Going to college can be a challenge, but when you add up a new city and a new language to the equation it can be quite overwhelming. That is why that, for the fifth consecutive year, upper year students and faculty staff organize the “Fresher’s Week” as a way of smoothing the sometimes hard transition.
From Monday to Friday, mornings were spent having the first contact with the Czech language which, hopefully, by the end of the week was no longer just an ensemble of sounds.
In the afternoons, the new students were given the opportunity to listen the dean and his advices, as well as to some of the experiences of the upper years’ students. Instructions about books and subjects, transport, insurance companies, visas, libraries, registration for the student card, extracurricular activities or even where to go for dinner were all made available.
Everything in life needs a balance so it wasn’t all work. Evenings were the time for leisure and socializing. Activities such as bowling and a pub quiz, where students could win some prizes, were intended to put at ease even the shy ones. We reached out for the Czech parallel this year, and we successfully created a bond with them, making the adaptation into this new country easier for the new students.
The beginning of Medical School is an important footstep in ever doctor’s life, so we like to make it memorable for both students and their families with what we call the White Coat Ceremony. The striking Profesní dům hosted this event once more: oaths were proclaimed, salutes were made and stunning photographs taken.
To wrap up the week, the Inter-faculty Welcome Party gave everyone the opportunity to start the year knowing people from all the 3 medical faculties of this charming city.
We hope that the week served its purpose, and now, let’s get to work!!
Catarina Carvalho & Irene Santo, 4th Year, Portugal
Here we leave some testimonials:
“Freshers’ week at the 2nd Faculty of Medicine of Charles University was an informative yet enjoyable week, filled with several events, to guide my classmates and I into a smooth transition to university life in Prague. Not only was it a great opportunity for me to get to know my peers from all over the world, but it was also a way for me to get useful tips and advice from upper year students, that will make my time at medical school a success. Trips to the city centre, tours of the hospital and surrounding buildings, and various libraries, truly helped me settle into the active lifestyle in Prague as a medical student. All in all, the week was a good start to the upcoming year and brought me closer to my new family in Prague.”
Pooja Dhebar, 1st year, Great Britain
“We did enjoy the Freshers’ Week so much because we got to know our colleagues and some older students, which gave us some very helpful advices. Great activities were planned for us every evening and we got to see Prague during the night and the day. The only bad thing about Freshers’ Week was it ending so soon.”
Pia Runde & Franziska Keidel, 1st year, Germany
“We can’t imagine beginning our medical studies on the Second Faculty in Prague without the Freshers’ Week that our collegues from the upper years have prepared for us. We would have to move in to Prague in absolute darkness if those experienced and very helpful people wouldn’t have given us the extremely useful guidance of how to deal with the hard studies in this completely unknown country. Advises about planning time and effective studying, important books, places to go and many more tips are priceless. And all that in a very friendly atmosphere, that we could build and maintain during exciting attractions every evening. I think that we are all extremely thankful that Catarina Carvalho and her crew dedicated lots of their time to help us, freshers, to adapt in this new, exciting, but a little frightening situation!”
Filip Koniński & Michal Kolinski, 1st year, Poland
“For me, since I experienced Freshers’ Week, first as a new student and now as a volunteer, I actually think that it is the best thing the Faculty is doing for the new coming students. I feel that the freshers are getting more comfortable to speak to each other and to upper year students, and hearing advices and personal experiences that can actually help them to know the system of the Faculty and Prague. They also get more used to each other and to the czech culture. Moreover, the activities with the czech students was the best improvement of this Freshers’ Week. This week is actually the best welcoming that a fresher can get, in a place far away from home, family and friends, letting them feel more comfortable.”
Mazen Ali Badi, 2nd year, Sudan
“When I attended Freshers’ Week in my first year I found it an incredibly helpful week. Not only because we could get to know new people in a relaxed environment, during lot of activities, but also because we could be introduced to this Faculty and Prague itself. This year I wanted to be one of those guiding and helping others through their first weeks. I enjoyed it a lot and hope it was a perfect start for all the new coming students!”
Julia Werle, 3rd year, Germany
“Freshers’ Week 2014 was so great, compared to the other years, which were also really good. I feel that this year we incorporated all of the parameters liked by the previous freshers and took popular opinion into consideration. I think the freshers had a good time, and most of all, gained a lot from it. On behalf of everyone I would like to thank Catarina most of all, the staff of the faculty and everyone else who contributed to this spectacular week!”
Shenali Amaratunga, 3rd year, Sri Lanka