18.03.2017 18:02

A student from Ukraine: I feel safe in Brno

Autor: Lenka Jebáčková | Kurz: English section | Kategorie: Features and other

Behind a constant smile on the cute girl’s face there is hidden a deep experience with what is it like to live in fear. Alina Markulchak, 18-year-old Ukrainian, almost literally fled from her birthplace Kiev to Brno.

Alina Markulchak in Brno. Photo: Tomáš Píč


When Alina was sixteen years old, she walked down the street toward Maidan Nezalezhnosti, literally Independence Square. Suddenly she saw a huge crowd of students that held baseball bats. They were wearing filthy ragged clothes and were covered in blood. In that particular moment, something has changed in her. “I was looking at them, shaking and scared, and I just knew that I have to do everything in my power to get out of Ukraine,” says Alina. What was going on was the police brutally attacking students who were protesting against the government taking an anti-European Union stance. “I’ve never felt safe in there, this was the last straw,” she says.

After the very unpleasant experience, Alina had decided to radically change her whole life. Her dream was to move to Brno where her mother had lived for four years already. This dream of hers became true in summer 2015. After she finished a high school focusing on finance in Ukraine, she decided to study in Brno. She chose a school that was close to her previous focus so the Faculty of Business and Management was a clear choice. “I wanted to go study to a different state, because schools in Ukraine are not good enough,” says a student of Brno University of Technology who hopes to become a manageress one day.

One of the biggest surprise for Alina was that schools in Brno are very difficult and on the same level. “It is typical for Ukrainian schools that a corruption works here. If you give money to your teacher, he gives you any grade you want. It’s not possible in Brno and I love it,” explains Alina who worked her whole life very hard to have good grades.

The beginning of the semester in a totally new foreign country was very hard for Alina. “I could barely speak Czech. I was feeling lost all the time. I remember one subject that was about optical and other cables and I thought the teacher teaches us about purses,” she laughs. Even though some days were not easy, she has never stopped fighting and has never thought about coming back to Ukraine. “It was really difficult, but I knew that it’s worth it. I feel I can be happy in Czech Republic. And what’s more, I can be safe in here,” says a girl with a never fading smile on her face who after less than a year in Czech Republic found many new friends and speaks almost fluently Czech.

However, it is not the very happy ending for Alina. Although her dream came true and she lives with her mother now, her stay in Brno probably also destroyed her relationship with other family members, especially her brother. “I have a younger brother who doesn’t want to live in Czech Republic. He lives with my grandma and wants to stay in Ukraine probably forever,” says a student. She has not seen her brother since summer, because she cannot travel to Ukraine. She is waiting for a Czech citizenship. “I can’t visit my brother, because Czech office would think that I want to stay in there,” explains Alina who is supposed to get her citizenship in two months if everything goes well. Once she gets it, she is going to visit her brother immediately.

One thing is certain, namely that Alina feels safe in Brno. “There will never be a peace in Ukraine. Every generation lives in a violence, it’s some kind of historical tradition. I feel at home in Brno,” says a student who is not afraid anymore, because she determinedly achieved her dream. Another one is to finish her school and find a decent job in Czech Republic. 

Klíčová slova: student, university, Ukraine


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