“I plan to apply for Excellence scholarship and go abroad with the Erasmus exchange program.”

Alyona Drozdova came to Prague straight after she graduated from school. Being sociable, energetic and hardworking, Alena studied Czech at the GoStudy centre for a year and is now completing her first year at the best University of Economics and Business in the country.

Alyona talked to the GoStudy blog writer about one of her favourite subjects – Banking and Insurance and her ambitious plans for the future.

We need to take risks while we are still young”

When I made the decision to study abroad, I did not know what to expect, as I had never been to Europe before I came here. We need to take risks and learn new things while we are still young and can do anything we want!

I didn’t regret coming here at all. In my opinion, the Czech Republic has a perfect combination of a high standard of living, reasonable prices, picturesque landscapes and a Slavic mentality, similar to ours. Besides, Prague itself impressed me at first sight, this is exactly the city you always want to come back to. Moving here, I have gained a lot and lost nothing. The only disadvantage is that you can only see your parents twice a year, in winter and summer.

I come from a small Siberian city of Ulan-Ude. My parents are doctors. To begin with, I was going to follow in their footsteps, but later on I realised that it was not my job. Doctors don’t earn much and I want to ensure a better future for myself and my parents. So I thought about studying Economics. Despite the fact that there are quite a lot of Economists, a good specialist is always in demand. I am interested in Economics from a practical point of view.

“If you are sociable, you will have no problems with integration”

The process of adaptation to the Czech environment was easy for me. In case you are sociable and speak at least a little Czech, you will have no problems with integration. I have quite a lot of Czech friends, we have some common interests. Of course, I also keep in touch with the Russian speakers. I have the best of both worlds here.

The first year in Prague

My first year of language courses was very interesting and eventful. I am very glad that I studied at GoStudy rather than anywhere else, everything suited me here, and the cost/quality ratio was excellent. I chose a one-year course and do not regret it – you have time to get used to a new rhythm of life and learn the language better during the whole year, although some people got admitted after six months of training.

Our tutors at GoStudy helped us with everything, I think this is a big plus, since we don’t have much of an age difference, and they can relate to us and our needs. They helped with all of the paperwork and made the process nostrification really easy, it is very important to get it right from the start.

GoStudy organised campsites, trips to different countries, visits to the cinema. Such outings help with the team building and making new friends. I made a lot of good friends thanks to various course outings.

The Teachers’ ball, to which pan Slavek, our teacher, invited us, was very memorable. It was an interesting experience: gentlemen in suits, ladies in dresses, live music, very unusual and wonderful. We still keep in touch with our GoStudy teachers. In winter we got the whole group together to chat about how everyone settled.

At a lecture by Lubomir Zaoralek, Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs, at VSE

About admission and education at VSE

I chose the University of Economics and Business, the best place to study Economics in the Czech Republic. I had to work hard to pass the entrance exams. The first obstacle was nostrification, I had to pass English, geography and biology. I told myself that I didn’t want to retake the exam, so I did my best and was happy with the results.

And then I had the entrance exams. In order to understand the differences between Russian and Czech terminology, I chose the Economics course at GoStudy. I spent a long time preparing for maths and attended classes in English. I found the Czech language exam to be the most difficult, but my knowledge was enough to be admitted to the University to one of the most complex courses in Banking and Insurance.

I have enjoyed studying at VSE from the start. VSE has a very convenient educational pattern: nothing is imposed here, you can make your own curriculum, and the teachers are very supportive. They are able to make even the most seemingly boring subjects interesting. I like “Insurance” and “Economics” most of all.

An interesting bonus for me was additional lectures with voluntary participation, held almost daily at VSE. Topics range from fighting against procrastination to discussing serious issues in economics. One of the most impressive lectures there was a speech by Lubomir Zaoralek, Czech foreign Minister, who gave us a talk on foreign policy. He gave an assessment of the Czech Republic’s policy for 2014, and spoke about Russia. Zaoralek is a truly intelligent and educated person, who communicates with the Ministers of Russia, the West, and the USA, and it was an honour for the VSE students to attend his lecture. It’s great that VSE gives us the opportunity to attend such events for free.

The exams at VSE are not easy. I prepared for my first examination period for a very long time and had my exams spread out very a whole month. It took a week to prepare for each exam. Overall, I am happy with the results, but I always strive to do better. For example, I plan to apply for Excellence scholarship and go abroad with the Erasmus exchange program. I think that international education will open all the doors for me!

“I plan to stay in the Czech Republic for now”

At the moment, I have no idea what I will do after graduation. Everything in the world is changing all the time and I do not know what my priorities will be in a few years. But for now I plan to stay in the Czech Republic. Perhaps if I open my own business, I will focus on the relations between Russia and the Czech Republic.

Interview by Daria Gnilobokova
Alina Baeva 16 December 2020

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