04.04.2016 09:07

Mia knows who she is and she is not afraid to tell the World about it

Autor: Marie Drahoňovská | Kurz: English section | Kategorie: Features and other

While being a Muslim in Brno is sometimes difficult for this Erasmus student from Malaysia, she is clearly enjoying her stay at Masaryk university. 

Mia is a girl from Malaysia who always stays herself. She came to Czech Republic a half year ago. She loves the culture, nature, food and the Czech people, but she doesn’t want to change herself at all. She prefers keeping her own tradition. That’s probably why she caught my attention and I have asked her for the interview. Mia just acts herself, she wears “hijab” and colourful clothes, she is small, but you would recognize her from a distance. Her face is always smiling and she is very talkative, which made my work during the interview easier. After half an hour I felt like we have known each other for years. 

Mia is twenty-five years old. Her real name is Siti Ismail, and that is still just a part of it. Because of the length of her real name, she started to call herself just Mia. Before a year she made that decision to take an advantage of the Erasmus program. ,,I did not have many options where to study. There were only two faculties, where I could study Economy, one in Wien and the other here in Brno. I knew from the beginning that I wanted to study in Brno. It is a centre of Europe and there are many possibilities to travel around and visit other countries,“ said Mia. She studies the first year at Master program of Economics and Business at our university. 

Being a Muslim is sometimes difficult for Mia 

As a Muslim, Mia has to pray five times a day. “Sometimes I just try to find some quiet place on the stairs, when nobody’s there and I pray for a while.” She had never any problem with her religion in the Czech Republic, even though she was afraid sometimes. When the refugee crisis came to Europe, she stayed at her college for three days. When she encouraged herself to go out again, she saw everything is alright and she didn´t have to be scared of anything. She has only one bad experience from Prague. “I’ve met a stranger in Prague, who asked me if I smoke. I said no, so he went away. After a while he knocked on my shoulder again and I could see he is drunk. He asked me if I am a Muslim. I was surprised that he asked me, but I said yes. After that he turned backwards and run away. I was very surprised, have I said something wrong? I have asked myself. Finally, I let it be, because he was drunk,” explained Mia very emotionally. Mia also enjoys the student life in Brno, but in her own way. Because of being a Muslim, she doesn’t drink any alcohol. That is why she doesn’t go to many parties here. When she wants to celebrate or catch up with her friends, she invites them to her flat in the Vinařská college. She organizes Malaysian party with an Asian food.

Erasmus is full of new experiences

Mia sees also many cultural differences. ,,There is a distinct morality in the Czech Republic. It was surprising for me to see the traffic conditions here. In my country, nobody is as considerate as here. Drivers usually don’t follow the rules, they drive too fast, so there’s no other choice for walkers – just to run across the road whenever they can. We have no choice, although it’s risky.“ Mia talked also about economics differences. ,,It is a little bit cheaper in Malaysia, but not that much. I save enough to travel from the grant I have got as an Erasmus student, which is great! Only the electronics are really expensive here. That is why my friend will bring a new iPhone for me from Malaysia next week.”

Mia has been studying here for six months already, but she is going to stay for the whole year. 

One of her favourite hobbies in Europe is travelling. „ I’ve visited eleven countries already. This semester I would like to explore Brno but also to see more of the Czech Republic.” The place she likes the most in Brno is Špilberk castle. She has been there four times so far. 

Mia has to study hard 

Although some people consider studies at Erasmus easier, Mia doesn’t agree. It is difficult for her to transfer gained credits to her home university because of the different grades system. Mia must study really hard here, so she can get the credits accepted at her home county. However, the style of teaching and the number of students in classes is very similar to her university in Malaysia

It is the first time Mia left her home for such a long time. ,,After three months here I wanted to go home – not because I wouldn’t like Brno (I love it!), but because I missed my family and friends. But I became acclimatized very fast and now I can’t imagine flying home and don’t return anymore! I might even live here once, if I found a good job here.”

Mia can see the Erasmus has changed her a bit. She is more confident in her self-presentation and also about her English skills. Last semester she took part in a competition based on country presentation. She prepared some traditional food and talked about her country. Finally, she won the first prize, which was a package of hundred cans with the Czech beer. Even though she won’t drink that, she was still very happy to win.


Marie Drahoňovská, Kateřina Keprtová

Klíčová slova: Erasmus, Muslim, study, Czech people


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