Mendel University offers College of Agriculture students a semester abroad

Cameron RoigIn the second largest city in the Czech Republic sits Mendel University, an agricultural college named after Gregor Mendel who was a botanist dubbed, “the father of genetics.”

In partnership with the College of Agriculture, Mendel University allows students to study a semester abroad while taking classes in English that are transferred toward an LSU degree.

The city of Brno - which is not large by American standards - is still big enough to confuse a newcomer, said Cameron Roig, agricultural business junior in the LSU College of Agriculture currently spending the 2017-2018 academic year at Mendel University.

To acclimate visiting students, the International Office at Mendel University created a Welcome Week program that gave students a grasp of home for the next year, Roig said.

The first day of Welcome Week, students were given a presentation and tour of campus. The following day, an exploration of the city took students from the Church of St. James to the public transportation office to obtain long-term bus passes.

Streets in Brno are covered in cobblestone, bustling tram lines and towering Gothic-style churches, and the city is only a short distance to neighboring European towns.

The last days of Welcome Week found students at the famous Macocha Abyss (at right)  that is about one hour’s drive away from Brno and to the Lednice Chateau.

Roig has classes primarily in the business department, and he says the teaching style is different from what he is accustomed to. Classes are divided into seminars and lectures, and students alternate between days with no class and days with class lasting until evening.

The University staff is small, but they are extremely helpful and readily available to answer all questions, he said.

Despite its differences, the University does have similarities with America’s institutions. According to Roig, professors recommend literature for extra assistance and are always available to discuss confusing topics.

“Overall, my time spent in the Czech Republic has been quite positive.” Roig said. “I feel welcomed by staff, have ample opportunities to explore the city as well as neighboring countries and enjoy the experiences of working and living with people from all over the world.”