Beginnings can be hard. This is especially true when you are beginning to study abroad. Issues like finding accommodation or a place to go for a meal, how to cope with formalities or who spend your free time with, are much easier to deal with thanks to the assistance of the International Student Club.
The tutor programme - or the so-called buddy system - is one of the major purposes of its existence. It consists in coupling domestic students with the foreign ones, with the aim of facilitating the newcomers their first days and weeks in the city and at the university.
“Leaving aside the language barrier, there are still many aspects remaining that consume energy and time of the student and can make their study beginnings unpleasant. A new student isn't familiar with the environment, the public transport system, doesn't know where to go shopping etc. By coupling every international student arriving in Brno with a Czech one, we eliminate these uncomfortable moments already upon their getting out of the bus or train. In addition, each participant of the exchange programme immediately gets a new friend who is local and knows it here very well,” describes the tutoring coordinator Vojtěch Pták the principle of the system.
Tutoring is not merely about handling formalities, though: The International Student Club also covers a number of free time activities where both Czech and international students can learn more about one another and mutually enrich one another culturally. “There are plenty activities. Every day we have at least one that students can take part in. They include board games, pub quizzes, country presentations made by the students themselves, or special events such as a party on a boat or in a tram, weekend trips, sport tournaments, get-togethers in a tearoom, and many others,” specifies Veronika Horáková, the ISC vice president.
Each year the Club works with approximately 250 buddies recruited from local students who do the tutoring in their free time. “Our tutors enjoy working with foreign students and do that with great enthusiasm. For them, there is no better reward than the expression of gratitude in the faces of students they have helped,” Pták reckons.
The tutoring service is taken advantage of by the vast majority of international students; up to approximately 700 of them get involved each year.