One hundred foreigners studying Czech at Palacký University

The Summer School of Slavonic Studies starts this Saturday at the UP Arts Centre. Photo: Milada Hronová
friday 20. july 2018, 9:13 – Text: Milada Hronová

The eldest is 74, the youngest is 18. Both share a passion for Czech, both will meet in Olomouc. They are part of a group of roughly one hundred applicants who will study Czech at Palacký University. On Saturday 21 July, the 32nd year of the Summer School of Slavonic Studies (SSSS) will commence in the UP Arts Centre.

The four-week Summer School of Slavonic Studies, organised traditionally by the UP Faculty of Arts, offers Czech language courses to foreigners; there are also additional courses in other languages, such as Russian and Polish. The study programme is designed for Czech language and literature university teachers, lecturers, and students, experts in Slavic Studies with broader specialisations, translators, journalists, tradesmen, and other people interested in Czech language, literature, and culture. The programme also includes a course for complete beginners.

“We divided the programme into four levels of proficiency, from complete beginners to high proficiency; the courses for beginners and intermediates will be taught in English. For the first time, the study will be fully accredited. Students who meet all the conditions of the four-week course will receive eight ECTS credits, and these will be acknowledged in the study plans at their home universities,” said Lenka Horutová, the SSSS director. She also added that similarly to previous years, the majority of students come from Taiwan and Germany; traditionally also a large portion from China, Vietnam, Finland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Hungary, Malta, and the United Kingdom. The eldest participant will be a 74-year-old American, while the youngest will be an 18-year-old student from France.

During the four weeks, the foreign students will be instructed by 19 lecturers in Czech, one lecturer in Polish, and one in Russian. The morning lectures consist of five teaching hours, including one hour of conversation. There is a popular phonetic workshop on correct pronunciation, then translation, conversation, and grammar workshops, and newly also a workshop specialised in written Czech.

The course also offers accompanying activities. Foreign students will watch videos of Czech films with English subtitles and information about their production, directors, and actors. As every year, a theatre workshop is organised, with the help of actors from the Moravian Theatre Olomouc; the week is concluded with a joint performance and a folklore night with hammer dulcimer music. One innovation will be that foreign students will have the opportunity to join a summer school choir. Every weekend is, as always, devoted to field trips.

“This year, we will take our students to the Lednice-Valtice Cultural Landscape and to Velké Losiny, where we will see the centuries-old handmade paper mill. We will also make a trip to Praděd Mountain and spend an afternoon in the Karlova Studánka spa. Later, we will visit the city of Kroměříž with its famous gardens and chateau listed in the UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. The last field trip will take us to nearby Loštice where Olomouc’s famous cheese is made, Bouzov Castle, and the Javoříčko caves,” added Viktor Tichák, the SSSS secretary.

The graduates of the Summer School of Slavonic Studies in Olomouc who pass their final tests will receive a certificate of the achieved language proficiency in the UP lifelong education programme. Its 32nd year will end on 19 August 2018.