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Teachers let us do practical tasks, praises Serbian student

Serbian student Tijana Joksić visited Brno for the first time when she came to see her boyfriend who had moved to work for a local IT company. She was so impressed by the student city, its architecture, and the modern facilities of Masaryk University that she immediately started looking if the university offers her field of study.

Serbian student Tijana Joksić is studying Molecular and Cell Biology at Masaryk University.

Half a year later, she moved to Brno – as a student of the master’s programme in Molecular and Cell Biology at the Faculty of Science of Masaryk University. Today she is in her third semester and plans to graduate in June. Then she would like to continue in a doctoral programme, as she is passionate about her studies at Masaryk.

“My studies are perfect. We have excellent teachers and a small class size, which makes it much more pleasant for learning. There are about five of us in the class, and besides that, we also have international students on Erasmus who attend the classes. We are also often in contact with students from the year below us; there are about eleven of them, too. So, we all know each other and spend time together after school. We are just a small community of biologists,” she says, laughing.

What she likes most about her lessons is how practical they are. In addition to the theoretical lectures, the students have a lot of practice in the labs, where they do interesting experiments and learn new techniques. Tijana appreciates that the teachers give them the opportunity to work on practical tasks, which she was not used to at all from her university in Belgrade. There, they had more theory than practice, and they didn’t get to go into the labs as much. And when they did, they had to pay extra for some of the materials and lab equipment they used.

From thesis to lab work

She also really likes the campus environment, where she spends most of each day not only at lectures, but also in the library and on the outdoor grassy areas between the campus buildings. She also spends a lot of time in the Anaerobic Microorganisms Lab, where she has been working for over a year now, helping scientists with various projects.

“I am very grateful for the great job opportunity I received from the head of the laboratory, Monika Vítězová. Initially, I was only supposed to conduct an experiment in the lab for my thesis, in which I investigated the limits of a newly created plastic that was developed at one of the universities in Brno. It is an organic plastic supplemented with silver, zinc, and titanium. And my task was to investigate what limits the plastic has in aerobic and anaerobic conditions. It was an interesting six months. I learned many new things,” says the student.

When the head of the lab offered her a job in the lab, where she would help with research projects, she said she couldn’t refuse, as such positions are not usually available. Besides, she is always learning new things from her colleagues in the lab, from sample analysis to culturing anaerobic microorganisms.

“I knew that studying at Masaryk University would be great, but everything exceeded my expectations. Not only the facilities in the classrooms and laboratories and the amazing teachers, but also the Czech Republic itself. There are hundreds of beautiful castles here, and I plan to visit them all. The Czechs are incredibly relaxed people too. And the best part is Brno itself and the local architecture. I never get tired of it. Plus, my favourite time of the year is coming up – Christmas in Brno. I love the way you celebrate it here. Lots of lights everywhere, Christmas carols, and great food and drink, and an amazing atmosphere. Just beautiful,” says the molecular and cell biology student.

Tijana spends most of her day on campus.