She originally applied to study international relations in Germany, but then she found out that MU’s Faculty of Social Studies offers the English-language programme Conflict and Democracy Studies.
“When I first heard about this very specific combination of two political science subjects in one very narrowly focused study programme, I knew right away that it was exactly what I wanted to study. Democracy and conflicts are the international relations topics that interest me the most. And I would go anywhere for a programme like that, even to the arctic tundra,” says Evangeline, laughing.
Looking back, she doesn’t regret her choice. During her time at MU, she took a diverse mix of interesting courses taught by great teachers. What she enjoyed the most though was that all these classes focused on the topics that were closest to her heart. If she had enrolled in a more general programme, however, she would have only taken a few such classes.
Thanks to the narrow focus of her programme, she was able to experience simulated conflict resolution scenarios, exploring, for example, conflicts in Guatemala, Israel, Rwanda, and Northern Ireland, in which students played different roles, such as army representatives, politicians, and ordinary citizens. The goal of such exercises was not to resolve these conflicts but mainly to study their backgrounds in detail and then discuss why these conflicts are so difficult to resolve and what could help.
As part of her studies at Masaryk University she also completed a three-month internship in Greece through the Erasmus+ programme, where she worked at an organization focused on European public law. There, she learned more about law, including human rights law, a topic closely related to her studies.
“Experience abroad is one of the most valuable things university students can get. I truly appreciate the fact that I was able to spend more than two years abroad during my undergrad studies. I did internships in Serbia and Germany, and spent a semester in Budapest and Latvia. One summer I also spent four months in Siberia teaching children English and myself Russian,” says the 25-year-old student, describing all the places she has lived with a smile on her face.
Between her bachelor’s and master’s studies she also took a year off to work for a German political organization in Tbilisi. She then moved to Brno, finally settling down in one place for a few years. She has even found a boyfriend, a Czech student from her faculty.
“I’m glad that I have finally stopped and now have longer-term friends. I came to Brno to study, but I think I really hit the jackpot when it came to choosing this city. I immediately fell in love with Brno: it’s beautiful everywhere here, it’s clean, and I enjoy getting around by public transport, which is very reliable, or going to the reservoir outside of the city, where we often have picnics or go swimming,” she says.
She says that the courses of conversational English she teaches online have helped her meet a lot of local people, which has contributed to her love for Brno and the Czech Republic. Every week she meets with six to ten groups of four people, so she already knows quite a large number of Czechs, who often recommend interesting places to visit, good restaurants, and events and festivals.
“Simply put, I feel at home here. This country hasn’t ceased to entertain or surprise me; for example, even though the Czech Republic is known internationally for its beer, there is a major wine-making area just outside of Brno. I like this country a lot, and that’s why I decided to stay here after graduating. And I can even imagine living long-term in the Czech Republic,” says Evangeline, who graduated at the end of January.