Students of the University of Pardubice visiting the Ministry of Education of Gujarat. Photo by: Ellen Yoon Kyung Cho
A group of 13 students of the University of Pardubice accompanied by doc. Mgr. Martin Fárek, Ph.D., the head of the Department of Religious Studies, Faculty of Philosophy, has recently come from a study stay in India. They learnt not only about studying at the local university, but also about the Indian life.
In early December, twelve students from four faculties of the University of Pardubice - Faculty of Economics and Administration, Faculty of Arts and Philosophy, Jan Perner Transport Faculty and the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Informatics - had a unique opportunity to attend a special ten-day internship at the Rai University in Ahmadabad in Gujarat, India.
Czech students acquainted themselves with India
The Pardubice students thus joined ranks of their colleagues from prestigious European and American universities, who also travelled to India. To get a ticket for the internship, they had to undergo a challenging selection procedure at the home faculty and compose a precise motivation letter sent to the RAI University. The students received a scholarship from the program Discover India, along with a chance to explore the Indian life, customs and culture, but also the economic and political environment and business conditions in this part of India.
" Probably each of us felt a culture shock, and as for me, I will need some time to absorb the variety of comfortable and less comfortable differences we saw. We were introduced to the traditional Indian spicy cuisine and we also experienced the Indian hospitality, which surrounded us twenty four hours a day. We had an opportunity to meet both students and teachers of the RAI university and compare our study lives," a student of the Faculty of Philosophy, describes the experiences of the stay.
The busy schedule thus included not only tours of academic institutions, lectures, meetings with Indian students and discussions with them. They also attended workshops presenting various aspects of the Indian culture, visits to selected businesses and tourist attractions in the city, film screenings and more.
India - a country of many contrasts
"The stay allowed us to get to know the Rai University, its teachers, students and other employees, as well as the background of this young but rapidly evolving institution. Not only on the campus, but also outside of it, we had an opportunity to learn about the real life in India, the local culture, traditions, from excursions to a local radio station through participation in a Sikhi prayer ceremony to volunteers running a cafe and an Ahmedabad evening. Although I have quite a lot of experience with Indian students who study at the University of Pardubice, and therefore, thanks to them, I had some idea of what to expect in India, the actual reality was much more intense and immediate. It wasn’t until then that I realized that India is indeed a country of many contrasts," said Ing. Martin Trpišovský of Jan Perner Transport Faculty, one of the participants in the Pardubice delegation.
"When talking about their most intense experiences, the students recall the Indian approach to life and their satisfaction, which is not limited by the conditions in which they live. The Indian cuisine is then an unforgettable experience", said Trpišovský.
A high-level meeting
On Thursday, December 3, the entire student delegation led by Associate Professor Fárek also enjoyed an official reception by the Minister of Education of Gujarat, Bhupendrasinh Chudasama. In addition, the delegation from Pardubice was also received by the chief minister Anadiben Patel (basically the Prime Minister of one of the Indian states).
Within the work programme, Doc. Fárek had also an opportunity to discuss both general possibilities of academic cooperation and mobility between our University and Rai University directly with its representatives. The journey, however, was also of great importance in relation to his specialization - Indian tradition in the Western world, colonialism and religion; comparative methods and interpretation of religion.
The study trip to India is of great importance to the University of Pardubice. With it opens an opportunity to develop cooperation abroad, both for students and academics. "I am absolutely grateful for this opportunity. This trip gave me an insight into the everyday life and culture of the population of Gujarat and I hope it was not my last trip to this fascinating country," the student evaluated the trip.
Mgr. Zuzana Paulusová
Department of Promotion and Public Relations of the University of Pardubice