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Slovak students do not waste time talking and using gadgets while lecture runs on

Published by Vladimir Koretckii — 3 years ago

0 Tags: Erasmus experiences Trencin, Trencin, Slovakia

I was in Slovak Republic for two weeks according to program «Erasmus +» of professors and students exchanging and represented Kalashnikov Izhevsk State Technical University in the Dubcek Trenčín University.

Slovak Republic is the Europe geographic epicenter. There is a real melting pot where people of many natures live together. And even while globalization era goes on, Slovaks, Czechs, Austrians, Hungarians, despite the deep economic and cultural ties, managed to keep in ones identity and culture values and carry on their traditions.

Trenčín, small Slovak town, is located just next to the border with the Czech Republic. When in the end of my trip I headed over to Prague, bus crossed the state border in twenty minutes and settled in a small road "hospodke" or tavern, where for some reason, Slovak old gentleman treated me "Becherovka". Wow! It knocked me out! Really excellent local drink.

The main sight of Trenčín is medieval castle. Slovaks name it “Grad na Gore”. More the 7 century ago Mateous Csak and his descendants, so called "uncrowned kings", were seating there and governing almost half of present-day Slovakia.

Its towers are visible from everywhere, reflected in the waters of the Vah river, in shop windows and cafes or "caviaren" as ones are named by Slovak. Castles shadow turns richest local soup (“polevka”), strong coffee, amazing herbal tea, fried cheese and even McDonald's into something fabulous. On the rock under the castle hill Roman legionaries embossed message to future generations that says about 855 warriors of ancient Rome who two thousand years ago got here according Roman legate Maksimianus order. In now days I was excited walking around it. The park on the castle hill mixes civilisation features and elements of wild nature. I thought: "It could not be in the Middle of the Europe!".

Next to my hotel was located the headquarters of NATO ground forces. It is settled in an old military complex of Soviet buildings and guarded by monument of Russian soldier-liberator worn soviet WWII time uniform with legendary rolled-up cape thrown over his shoulder. NATO and EU flags side-by-side with Russian soldier is a feature of Slovaks. It is sort of Slovaks say: “We have got to NATO and it is good, but we keep on our history and do not want to quarrel with neighbors."

I added up Slovaks as calm and too polite people. Young athletes in hotel, NATO officer who shared with me breakfast, just strangers greeted me everywhere.

My schedule included multicultural issues in Europe and Russia and essential political challenges for Middle Europe countries. First and second years undergraduate students and master-students were my audiences. When the world have split out because of tension between West and Russia, West and Islamic World, West and Chine, reports' subjects was too urgent and actual. Moreover I stick with conspiracy theory and believe that we are observing well done play there are no “good” neither “bad” guys, but everyone just plays one's role and follows scenario.

In this situation it is essential to keep in impartiality. So, I set my reports on various political sayings and stuff are being stuck at by multicultural groups. I hope, I have managed to do it.

The other issue if apparent discrepancy between information and cultural values of mine and my students. In Russia we have some code-words, understandable for anyone and no need to explain. Guest professor’s discourses should be clear for audience and take along historical and cultural comments and background information. 

Therefore, I came by my Slovak colleagues' lectures  to come over audiences. They made reports in Slovak, but before trip I took some you-tube Slovak languages lessons and I speak in Ukraine. It is my native idiom. This skills handed me to catch essential ideas of reports and conversation between lecturer and students. Some points we discussed in English. The one was about Slovak neo-Nazis, which stick at “Slavic World”, are driven in mad by migrants, and go against "Gypsies". They were picked out by radicals as the "very main issue" of the "Slavic World". 

Based on this experience, I corrected my speech and presentation, took away some academician things and made explanation some key moments. My first lecture have been visited bu two dozens students and the very last by fifty students and teachers. It is difficult to say whether this is the result of my brilliant oratory or simply they were made. I hope the first one, but I was asked few. Students were mainly focused on the nationalist movements in Russia, patriotic education and Russian Intelligent Agencies activities.

"Our students do not speak English very well. They are more focused on German, because of Austria and Germany neighborhood. Actually Slovaks are not very interested in foreign policy. The politic guys, who speak a lot of on foreign policy has no chance to get success" - my Trenčín colleagues run by me. But when I asked students whether better to be under influence of Soviet Russian or EU and NATO, one replied: "We do not know how it was while Soviet Union was being. It is OK to be in the EU and NATO. It is not OK than USA comes into European deals.”

The main feature that set Slovak students apart Russian ones is that they are not talking and using gadgets like tablets computers and smart-phones while lecture runs on. It was my first glance and maybe they have trained to meditate and to simulate the presence of, but at least ones are not disturbing colleagues and me. But I believe that they strive to knowledge.

The very best place to eat:
- One Euro Pizza (Mirove Square next to Mother of God Column);
- Green Cafe (health meals and card payment system, center of town);
- Trenčín University cafe (1,5 euro for lunch).

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