Jana Borková, teacher, study center Praha-Krystal
I have been teaching Czech and creative subjects at the Preparatory Programme for Studies in Arts and Architecture at the Institute for Language and Preparatory Studies at Charles University (ÚJOP UK) since 2010. Every year, I become a guide of sorts for foreign students, assisting them not only in learning a new language but also in familiarizing themselves with a new culture and traditions that are often different from their own.
Many students who come to ÚJOP are interested in pursuing art majors at Czech universities. However, talent alone is not sufficient for university admission. To enhance the success rates of our graduates, we have established an art training program at the Krystal Center specifically tailored for future architects, designers, artists, illustrators, and sculptors. In addition to Czech language, they study art history, create portfolios in art studios, read art-related texts, and explore the landmarks of Prague.
Numerous of our alumni have completed their university studies with great success and are now dedicating themselves to careers in the arts. One such example is Nonna Lorenz, who was my student during the 2013/2014 academic year at ÚJOP. After completing the preparatory course, Nonna pursued ceramics at FUD ZČU in Pilsen and subsequently continued her studies in the same field at UMPRUM in Prague. Today, Nonna Lorenz is a Czech ceramic artist whose work is exhibited in renowned galleries across the country. She is also my colleague, assisting in preparing art students at ÚJOP for their university entrance exams.
My students come to study Czech in a foreign country, often without their families and friends, so I frequently try to support them in their daily lives in this new environment.
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Working with young people brings me great joy, as I listen to their opinions, perspectives, and modes of communication. We cultivate a friendly atmosphere, often infused with humor. I am constantly learning new information about their cultures and lives in their home countries, fostering mutual respect for each other’s boundaries—a crucial life skill, in my opinion.
Naturally, I celebrate their language progress and every achievement, even after our courses have concluded. Many of my students remain dear friends, and we continue to meet regularly, always finding something to talk about.
I think it is worth mentioning our gatherings at my dacha, where we organize traditional barbecues to celebrate the end of the ÚJOP course. These events are attended by many of my students.
One of the most rewarding and joyful moments for me was when former student Mirza Ćosović expressed his gratitude in his thesis at the Faculty of Arts of Charles University, where he acknowledged my effective Czech language instruction.
I also had the privilege of attending his graduation ceremony upon completion of his archaeology degree. Interestingly, studying archaeology was once my own dream, and it has indirectly come true through the achievements of my students.
I thrive in a positive work environment, and perhaps this is influenced by the inherent “lightness of being” that young people possess, as well as their motivation to learn and their sense of responsibility in attaining their goals.
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