ALUMNI: Expanding horizons through working in a multi-ethnic environment helps to open professional paths

18 March 2022

Livestock specialist Miljan Erbez, alumnus of the Faculty of Agronomy at the Mendel University in Brno (MENDELU), and one-year language preparatory course at Charles University

Miljan Erbez came to study at MENDELU in 2007 based on a scholarship of the Government from the Czech Republic offered within the program of Foreign Development Cooperation. In 2011, he successfully graduated from a doctoral program Livestock Specialist at the Faculty of Agronomy. Currently, Miljan is the owner of Erbez Consulting, a company that among others has very good cooperation with several Czech companies. Also, he is part-time employed in the Dairy Farmers Association of the Republic of Srpska. 

What was the most important factor which convinced you to come and study in the Czech Republic? It was my mother. When I decided to go abroad to gain more knowledge I got opportunities in two countries. One in Western Europe and another in the Czech Republic. She said, “choose the Czech Republic. I met several Czechs during the ’70s and all those people were good. And we spoke a similar language and we all have Slavic roots.” And I didn’t make mistake listening to her.

(editor's note: After graduation from MENDELU, Miljan returned to Bosnia and Herzegovina and worked there as an advisor for the Minister of Agriculture of the Republic of Srpska. He is a member of the Association of Agricultural and Tourist Engineers of the Republic of Srpska - RADA. He is the author or co-author of more than 30 academic and scientific articles and also 5 books on livestock breeding. He has more than 10 years of experience in education, knowledge transfer, and agricultural consultancy, specifically in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Czech Republic, and Serbia.) 

Did MENDELU in Brno fulfill your expectations? More than that! They also provided education abroad, so I had the opportunity to visit some other countries in the EU and meet with their researchers and professors.

Did you try to find a part-time job? Yes, during the first year of studying the Czech language at Charles University I worked part-time jobs. Later not because the Ph.D. research was quite demanding. And I had enough money for a normal life. I lived in dormitories and I really enojed my room at Dormitory Tauferovy Koleje in Brno.

Did you find new friends you keep in touch with? The majority of my friends were locals. We are still in contact even 11 years later. I also developed businesses relations with some of them once I came back to my country. 

In hindsight was your decision to come study in the Czech Republic right? Yes. I would do it again. I have two kids. And one day if they ask me where to go to study, I will recommend the Czech Republic.

How has studying here impacted you professionally? Well, there are big differences between the quality of teaching and the capacity for learning between the Faculty of Agriculture, the University of Banja Luka, and MENDELU. MENDELU offers much more to students, and thanks to that I had the opportunity to learn a lot. Even today, almost 11 years after graduation, I use that knowledge.

Did studying in the Czech Republic at MENDELU put you in a better position in the Czech or global labour market?
Of course. Studying at such a university, but also expanding my horizons through working in a multi-ethnic environment, helped me open some new paths in my professional life. In the meantime, I worked in Africa, and in other countries in Europe, and I also visited Israel and USA.
As far as possible, was the Czech Republic able to provide a bit of a feeling of home to you? Yes. And I am always happy when I go to the Czech Republic. I must mention here that my first child, has a Czech name. Her name is Pavla. My son got an old Serbian name Radoš. Pavla was with me in Prague when I got the International Alumni Award from DZS in 2019. 

Do you have any words of advice for future international students who will come to the Czech Republic?  My grandfather always told me: Miljan, when you come to some village, ask what the customs are there. And behave like that. I used that in my life in the Czech Republic. So, now I can prepare kynuty knedlik, maybe better than some Czechs :-). I recommend you do the same! 

I would also like to thank my wife, Vesna, who was with me all the time and gave me really important support. The same as she is giving me today. 


Did you enjoy the interview with Miljan? Connect with Miljan on LinkedIn!