Miniseries: international students at the Faculty of Medicine, Part 4

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, Sandra Mohan.

22 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 Sandra Mohan, and I am 23 years old. I am studying medicine at Masaryk University. I am from Norway. I have been studying in Brno for 4 years.

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 had researched medical schools in Europe and came across Masaryk in Brno and when I came to visit the university, I really liked the campus and the atmosphere of the city.

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?
Our university focuses a lot on theory and us having the knowledge behind each subject. However, I do think that they need to improve the practical aspect of our medical education, so we are more ready and prepared for a hospital setting. Another massive challenge for me coming from Norway is everything being taught in English, which is a massive change and was very hard especially at the start to get used to.

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?
It’s very hard to be away from my family and loved ones. Especially in this situation when you need support from them the most. I would say it’s very important to talk to your friends and family about it, and not to be afraid of sharing your feelings. And I also try to call many of my friends to check on them if everything is okay. During this time, we can’t be selfish, and we have to learn to take care of each other. Studying alone can be very difficult and challenging, and lately, I have been Skyping with a friend of mine every day. This keeps me motivated and also makes me not forget why I am here. This whole situation has also taught me to not take anything for granted, and that we should appreciate what we have.

What is the situation in your country? Are you in touch with your family?
I am always in touch with my family, and I have never called them so many times before this situation happened. This situation has shown me the importance of family and our health.

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?
I think many countries should follow the same rules that the Czech Republic has implemented, as this country was very quick to react to the crisis and I think due to their quick response to the pandemic they were able to control the problem, and due to this have such low number of deaths. I have experienced firsthand how efficient people here are at carrying out and following the rules, which shows how united this country is and I think unity is important to get us through this.

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 love the cheap food and beer, and the fact that I live so close to all my friends and see them so often, as here we are away from our families, therefore, your friends are a massive support network. I like how central the Czech Republic is and how close it is to other European cities, and you can just get on a bus and be in another country. I find the Czech language very hard, but lucky for me a lot of people in the Czech Republic speak English.

Thank you for the interview.

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