The Summer school of Slavonic Studies in Brno

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uuspoiss
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The Summer school of Slavonic Studies in Brno

Postby uuspoiss » 08-Nov-05 15:57

Hey all,

I've long been promising myself that I give a short overview of the summer school in Brno that I attended this year. I've been receiving some private messages with questions as well. So I'll reply to those in this post publicly again, hoping that it might be useful for someone who is interested in that opportunity.

The Summer school of Slavonic Studies (Letní škola slovanských studií) is organised every summer by the Faculty of Arts at the Masaryk University in Brno.

I am an Estonian citizen, so I applied for a scholarship for the summer school through the Estonian ministry of education and research. Apparently every year a certain number of scholarships is reserved for Estonian applicants and I'm pretty sure that it's the same for other countries. The application then went to the Masaryk university through the Czech ministry of education and after waiting quite a few months I got a letter directly from Brno telling me I was accepted.

The summer school lasts four weeks, started in July and ended in August this year. There were roughly 160 or so people, divided into 7 different levels and further into groups inside each of the levels. My group, for example, had only 10 people, which I think was a pretty good number. There is an entrance test on the first day, the results of which are used to make up the groups. The test can be taken with explanations in English or German as well. Complete beginners simply write their name on the test and leave.

To my great surprise and despite the 244(!) mistakes I had in my entrance test, they put me into the "mírně pokročili" group, which meant that no English or German was used in the classes, everything was in Czech from the very beginning. I had severe headaches for the first week, but then it started getting better and after two weeks I was already pretty happy with the arrangement, since I could really actually see some progress.

The classes lasted from 9 AM to around 2 PM, followed by lunch in the university canteen (not always the tastiest of choices, but generally it wasn't too bad). Breakfast was also served at the same place, might have been 8-9PM or so, but I'm not sure, since I hardly ever made it there. Considering the pauses it was then 4 hours of classes every day (5 academic hours). In the afternoons, lectures and seminars on various topics were also offered. Those were meant for more advanced students, but if there were more people interested from the lower groups, they could also organise translation to English or German. There was also a film program running through the whole month, probably two films per week or so.

The students were all accommodated in the "Družba" hostel of the Masaryk University. Two people in a room, the point seemed to be that no two people from the same nation should live together:) Since close to half of the people were from Germany, it generally meant that everyone had a German roommate, except of course the Germans:) The hostel was nice and cosy, tram connections to the centre every 10 minutes or so. Bathroom shared for 2 rooms / 4 people. And right beside the hostel, as I had actually already found out last year when I was visiting Brno, is the Alterna pub, which always appears to be an impossible obstacle on the way of getting home to sleep anytime before 4 AM:)

Every week there was also a trip to a beautiful place or another around Moravia (and once also to Prague), but unfortunately I never made it to any of those either, since they all started inhumanly early. So I had to make up my own daytrips, which was lots of fun as well. The trips were usually organised on Fridays, so there was another day of classes on Saturday and then a free day on Sunday. And, as expected, it all ends with a big party, which was a lot of fun, but not so much the next day when I had to make it to Latvia driving alone in just 1,5 days:)

OK, so that's pretty much it. I'll certainly try to get there next year as well. If anyone has any more questions, they're of course welcome.

H.
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Sova
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Postby Sova » 08-Nov-05 18:13

I had severe headaches for the first week, but then it started getting better

No pain, no gain! :D
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uuspoiss
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Postby uuspoiss » 08-Nov-05 19:41

Sova wrote:No pain, no gain! :D

True:) The same thing happened to me in October when I was taking a 2-week intensive German course in Frankfurt. Apparently I'm better than I should be at taking written entrance tests. It seems that being on a higher level course than your actual level is a pretty efficient way to learn, but it costs fairly much in energy and headaches...
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Sova
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Postby Sova » 08-Nov-05 21:26

The same thing happened to me in October when I was taking a 2-week intensive German course in Frankfurt

I had noticed the location in your profile had change to Stuttgart. Sounds like you're hopping from country to country learning every language possible. What's next? Danish?
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uuspoiss
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Postby uuspoiss » 08-Nov-05 21:51

Sova wrote:Sounds like you're hopping from country to country learning every language possible. What's next? Danish?

No, next I'll go back to Czech! German has so far been more out of necessity, even though after learning for a while it has also become quite interesting. Trying to write some e-mails and things in Czech over the past few days though, I have discovered how much I can actually forget in just a few months, it's nothing short of disappointing. So I hope to spend some time in Prague in December and get back to learning Czech more seriously again as soon as possible.

One more thing I forgot to write about in my original post about the summer school. There is also a final exam that everyone has to take at the end. It is quite similar to entrance test, except you also have to write a short essay in addition to the written test. If you don't pass, then your certificate will just have the "...and passed the final exam successfully" part crossed out - doesn't look very good:)
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Ladis
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Postby Ladis » 08-Nov-05 22:25

uuspoiss wrote:So I hope to spend some time in Prague in December

Hey boys, we can have a reunion in Prague if we agree on some term :) (I study in Prague).
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uuspoiss
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Postby uuspoiss » 09-Nov-05 17:02

Ladis wrote:Hey boys, we can have a reunion in Prague if we agree on some term :) (I study in Prague).

Sure why not. Usually these things have been discussed under Make a Connection. Just get it going and see how many people sign up!
H.

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