So, you are in the Czech Republic and successfully enrolled in a study programme. As the semester starts and you slowly get into the routine you might begin to wonder – what now? More likely than not you will notice that your classes schedule is much more flexible than in high school, and you will be left with a lot of free time.
There is a range of activities you can utilize your free time for (such as travelling or maybe a part-time job), and today we will be talking about one which, I can say with confidence, provided me with the true student experience. And that is membership in student organizations.
In this article, I would like to present some which are most likely present at all campuses in the Czech Republic and which could be worth your consideration.
AEGEE is a non-profit interdisciplinary student organization whose vision is a “democratic, diverse and borderless Europe” which is integrated and where young people are its active participants. The goal is to motivate students to be socially active and responsible, aware of cultural differences and stereotypes. It organizes projects dealing with current issues that Europe is facing, as well as summer universities.
AIESEC is an international non-for-profit youth organization whose main vision is developing leadership in young people, either through membership or through participating in an international exchange programme. It exists in roughly 120 countries, including the Czech Republic where it is present in more than ten campuses. As a member of the organization, you would either be working on organizing the local projects or preparing Czech students for their exchange abroad. It is also possible to join a team dealing with finances, marketing or HR. AIESEC is structured like a little company where you get a piece of responsibilities and possibilities (as if you were working) while it is an ideal place for making mistakes and learning from them since it is just volunteering. I have personally been a member of this organization and it has been an intense learning experience, that also provided me with a lot of new friends, and which also looks quite nice on my CV.
There is no single organization uniting all debate clubs across the country, but they are present at most universities independently. On regular meetings, students are introduced to a controversial thesis, where some are supposed to present all arguments for or against the given topic. The debate is following strict rules of behaviour, and the winner is decided by an independent spectator. Although debate clubs are most useful to future politicians, lawyers or diplomats, students of all fields are welcome, since knowing how to argument and effectively lead a discussion is a skill necessary in our everyday lives.
If you are studying in the Czech Republic as an ERASMUS student, you might be familiar with ESN – Erasmus Students Network. It is a not-for-profit organization existing in 40 European countries whose mission is to foster student mobility under the principle of “students helping students”. The organization has many local branches all over the Czech Republic, and the main tasks of its members include taking care of foreign students arriving from abroad (buddy programme, organizing fun and cultural activities for them) and enabling local students to participate in an ERASMUS exchange. If you are planning to go on an exchange, you might want to consider joining ESN, since in some universities being a member brings you some positive points during the application process.
Apart from the organizations mentioned above, most faculties have their own clubs and associations which are focused on a particular study programme. Therefore, you will find clubs of those studying medicine, law, psychology, ecology, art, filmography etc. Also, throughout the year it is possible to participate in certain conferences, such as, for example, simulation of the United Nations, as well as job fairs organized on campus grounds.