Miniseries: international students at the Faculty of Medicine, Part 2

The Faculty of Medicine is probably the most international faculty of Masaryk University. 700 international students study throughout all the English programmes. We asked several of our international students why they chose LF MU and how they are coping with being far from their homes and loved ones.

In this episode we would like to introduce you Jesika Agarwala.

20 Apr 2020

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Can you tell us something about yourself? Where did you come from? How long have you been studying in Brno?
My name is Jesika Agarwala and I am currently studying in 4th year of General Medicine in the Medical Faculty of Masaryk University, Brno. I am originally from India but born and brought up in Dubai, where my family currently resides. This is my 4th year living in Brno.

Why did you decide to study at the Faculty of Medicine of Masaryk University? Did you know anything about the university or the Czech Republic before you arrived?
I heard about Masaryk from many students back home (i.e. Dubai), along with other universities such as Charles in Prague. However, I really liked the location and the atmosphere of Brno more than Prague, it seemed quieter and student-friendly to me, which is exactly what I was looking for. I didn’t know a lot about the university at first, so I contacted an institution in Dubai, known for guiding students wanting to study in Central Europe for medicine, and obtained all the information necessary to pursue my goals.

Studying at the Faculty of Medicine is generally quite challenging. How do you perceive the quality of study at the Faculty of Medicine of MU?
I definitely agree that studying here is quite challenging, but the teachers and students in upper years really try to provide as much aid as possible. Until now, I have been quite satisfied with the education that has been provided at this faculty, especially in terms of educational resources. I understand that clinical practices can be hard to manage, but if asked, that is one area I would hope to see improvement, in the future.

How do you perceive the current situation? You're far from your family, your friends. Do you have a trick to handle this situation? Does it help you to study? Are you discussing the situation with your classmates?
This situation has been very overwhelming, also as a person who loves planning everything out, this uncertainty has brought out a different side of me, not one I can appreciate. Having constant contact with friends and family through Skype does reduce this sense of loneliness and uncertainty, knowing everyone feels the same way as me, gives me the strength to cope.
I have been studying, not at the same pace as before, but have been doing my best to stay up to date with the syllabus. A lot of the motivation comes from the fact that we, as future doctors, are the ones who will be needed if ever such pandemic strikes again (I do certainly hope it never happens), and reaching my goals will help aid people in such situations.
My classmates too feel the same way and are trying to do the best of their capabilities in this time of uncertainty.

What is the situation in your country? Are you in touch with your family?
In the UAE, strict draconian measures have been taken to reduce the spread of the disease, and everyone is complying quite well.
I talk to my parents every day for 10-15 minutes, via Skype, and it’s my source of motivation and hope that things will get better, soon enough.

The pandemic shows the importance of healthcare. So far, the Czech approach has proved to be a good way. Do you think this approach is applicable to other countries?
Certainly, these measures should be applied in other countries, to help the world get back on its feet, as soon as possible.

And finally, a personal question. How do you like it in the Czech Republic? Is there something that surprised you in good or something you still don't understand?
I really like Brno; I love how student-friendly this city is and also how cheap it is (considering that I come from Dubai). The weather here is extremely pleasant and it’s not too crowded like Prague for example, I would say Brno is more quiet and serene.
What surprised me was how people have started to speak English here. When I came in 2016, communication was a lot harder and Google translate was my one and only friend. Now, I see many locals speaking English and trying their best to help, which for me is a massive improvement in this city.

Thank you for the interview.

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