Student Ambassadors: Diego Olivas from Mexico

6. 3. 2024 | Student Ambassadors

Student Ambassadors: Diego Olivas from MexicoMy name is Diego Olivas, I am a student from Mexico currently enrolled in the bachelors Science programme in English at Charles University in Prague. This is the story of how I found out about Charles University and how my life has been while studying here the last 6 months.

I knew since primary school that I wanted to study the natural sciences. If it was up to me, physics AND chemistry AND biology AND mathematics would be ideal. However, no university had a programme like the one I was looking for, and eventually, I compromised and went into Physical Engineering. Fast-forward almost a year later, I was in Prague for the holidays. Walking through the adorned streets of the old city centre, I eventually found myself in front of the Faculty of Law of Charles University. By then, a year in another university had left me unfulfilled, so, on a whim, I checked what Charles University had to offer.

When I read what the Faculty of Science was preparing for the next year, it was love at first sight. Physics AND chemistry AND biology AND mathematics, AND in English! I just knew I had to apply. As I talked with my friends about my plans, all of my European friends knew about Charles University, and all of them had only good things to say. I realized that Charles University had a good reputation not only in the Czech Republic, but in all neighbouring countries as well. Having now spent some time myself immersed in the experience, I can confidently say this reputation is well-earned.

The Science in English programme was everything I wanted it to be. Not only are the professors knowledgeable, but the courses are actually challenging and fulfilling. I am not exempt from the occasional study session late into the night (especially during finals), but the subjects are so complete and thorough that I find myself enjoying the learning process.

I had had my fair share of experiences with universities in Mexico, and one of the things that surprised me the most my first time here was the difference in the faculty buildings. In Mexico, most universities are fairly recent, with buildings to match. In Prague, however, the historical richness of the architecture also applies to the universities. Although most of the buildings of the Faculty of Science share a hundred-year history, they are so well maintained and updated that they match (and often surpass) the facilities in Mexico.

As for the city, what is there to say about Prague that has not been said before? A thousand years of culture in the heart of Europe and give rise to a city like no other in the world. It balances elegant antiquity in its architecture and fresh modernity in its infrastructure. Prague is a safe city that, despite its size, is kept well-connected by an efficient and cheap system of public transport. It is the perfect city for a student. Looking for nature? Many of the parks and natural areas are beautiful and open all year round. If you’re looking for places to study, the National Technical Library and City Library have got you covered. If you’re looking for fun, there is no shortage of places in the old city where to go. And if you ever get tired of exploring the city (which I guarantee will never happen) the rest of Central Europe is only a train ride away.

My favourite experience as a student has definitely been discovering all the little benefits that and ISIC student card gives you, even in the most unexpected of places. I have taken advantage of my ISIC to get discounts on train tickets, bus tickets, public transport passes, and even some fast food chains offer student discounts. (Completely unrelated, but did you know that professors here use sponges to clean the chalkboards? I had never seen that before coming to Europe. It is quite amusing.)

As of the time of writing, I have spent about 6 months living as a student in Prague, and although my academic journey is just beginning, I can already tell many of the benefits that studying in Charles University – and the Czech Republic in general – has. Not only do we have access to many investigation centres, research institutes, laboratories, professionals in the field just inside the university, but a higher education diploma from the EU is one of the most recognized certificates of education all around the world. Even from my bachelors, so many doors are already opening themselves to me, and I have no doubt these will be the most formative years of my life.

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