A Czech student in Scotland. Why? ✈️


Available at: http://il6.picdn.net/shutterstock/videos/5460503/thumb/1.jpg (Accessed: 17 September 2016)

Hello all.
My name is Barbara. I come from a small European country called the Czech Republic; Yes, that is the one East from Germany and right below Poland. The one with Prague, also yes. If you wanted to mention beer, you would be correct as well. My point is, I’d lived in a place majority of people haven’t even heard of, ever since I was born until August 2016. Neither of my parents or any close relatives know how to speak English. Having moved to Dundee, I find people are unexpectedly surprised by my decision to study here and possibly pursue a career in a country rather far away from what my “Home” is.

I wanted to create a summary to which I would come back each year as I progress with my studies (and further career) and reflect on it.

I will focus on three main categories:

  • Reasons -> What has brought me to this point? Why am I currently convinced the path chosen by me is the best one? Do I feel like there are any areas that differ in major way across the curricula?..
  • Benefits -> How can I make the most out of this? In what way might my different experience contribute to my Studies and Teaching in Scotland? Do I compare the two countries and see any major areas that could be improved by applying something from my home country?..
  • Goals & Future -> Where and how do I want to apply the variety my experience can offer? How do I picture the future of my personal career?..

I am aware these all will be changing and alternating, as I have only just started my first year. However, I believe it may be interesting to be able to track the development of my viewpoints and also to use this as a platform for gathering the distinctions in approaches to teaching which I notice as I go.


It may surprise some that I mention “Different educational system” as a reason for me pursuing the career here, in Scotland. Why would I make it harder and force myself to get used to something unfamiliar? Whether I’m thinking of teaching one day back in my country or rather spending the rest of my life here; the way pupils seem to be taught in the UK is, in my opinion, so much more efficient. Attention is paid to kids enjoying learning and yet certain goals keep being set that need to be achieved.
In my country, children are from their very first stage tested so frequently that some days we end up having up to 5 exams during that one teaching day. I don’t need to elaborate on that argument, I believe.
I don’t want it to sound like I’ve run away from a challenge, (meaning me, becoming the person who would change the system in the Czech Republic towards the better) it is more that I want to be educated somewhere, where I believe the values are set in a clearer and overall more improved manner. Because at the end of the day, knowing what is wrong doesn’t necessarily mean I would know how to go about it to get it right.

That being said, there certainly are areas in which my home country may be a little bit ahead (although, I am yet to discover these). That is where I believe my knowledge of two different approaches shall come in handy and I could apply to my teaching practice the more appropriate one.

On another note, I would be lying if I said I was not gaining anything from this on personal level. As much as I want to keep this professional, it is the truth that student life is loads more enjoyable here. I am not talking only about night-time activities at the Union; the community that is already forming within the university, the school and the course makes me feel like I am in a competitive, yet extremely collegial environment. Comparing that to my country, it is something I had never experienced before.

Lastly, how I want to come out of this. As of right now, I am going to focus all my attention to getting an in-depth knowledge of the Curriculum, improving my language skills (with special attention to academic writing and English terminology in Maths and Sciences, as that is something I have never encountered before, therefore I am fully aware the field will be challenging for me) and I definitely want to keep improving my Spanish.

To anyone who has made it through to this point, thank you very much for reading.

4 thoughts on “A Czech student in Scotland. Why? ✈️

  1. Erika

    Thank you Barbara, it was a question I had in my head when we first met and now I understand…!

    I also think your ‘personal’ reasons for the move are as important (if not more??) than the ‘professional’ ones – who you become as a person impacts massively on who you become as a teacher. The experiences/challenges/fears/uncertainties that you experience as a Czech abroad give you skills and abilities that we could never teach you and these will definitely enhance your ability as a teacher too 🙂

    1. Barbara Post author

      Thank you for your response Erika, I really appreciate it!

      As far as the challenge as a whole, of me being a foreign student here, goes, I am very excited to experience it. And I am hoping to be able to spot and highlight as many of the ways how it could be beneficial for my teaching practice as possible. 🙂

  2. Derek Robertson

    Great respect for those who undertake such a challenge of studying in another country with English as their second language. Your Reasons, Goals and Benefits chart is an excellent way of framing your decision to come to study in Scotland. Your comment about your concern regarding Czech children being tested too much is one that is becoming very relevant to what is happening in Scotland what with recent Government pronouncements on National Testing: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-35237834
    Looking forward to reading more from you on your ePortfolio as the course progresses.

    1. Barbara Post author

      Thank you very much for your response and the link, it was an interesting read. I have been following the affair with NIF for a while and I must admit I still haven’t formed a clear opinion on how I feel about it. I do, to certain extent, agree that any standardized testing will inevitably, in some cases, lead to the said “teaching for testing”. However, if there realistically can be kept the overall assessment of individual pupils, which comprises of various aspects and is essentially produced by the teacher’s judgement, it does not necessarily have to mean a step back, does it?
      When I say Czech children are tested too much, I mean our grades are created SOLELY from written and oral exams, there is no assessment based on our performance during lessons and very few opportunities for interactive/presented work.
      I assume, to that point National Testing would not get (hopefully).


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