First Alumni Meetup France: Over 100 participants from 17 Czech universities met in Paris

Zuzana Polívková, Czechia Alumni
Zuzana Polívková, Czechia Alumni
Alumni, Student community, Study in Czechia, Universities
26. března 2024

Last week, on March 22, 2024, a vibrant gathering took place at the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Paris, marking a significant Alumni Meetup event with more than 100 participants from 15 different countries. Alumni from 17 Czech universities came together in the heart of Paris, fostering connections and reminiscing about their academic journeys in Czechia.

Surrounded by the elegant premises of the embassy, attendees exchanged stories of their experiences studying in Czechia, reminiscing about the rich cultural heritage, academic excellence, and unforgettable moments they shared during their time there. The ambassador, His Excellency Mr Michal Fleischmann, opened the event with the Czech National Agency for International Education and Research director, Michal Uhl, and Václav Velčovský, Director General for the EU Operational Programmes section of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports. Tomáš Petříček, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, was present with his wife too.

Alumni meetup serves as a platform for networking, enabling alumni to forge new connections, explore potential collaborations, and deepen their ties with their alma mater and fellow graduates. Besides info booths on Study in Czechia and Czechia Alumni programme, you could find a booth of Association Dijon Nimes there, Czech Centre Paris,  and one showing a comic book by Hilaire Guinamard, who also presented his artwork on the stage. Czech language and literature tutors prepared a memory game and a quiz about Czech culture, and the winners were announced by the end of the event.

Alumni appreciate gaining practical skills

One of the participants, the Czech University of Life Sciences alumni David Ramarosaona, spent one semester in Prague in 2014, studying Material and Fluid Mechanics. He considers this time as "one of the best of his studies". He strongly recommends studying in Czechia and underlines that the lectures are more project-oriented, with many presentations, practical tasks and group work.

Improvement in presentation skills thanks to the Czech way of teaching is confirmed by three alumni of Palacky University, Marceau Brigant, Timothée Baud and Medhi Morin, who studied law in Olomouc. They studied in English, but they also remembered a seminar about Czech culture in the French language.

Florine Rivoire spent one semester at Brno University of Technology studying Business and Management. Initially, she was a bit worried because she had gone there alone and was not sure she would find new friends easily. Despite the pandemic starting just a week after her studies in Brno began, she enjoyed her stay and met incredible people from around the world. She attended many events organized by the ESN, and she considers this experience to help her in her current job as she works as an event and community manager.

Reunions and new connections

The participants agreed that alumni meetups allow them to build new relationships and were genuinely pleased to be there. Students from Charles University and the Czech University of Life Sciences even had a chance to meet their university representatives and take a group picture. The Czech Centre Paris was present to provide information about Czech culture and events, and the tutors led the language corner. The atmosphere was fantastic; you could see small groups talking, getting to know each other or meeting after many years.

There were not only alumni with Erasmus+ experience. Chloé Le Moal studied joint master's degree in České Budějovice at the University of Southern Bohemia. Having one diploma from 3 different universities is, in her opinion, a "perfect way to have a competitive advantage when searching for a job". She currently works as an Engineer for Pedagogical Innovation at Université Paris 8.

The Czechia alumni community also welcomes summer/winter school participants. One of them, Denis Laresle, was also at Alumni Meetup France. He attended a one-month summer school of the Czech language, where he met other students from various countries, such as Poland, the USA, China, Korea, and France. This environment greatly helped him improve his Czech language skills because the language of communication between the summer school participants was Czech.

Kévin Bernal, a Barrande Fellowship programme grantee, gave us a vaster interview about his experience with this joint Czech-French scholarship programme. Are you curious about this opportunity for PhD students and want to read more about his experience? Await for a new blog post soon.

The Alumni Meetup in Paris celebrated the achievements and experiences of past students and highlighted the enduring bond between France and Czechia. Through this event, attendees renewed ties with their Czech academic roots.

alumni programme as part of the public and economic diplomacy

The ambassador, His Excellency Mr Michal Fleischmann, sees the benefit of organizing such alumni meetups at Czech embassies abroad because "any contact is a foundation for cultural diplomacy and future relations in the educational field". In his opinion, understanding a foreign language and culture is a gate to understanding others. According to him, it is essential to build on the excellent relationships Czechia and France currently have and build on the same values we share, and the Czechia Alumni can help with this. Director General for the EU Operational Programmes section of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, Václav Velčovský, confirms that the Czechia Alumni programme is at the beginning of this economic diplomacy chain. Our countries' relationships are strong and have a great potential to grow, especially in education.

International Student and Alumni Meetup France 2024 renewed a sense of community and a shared vision for the future. The next Alumni Meetups will be held in Moldova (April 30, 2024) and Sweden (May 16, 2024). We are looking forward to seeing you there!