Hilaire Guinamard chose to come to the Czech Republic as part of the Erasmus programme. He hardly knew anything about Brno, but now, after having spent a year here, he thinks it is a wonderful city. He has recorded his fondest memories in a comic book, which already contains more than 250 stories.
“Since I was little, I have been really into art, just like my siblings. I enjoy playing guitar and writing poems, but I also love painting with watercolours and drawing comics, which are something totally different. That’s a more difficult genre, and it takes more time because I need to draw, write, and at the same time tell a story. But still, I really like making comics. And they also help me remember fond memories,” says Hilaire.
When he came to Brno to take part in the Erasmus programme, he brought four sketchbooks with him. In two, he does pencil drawings and watercolours of various subjects, most often portraits, landscapes, and buildings from Prague, Karlovy Vary, and other Czech cities he has visited along with his fellow international students. Hilaire used the other two books for comics. Unfortunately, one evening a thief managed to steal one, along with a bag and his wallet, when he wasn’t paying attention for a minute.
Although he loves drawing and making music, he says he doesn’t want them to become his job. He says it’s best for hobbies to stay hobbies and not become your source of income. That’s why he decided not to attend art school. Instead, he picked political sciences and social sciences, which he had also always been interested in. He studies both subjects at the University of Rennes, which, like MU, is part of the EDUC Alliance. Rennes is also one of Brno’s sister cities.
My year in Brno has been the best in my life
Hilaire is currently in his second semester at Masaryk University. He has enrolled in 10 courses all together, mostly at the Faculty of Social Studies, but also at the Faculty of Arts, where he has studied linguistics, English phonetics, anthropology, and Buddhism and Western culture.
“In France we cannot take classes at other faculties or in different study fields, so I took advantage of the fact that I could choose from so many interesting courses from across the University. Thanks to this opportunity, I realized that perhaps I would like to study anthropology and human cultures. Thanks to Erasmus, I also gained a little bit clearer idea about my future career. I would really like to work in local politics or in social services. I would like for my job to be connected with organizing cultural events, too,” adds the French student.
Masaryk University impressed this student from Rennes and showed him a different approach to how students are taught. “I will never cease to be fascinated with the relationships between teachers and students here – how teachers will go with students for a coffee or to the pub. You’d never see such informal meetings at home in France. I also like how sociology and anthropology students regularly meet up in large groups in the pubs at night. That’s a great way to make new contacts and talk about the field,” says Hilaire, laughing.
He was also pleasantly surprised with the Czech Republic itself, with how cold it gets here or with how many people speak English, which isn’t common at all in France. He was even more surprised to find beer to be so inexpensive here and so many bars, pubs, and cafes everywhere in Brno. In France, he says, bars are usually just concentrated on two streets in the centre.
“It’s hard for me to imagine that my Erasmus placement at MU will end and I’ll no longer be living in Brno. It has been the best year of my life – mainly thanks to all the wonderful people I’ve met here. And thanks to the Erasmus Student Network, which regularly organized all kinds of events for us, including guitar jams and other social activities. I’m not in Brno for the last time. I will come back regularly, that’s for sure,” he says.