Interview with Nikita, My life in Pardubice as PhD student from Mumbai

2. 11. 2018

A short description: (Who are you? Where are you from? How long have you been in the Czech Republic and at the University of Pardubice...)

Dobrý den, I am Nikita, and I am from Mumbai. I just began my third year in Pardubice.

India is a huge country, could you tell us more about it and about Mumbai?

It is indeed a huge country, and Mumbai is the best city in the world! It’s a very mixed place where there is something for everyone. What else can I say? It’s my home. J


Tell me more about your studies?

I am enrolled at the Department of Religious Studies at the university and our group focuses on comparative culture studies. It is very interesting to get to know how the Indian and western notions of (what seems like) everything can be so different. My research topic deals with mythology.


Is this your first study experience abroad? Why did you decide to study in the Czech Republic, in Pardubice?

Yes, this is my first time abroad. I came here to study with this group.


Besides your studies, what do you do in the Czech Republic (hobbies, job, projects…)?

I’m a deeply curious person, so I have many interests. I love reading books, watching movies, binge watching TV shows, cooking, getting to know people, walking around the city, traveling around the country and to other places in Europe... I have done presentations about India with the help of my Czech friends. I also help out at the organization of the international summer school programme here at the university.


How do you find the Czech culture:the food, the way the people are, and live? Is it different from Indian culture, and if so, how?

This is a complicated question to answer briefly as there are definitely several deep differences in our cultures. However, I will say that mothers seem to be the same everywhere in the way they fuss over us and can often drive us crazy! Czech hospitality is also very warm and similar to Indian hospitality for I have been very well cared for whenever invited to a Czech friend’s home. I love the Czech sense of humour, which can be extremely dark, irreverent, and often politically incorrect. One sure-shot way of knowing if a Czech person is comfortable with you is to notice when they make these kind of jokes.

How is life in Pardubice? Is it hard to live here?

So far, life has been pretty good. It’s much calmer here than in Mumbai, and I like that. I also love that I get to experience four proper seasons, and I particularly love the winter (which makes my Czech friends think I am crazy)! However, the summers here can seem a little harsh as I come from a place near the beach. Also, the buildings here are not entirely equipped to handle heat.

Do you have a favourite place in Pardubice, or a place where you go to get away?

It would be counterproductive to share my get-away place, wouldn’t it? ;) As far as favourite places go, I love sitting in cafés with a book, and I can often be found in some café or another all over the city.


Do you know any words in the Czech language? If so, how did you learn them? Which one is the most complicated or funniest to pronounce?

I know many words in Czech! My three favourite words are všechno, smetana, and Čtvrtek. I learnt všechno and smetana at the supermarket, and Čtvrtek from a calendar. Also, I learnt pojd sem! seeing mothers who are often found saying this to their little children. J I have a weird sense of humour about words. I find the word hořčice very funny. Many Czech words ending with “-čka”,“-čko” or “-čku”, such as sklenička, babička, etc., sound extremely cute!


Speaking about language, I was told that Indian people could speak a minimum of 5 languages. Which one do you speak? Could you teach us a few words?

I am not sure if it is a minimum of 5, but knowing 2-3 languages is quite normal for us. I speak Hindi, Gujarati, Kutchchi, and Marathi among Indian languages. As for a few words, how about I share how to say, “How are you?” in the languages I know? Hindi: kaise ho? Gujarati: kem chho? Kutchchi: ki aiyo? Marathi: kasa aahe?

After your studies, do you have any plan?

No plans as of now. Feel free to share any ideas or opportunities with me :D

Caroline Novak-Jolly

Department of International Affairs and Developement