I was told that it is impossible to get into the Company Management course at VSE, but I did it.
Sergey Timashevsky came to the Czech Republic from a Russian city of Cheboksary with a dream to study at the University of Economics in Prague, known in Czech as VSE. A lot of people said that I chose a course which is impossible for a foreigner to be get into. The faculty of Economics requires excellent knowledge of Czech economic vocabulary. Few people manage to learn Czech at this level in a year. But Sergey’s example proves that it is possible.
The editor of the GoStudy blog met with Sergey to congratulate him on his admission and talk about the Czech Republic, exams and plans for the future.
Why the Czech Republic?
How did I find myself in the Czech Republic? I remember the way it started. One of my classmates, an honours student, was going to study here. Our parents talked and started wondering whether I should go too. At that time, I could not have imagined that I would really study here. Of course, it was interesting for me, but seemed unreal. I didn’t quite believe that I would really come here.
Then my parents and I decided to fly over for a visit. That was two years ago. We went to GoStudy, other language schools, and a couple of universities. The main hall was the only place they let us in at VSE, at CZU we had a chance more or less to walk around the campus, to go into the building of the Faculty of Economics. We met Russian speaking students there, asked them about their studies, the way they got there, whether they could recommend a language school and share some advice. They recommended GoStudy, and the general impression was that GoStudy was the best.
About my dream to study at VSE
I made my choice in favour of Economics in the 10th grade, when I realised that biology, chemistry, physics and literature are not for me. Economics was a suitable option. VSE was my dream. Throughout the 11th grade, I dreamed that I will study Economics in either a Russian or a Czech university. I really wanted to study in the Czech Republic at that point.
About the Czech language
Basically, I like everything that I’m good at, that is why I like Czech.
Like everyone else, I probably had doubts in the beginning whether it is possible to learn a foreign language in a year at a level sufficient to study in at the university. But you go to classes every day, you spend 5-7 or even 9 hours a day learning the language. I came home after the language school and studied until I went to bed. I didn’t do anything else. Except that sometimes, when trips to European capitals were organised, I went with the guys at weekends.
How I managed to enrol
I applied wherever I could. There were about nine universities in total including VSE, CZU, and somewhere in Ceske Budejovice, just in case, as admission did not have exams there. I applied to almost every faculty at VSE.
In my opinion, the courses were properly organised. Additional courses in mathematics, English, and economic terminology started after the New year. We studied just Czech for about half a year, and once we had more or less learned how to use this language, we started to learn terminology and prepare for the main subjects.
Examination in the Czech language
You need to be really interested in Economics to pass the exam at VSE. Basically, Czech grammar was not a priority in the test. They checked the knowledge of vocabulary specifically.
I was worried about the Czech language most of all. I had to get 85 points out of 100 in Czech at the faculty that I chose. For the rest of VSE faculties, the entry limit is 60 points.
At the introductory class on Czech terminology at GoStudy, the teacher told us at once, “I guarantee you 60 points. If you study conscientiously, you will score, but very few people manage to score 85”.
I was desperate for it to work, and I did everything for it. I bought the Czech Forbes, wrote out tons of words every day, and underlined words I didn’t know with a coloured pencil. There were more yellow spots than white ones in the first issue I read. I increased my vocabulary every day, but I was not sure of success, public opinion made its impact, a lot of people said that it was not possible. But I passed after scoring 88 points.
Exam in maths
I agree that mathematics is much stronger in Russia. Our teacher even told us that Czechs are a little slower in math. They use calculators constantly to calculate the simplest numbers. I came to the exam, took out a pen, a pencil, glasses, and that’s all, I had nothing else. The Czechs came up with thick books full of some formulas and engineering calculators. I don’t know what I could use the calculator for there, I managed to cope without it.
Exam in English
I never checked my English level. Everyone boasts of having C2 or C1. I don’t know what my level is or whether the result of the Uniform state exam is an indicator, but I passed it just fine, scored above average. The exam in English at VSE includes questions from previous years, which is handy to know, you just need to go through as many old tests as possible.
About future studies
Our teacher in economic terminology has a husband who is about to complete a Master’s degree at VSE. He came to our classes and told us how they study there, gave us useful tips, and suggested a website, where VSE students share useful news and leave anonymous feedback about their teachers.
I like that a student chooses the subjects to study in the Czech Republic by himself. You can discard unnecessary ones at once, not fill your head with subjects like philosophy, and focus on what you came to the university for.
I have big plans, beyond the Czech Republic. I consider the Czech Republic to be a transit point so far. I’m seriously considering Spain. I was once on vacation in Barcelona and I really liked it there.
But it is difficult to say yet how everything will turn out. Higher education in Spain is not free, you need to pay a fee for both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. So my next step is to go on an exchange trip there, study for one term and see if I really want to go there. Being a tourist is always different from real life and so my perception of the country may change.
My ideal plan is to open my own company. I will have to work for someone to begin with in order to gain experience, build relations and find new acquaintances. And I would like to have a business of my own finally. I plan to start working during my Bachelor’s degree program and find internships in my specialisation. Then I will continue on to the Master’s program, either at VSE, or in another country.
About life in the Czech Republic
I always wanted to live in the capital. I lived in a small town where everyone knew each other, and I didn’t like it. There are more people and new friends here, and something new and interesting happens all the time. Moscow would be way too big for me.
I became more confident in myself during the year I spent in the Czech Republic. I was never the best pupil at school, I did not take it seriously and joked about a lot. I learned to study hard and follow my goal here in the Czech Republic.