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How do the international students spend the summer holidays in Brno?

Some want to improve their Czech, others have found work in the South Moravian capital and got to know the city.

Shuangping Xu, a new graduate from the Faculty of Social Studies who comes from China, has an ambitious plan. She has resolved to improve her knowledge of the Czech language. Photograph: Archive of the student Shuangping Xu.

One ambitious plan for the summer is that of Shunangping Xu, recently graduated from the sociology programme, who comes from China. Her resolution is to master her knowledge of the Czech language.

The city of Brno is justly famous for the splendid social life it offers to international students, but this is only true for the period between September and June. Corridors at the Vinařská dormitory calm down considerably at the end of a semester, and this means only one thing: the ranks of students in Brno have thinned out. Some of them have left for a while or for ever, but others spend the summer right here.

Summer fight with the Czech language
Shuangping Xu, a new graduate from the Faculty of Social Studies who comes from China, has an ambitious plan. She has resolved to improve her knowledge of the Czech language. Although her sociology studies brought her to Brno already two years ago, she considers her ignorance of the local language as a handicap that she wants to work on a bit. “I’ve signed up for the Czech language course that I will attend twice a week during the whole summer,” she tells us.

A less trying solution awaits twenty-five years old Ritu Edelhauser. She too decided to work more on her knowledge of the Czech language, but as Czech with Russian is the degree programme she studied during the past semester at Masaryk University it shouldn’t be so difficult in her case. “ I ‘m about to leave for London for ten days, then I will spend a few weeks back home in Germany and finally I will work on my Czech language. I need it as I am planning to settle here,” is how Rita describes her plans.

Working and roaming through Brno
Simo Tynkkyne, a twenty-eight year old Finn, has exchanged his student life for a full-time job. He started to work for a Finnish company providing technical assistance at the beginning of May. For a month and a half he had to cope with both studies and work. The transition was not really easy according to Simo: “Once I had been partying till the morning and got up for work a few hours later , so it was really an uphill struggle” Simo smiles and describes his original way of battling with a “social indisposition”: a pancakes, kofola (Czech special soft drink) and a shot of local rum. ”It works better than pills against a hangover,” he says, shrugging his shoulders.

Although his new job takes up most of his time, in the evenings or during the weekends he still finds time to walk through Brno and do some sightseeing. For example, the villa Tugenghat was the first place he visited, shortly after its re-opening after restoration. “It was a bit smaller than I expected, but the interior is really fabulous,” the Finnish student says. He also admires the building of the main railway station. “It should be better kept and needs a little reconstruction, however the building itself is very nice” he judges.

However, the Finnish student was surprised by the fact that all of his local class-mates and friends left Brno for the summer holidays. “At home in Tampere it’s only students who stay in the city and work during the summer holiday,” says Simo, comparing Brno’s atmosphere with that of his home city.

Bojan from Croatia: I will travel right round the Balkans
Bojan Amanović from Croatia has planned a trip far beyond the borders of city of Brno and even the Czech Republic. “I plan to travel around Ukraine and most of the Balkan peninsula with my friend,” says the twenty-four year old student, describing his adventurous plans and then sums it up: “We will visit ten different countries and hitch-hike around 7000 kilometres.”

His main motivation for the upcoming trip is an encounter with a new culture and people. “Basically I will continue the experience that was launched here in Brno while I was at Masaryk University through the Erasmus programme,” Bojan explains and adds he studied the Slovenian language and literature at Masaryk University.