Winter School: Online and interdisciplinary

Photo: Vojtěch Duda
Monday 25 January 2021, 7:00 – Text: Eva Hrudníková

Winter School Central Europe 2021, which has started this week, offers two thematic programmes to foreign students. The first, Central Europe and European Integration, was prepared by the UP Faculty of Law, while the other programme, Central European History and Culture, was set up by the Department of History at the UP Faculty of Arts. This year the winter school is online and will last two weeks. Two dozen students are taking part.

Winter School Central Europe 2021 is coordinated and organised by the UP International Relations Office. “Each of the programmes has its own students and its own lectures. Accompanying activities are shared by both groups. Due to the epidemic, we had to move everything to the online environment, so they are meeting on the MS Teams platform,” said Niels Hexspoor from the International Relations Office, adding that the Faculty of Law has been organising this programme for the fourth time. “The Central European History and Culture programme reflects the contents of the popular summer school, which has been running since 2017. This year, for the first time, we opened this course in the winter, too.”

The Faculty of Law organised the previous years of the winter school only for Chinese students of various faculties and disciplines. “This year we opened it on-line to our partner universities. As a result, law students prevail among our participants. So we have adjusted the content of our lectures, as this allowed us to go deeper from the academic point of view,” said Martin Faix, Vice-Dean for Foreign Relations at the UP Faculty of Law. The largest numbers of enrolled students are from universities in Zurich and Copenhagen.

Students in the Central Europe and European Integration programme will be taught, for instance, by Petra Měšťánková, Ondřej Filipec, and Lucie Tungul from the Department of Political and Social Sciences, and by Václav Stehlík from the Department of International and European Law, the current dean of the Faculty of Law. Individual programme blocks will be dedicated to themes such as the history of European integration, the bodies and institutions of the European Union, and the EU’s foreign policy and trade.

Activities such as the winter school are of high importance to the Faculty of Law. “It is an opportunity for the first direct contact with foreign students – we’re getting a chance to convince them of the qualities of our faculty and the uniqueness of Olomouc. The winter school may inspire them to apply one day to study in one of our programmes in English,” added Faix.

Those interested in the Central European History and Culture programme include students from Switzerland, Turkey, Romania, and China. The two weeks of online education will make them acquainted with the historical development and culture of Central Europe, with an emphasis on the Czech context, from early Christianity to modern history of the 20th century. They will also be provided with insight into the totalitarian era. Five members of the Department of History prepared their presentations for the winter school – Martin Elbel, Antonín Kalous, Jitka Kohoutová, Lukáš Perutka, and Jan Stejskal. All of them have abundant international experience. “As in our summer schools, we have based the selection and content of our lectures on our Master’s degree programme Euroculture, one of the Erasmus Mundus programmes,” added Kalous, head of the Department of History.

Winter School Central Europe 2021 will run until 5 February. International students will receive four internationally recognised ECTS credits after successful completion of the Central Europe and European Integration programme, and five credits for the Central European History and Culture programme.

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