Hat as a software engineer programming products. “I started there in April on an internship arranged through the faculty, but then they offered me a full-time position that I couldn’t turn down. We work on interesting projects, and there are people from all over the world on my team. I just love my new job.”

Several of her foreign classmates also stayed in Brno, finding work at both local and international IT companies. She is not surprised that so many have remained. She says Brno is Europe’s Silicon Valley and that it is rare to find in one place in Europe so many IT giants – IBM, Honeywell, Avast, Red Hat, NetSuite, Kiwi, Infosys, and SAP.

According to her, Brno has a lot to offer foreigners. It’s full of young people and is the perfect size. And there is always something interesting going on. But her favourite thing about Brno is the reservoir just outside the city and the fact that Brno is so close to other major destinations: Vienna, Paris, Budapest, and Brussels.

“I’m so glad I chose Masaryk University. It has great facilities, modern buildings, libraries, and a big computer lab that’s open 24/7, where my classmates and I would go to study at night. It’s a shame that I didn’t get to fully experience the faculty because of the pandemic, but it always delights me to walk by that wonderful black building. Studying in Brno gave me a lot, and thanks to the Faculty of Informatics, I am where I am today,” says Kanitha.