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Students' life

Why should an applicant study at preparatory Czech language courses?

“After school graduation, the child should go straight to college and get a higher education without unnecessary delay. It’s better to get two degrees at the same time“. This attitude is typical for many parents of schoolchildren.  

This is why the pause of a year before the first year of study raises a lot of questions from parents of university entrants. Even if this year is devoted to learning a foreign language, necessary for studying in the European university. Alexandra Baranova, the author of the GoStudy blog, answers the key question: “Why should an applicant study at preparatory courses of the Czech language?” 

Let’s analyze the situation and present arguments using the example of the girl Tara. Let’s say Tara is about 18 yearls old, lives in Delhi, and wants to become a doctor. Her goal is to get into the First medical faculty at Charles University. 

It is important to remember: “I can also learn Czech at home and then come and enroll” – an attitude that jeopardizes the whole plan to study abroad.

Argument No. 1

In a quality course you will learn Czech for at least 20 hours per week, not counting the self-study. You can’t do the same amount of work at home without losing a year. Our Tara still spends all day at school, is actively preparing for final exams and on top of that she takes athletics classes. She only has time for Czech on Sunday, which is Tara’s only day off. 

Argument No. 2

How do you learn a language? Tara learns better in person, the period of studying online during the coronavirus pandemic was torture for her. She needed a teacher. But Czech is not as popular as French or English, so she couldn’t find a native Czech speaker in Delhi. The only remaining option was studying via Skype or Zoom with a teacher from Prague on Sunday. 

Argument No. 3

Tara spends 98% of her time in Hindi-speaking environment, and her brain does not want to switch to the Czech mode. In her Sunday lessons Tara has already mastered some of the rules, but simple conversation is still difficult for her.

Argument No. 4

Knowing Czech on its own is of little help when applying if you do not know the terminology and do not know the subject vocabulary. At the preparatory course Katya, who is going to be a doctor, will additionally learn biology, physics and chemistry in Czech.

Argument No. 5

Most of the entrance exams to Czech universities are in a test format. You need to get used to each type of tests: practice and get your hand in order to minimize stress and reduce the number of mistakes on the X-day. At the preparatory course Tara will have to solve typical tasks she will encounter at the exams. You can’t find the right number of tasks on the Internet. 

Argument No. 6

While in the Czech Republic, Tara will be able to get to open days and cultural events at different universities. They are all held between January and March. On the websites you can find all the information you need about the process of studying, but it is impossible to feel the atmosphere of the university – you need to be present in person.

Argument No. 7

Investing in an annual Czech language preparatory course means saving money on higher education fees in the long run. If Tara enrolls in Czech studies, she will study for free. The annual cost of the program “General Medicine” at the Charles University at the 1st Faculty of Medicine is 330 thousand Czech crowns, i.e. about 13 thousand euros. Note: you cannot apply for the English program and learn Czech at the same year and then transfer to a state-financed program, because the programs are not identical. 

Argument No. 8

It is impossible to enter a Czech university without nostrification of your secondary school certificate. If Tara decides to go to a private university, they can make a concession – they will allow her to start her studies, and she can present the results of nostrification later. In the public university no one waits for anyone: not in time to meet the deadline – okay, then come the next year. The preparatory courses help with the submission of documents for nostrification and do everything to ensure that the process goes without a hitch.

Argument No. 9

The difference between the educational systems in Delhi and the Czech Republic accounts for the difference in the average age of applicants. The Czechs enter university at the age of 19-23. This is already a conscious time: a person has clear interests and preferences, he or she knows where and why he or she is going to study and where he or she wants to work. Many by the time they enter college already have experience working and living independently abroad, sometimes even have families and children. 

In India, a teenager of 17-18 years comes to the first course of high school. Most often at this time he is still living fully or partially supported by his parents and has a vague idea of what he “wants to be when he grows up”. Studying abroad in this situation looks like a beautiful adventure – a picture from Instagram.

A year of preparatory courses will give such a person the opportunity to grow. Cleaning, cooking, grocery shopping, paying bills, handling paperwork, dealing with household problems, adding the stress of studying in an unfamiliar environment – this volume of tasks will force them to grow up and adapt. If this does not happen, the time spent on preparatory courses will show that. 

What is your opinion on this matter? What do you need preparatory Czech language courses for?

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Alina Baeva 20 October 2021