Five years ago, when the MU Faculty of Economics and Administration was starting up its international follow-up Master's and Doctoral degree programmes, one of the principal motives was to enrich the tuition itself with experiences from other countries.
According to Petr Smutný, the faculty vice-dean for international relations, this goal has definitely been achieved. In fact, Petr himself teaches some of those English-language programmes, and considers it an extremely interesting experience. “For one thing because I get to meet the international students' community, and for the other because it's a group of people with various motivations. It is so inspiring to get an insight into why they have arrived here and what their reasons are for choosing a particular subject,” Petr Smutný says.
He adds that people coming to the faculty are from very diverse backgrounds, cultures, and with different life experiences - which is reflected in the way they perceive seminars and discussions or what kind of feedback they give to teachers. “I even apply the experience gained from these classes in my lessons with Czech students,” Petr Smutný says.
As he stresses, the contents, standards and requirements are identical for all students. “As teachers, me and my colleagues are of course aware that these students, often coming from very distant countries such as Kazakhstan, Philippines, Mexico or Ghana are going through a huge change in life. As a matter of course, we are always ready to help them. After all, the reason why we decided to teach at a university is because we wish to assist students in becoming experts in their selected field.”
However, Petr emphasises that this help is not possible without the active approach of the students themselves. “We cannot look inside the students's heads - so if they for example don't understand the topic we are going through, they simply need to come and tell the teacher. The sooner the better - and often the problem can be solved with minimum effort,” Smutný adds.
As vice-dean responsible for the running of international studies, Petr Smutný of course meets with other than educational challenges as well. A lot of them are related to money, since the English-language programmes are paid. “A high percentage of our students are fee payers and as such they can obviously get into financial troubles. It often happens due to exchange rate movements that can increase the cost of the studies. If the students come in time, though, we are always open to an individual approach.”