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Palacký University
02-02-2015, 08:47, Age: 9 y.

Europe: A User’s Guide – A Communications Course for Foreign Students

By: Velena Mazochová

Illustration: 123rf

Contributing to the understanding of the roots and basic values of European culture – this is the principal idea behind the new course Europe: A User’s Guide, incorporated into the English study programme for foreign students at the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry – especially Muslims. This course, with teachers from the Sts Cyril and Methodius Faculty of Theology, will be first introduced in the Summer 2015 term.

“We want to offer our foreign students a certain interpretation key that should help in their understanding of European culture and orientation in its values. Our goal is to provide an interpretation of Europe based on Christianity, Greek philosophy, Roman law, and an emphasis on freedom, rooted in the Judaic way of thinking,” said the guarantor of the prepared course, Jaroslav Franc, on its concept.

Different lifestyle

An incentive for improvement of communication with foreign students came from Vice-Rector Ivana Oborná. As the Faculty of Medicine Vice-Dean Jiří Ehrmann has confirmed, the theologians’ project presents the concept of European life in an ideal way. The principal idea is all the more welcome, as the study of medicine in Olomouc is attracting an increasing number of foreign applicants.

“These nineteen-year-old youngsters travel across half the world into an entirely different environment, defined by an entirely different lifestyle and different religious traditions. They face new challenges, homesickness, and having to adapt to the new environment plus demanding study requirements,” pointed out Ehrmann.

According to the Vice-Dean, international students encounter manifestations of xenophobia and potentially even negative reactions from their patients. “Although being one of the most atheist countries in the world, we should take into account the fact that such students typically are more or less religious, and those who come from Asia are usually Muslims,” added Ehrmann.

Understanding and communication

The purpose of the course is to explain that the “real Europe” has been built on different foundations and that these are a theme for discussion, not a reason for conflict. “Radical tendencies are always something unfortunate and passed on from generation to generation. Bringing people together and communicating are the only solution, also given the current events in Paris,” emphasised Ehrmann.

Students may enrol for this new optional course in their study plan for the coming semester. The interactive framework will allow the course participants to “decode” specific situations in everyday contact with the reality of Czech society. “Of course, we are not out to convert anyone’s religion; but we will try our best to let them experience several fruitful years of studying in the Czech Republic,” said Franc.

The key problem now, according to Ehrmann, is the students’ low interest in enrolment for the course, despite all the publicity. The management of the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry will therefore strive to establish the course as part of a physician’s professional training.

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Last update: 19. 09. 2012, Vladimír Kubák