25.10.2016 19:54

Masaryk University gains a valuable addition in a student of Political Science

Autor: Adéla Formánková | Kurz: English section | Kategorie: Features and other

Matt Coates is twenty-one-year-old student from Vermont, US, who laughs at every question you ask him. Judging from his appearance,

you would say he is Irish but his accent and directness disclose his origin.


Matt has been studying Political Science at the University of Vermont for three years. He wanted to finish his Bachelor programme in a foreign country and because he is an avid history lover, his requirements were clear: “For a long time I’ve had an interest in the Slavic world. I wanted to go to a country that once was a part of the Soviet Union and now is a part of the European Union. I thought this would be perfect for study of Political Science.”

His stay in Brno is going to last one semester and he is certainly not wasting the time. Except for the mandatory courses, for example International Security Policy, he attends courses such as Early Christian Literature or Philosophy. Although he has these optional subjects, he still has only one or two subjects per day. That is something new for Matt: “There are significant differences in studying at my home reverse to studying here – that has been quite shocking. In the University of Vermont, we had three or four courses in a day. The courses were shorter – 45 minutes long. Every day HW was assigned for a course, so we had small papers, quizzes or readings to do. There was lots of work.”

Matt’s interest in History is bound to travelling. The Czech Republic has been his last stop, but definitely not the first one. He has made a lot of journeys to escape the isolated continent – how he himself calls the US. He’s visited Greece with his whole family and he’s been to Nicaragua as a part of his school trip where they helped to build a health center. He’s travelled to England and France. He’s also been to India to meet his uncle. And before he ended up in Brno, he undertook a journey to Sweden. But even though he has been travelling a lot, Brno really impressed him: “I love it, I love Brno. It's one of my favourite European cities I’ve been to. I love the culture, I love how different it is from where I come from. You can see that there’s been a sort of remains of the Soviet era in people’s eyes or attitudes but there are lots of very positive things. People are friendly when I get lost or when I need help.”

Matt arrived to Brno on September 9 – before the semester started. “When I first got here, I was all alone. That was a bit unpleasant. I was here for two days and there was no one to talk to. I just wandered around the city, got lost a lot, looked at churches.” Before Matt decided to choose the Czech Republic, his other option was Poland. But he rejected it because most of its sights were destroyed during World War II. “Every day I try to go and see a church or walk around in a park. I love Brno sightseeing.”

He is used to the difference between summer and winter from Vermont. In winter, the normal routine is freezing temperatures and a metre of snow, so our winter might be mild and pleasant for Matt. From his homeland he would recommend us visiting the city of Boston, which holds a lot of American history. But he also appreciates the natural beauty of his state – the mountains or the forests. Speaking of the US, a big political event is coming in November – the presidential election. But Matt has a clear head. Without hesitation he tells us that his vote belongs definitely to Hillary Clinton. 

Klíčová slova: programme Erasmus; student; US; Vermont


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