My name is Frieda, I am originally from the US (Michigan) but decided to move to Europe several years ago, living in Germany and the Netherlands before finally settling on the Czech Republic. I completed my first master’s degree in Amsterdam in 2018 and decided to take some time to travel after. During my travels, I spent a summer in Czechia and absolutely fell in love with it. And in fact, the more time I spend here, the more I come to love it – from the autumn mushroom hunting to the summer music events to the uniquely Czech “ř”. 

Why Brno?

Living in Brno affords many opportunities to travel to nearby cities and castles and to see the beautiful forests and open spaces in the Czech countryside. So far, I’ve been lucky enough to fit in day trips to see the castles in Mikulov and Lednice around my studies, as well as a couple of trips to Prague and a weekend at the Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival. It’s also only a couple of hours to Vienna which is both an excellent hub for onward travel and a destination worth visiting in its own right.

Of course, there are also many great things to do without leaving Brno. Some of my favourite places are the outdoor spaces like Lužánky and around Špilberk, or the garden at Café Podnebí. There are often little markets and cultural events in Freedom Square (Náměstí Svobody in Czech) too with music and food for sale. Brno is perfect to me as it’s big enough to always have events to keep you busy, but it still feels like a small community where you regularly run into your friends on the street.

Photo from Mikulov Castle (a little over half an hour from Brno) featuring a glass of burčák.

Why Conflict and Democracy Studies?

I chose the Conflict and Democracy Studies programme because it focuses on the potential relationships between democracy, authoritarianism, and conflict which is something that I believe is critically important and only becoming more so in the current context of democratic backsliding around the world. Despite its flaws and challenges, democracy is worth fighting for and fighting to improve—at least that’s what I believe.

The CDS programme has many excellent courses spanning a set of core topics such as Modern Technologies and Conflict, Security Systems and Actors, Political Violence, and Conflict Management. The courses follow very different structures including mock negotiations and debate-style components in addition to a standard lecture format which gives students a lot of opportunities to engage with the material and contribute to discussions.

I am now finishing up my second semester and so far, I am very pleased with the CDS programme overall. There are clear links between the courses both theoretically and practically, which is something I value very much. The instructors are also fantastic, and I really enjoy working with my colleagues who come from all over the world. The Conflict and Democracy Studies programme here at Masaryk is highly rewarding and I would recommend it to anyone interested in the inner workings of democracy and conflict (or political science more generally).

Photo from Petřín in Prague. It’s definitely worth a trip in the springtime to see the cherry blossoms!

You are running an old browser version. We recommend updating your browser to its latest version.