He was born more than 6000 km from the Czech Republic, yet you can meet him at the Faculty of Economics. Surjeet Singh, who comes from India, works as an internal doctoral student at the Department of Economics. Why did he choose the Czech Republic for his doctoral studies? Does he like our country? What are the universities like in India? You will find all the answers to these questions in the following interview.

Why did you choose the Czech Republic as the country in which you want to study?

The Czech Republic has really good weather, the cost of living is low compared to many other European countries, and it’s one of the safest countries to live in.

Can you describe your decision-making process in more detail?

I shared my CV and research proposal with the senior researcher of VSB-TUO Prof. Mariola Pytlikova. Prof. Mariola liked my research idea and allowed me to study under her supervision at the EKF. After that, I started exploring Czechia over the web while sitting in India, and after a bit of research about the economic and social factors in Czechia, I decided to come here.

I know that you studied one year in Italy…

Yes, I studied in Italy too. I was there for my master’s degree. Throughout my academic career, I was, and still am, interested in labour economics and immigration. Therefore, after my studies in India I was searching for the possible options to pursue those topics, and I discovered that the University of Turin is offering a master’s degree with an emphasis on labour economics. I got a full scholarship and ended up studying in Italy.

So, you have two master´s degrees, one from India and one from Italy, right?

Yes, one is in economics with no emphasis on a particular subject and the other with the focus on labour economics.

I think that the university environment all over the word is quite similar.

Did you notice any differences between universities in India, Italy and here in the Czech Republic?

I didn’t notice much difference except the differences in culture and language. I think that the university environment all over the word is quite similar. But I would like to mention that my classes in Italy were comparatively intense, and that gave me an immense opportunity to learn more.

You have been living in the Czech Republic since January. What do you like the most in the Czech Republic?

The low cost of living for international students, and the helpful nature of Czech people. One former student at the Economic faculty helped me a lot to make my stay comfortable.

Do you like Ostrava city?

Yes. Ostrava is student friendly, it has a well-developed transport system, reasonable accommodation, is less noisy, and there are so many nice people.

There are definitely things you don´t like here…

Yes. Sometimes I see drunk people in the tram and streets, and I don´t like their behaviour.

You don´t see drunk people in your country?

India is quite big compared to Czechia. Therefore, I am not sure about the whole of India, but I don’t meet drunk people where I live. But my sample space is very small to reach a conclusion about the entire country.

What is your favourite Indian meal?

I like Boneless chicken curry with butter naan. Boneless chicken curry is made of Indian spices with tomato paste, ginger & garlic paste, and onion. Butter naan is made of flour and cooked in a tandoor.

There are two Indian restaurants near our faculty. How often do you go there? And do you like it there?

I go to Makalu sometimes. I like their food.

Is it real Indian food?

Not really, but you can compare it to traditional Indian food somehow. India is big country and each state has its own traditional food. 

Do you like Czech language? What can you say in Czech?

I cannot comment on whether I like the Czech language or not because I don´t understand the language. I can only say dobrý den.

Does Czech seem like a difficult language to you?

For me, yes.

Is it difficult to live here if you don´t speak Czech? Are people willing to speak English with you?

Yes, it is difficult. I am fortunate to meet people who can speak English. Though, it’s not very often. 

Zdroj fotografií: Archív respondenta