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Aygun Aliyeva 

Master’s in Public and Social Policy and Human Resources, graduated in 2023

coming from Azerbaijan, currently working in Brno as a HR Coordinator

interviewed by Michaela Nespěchalová, January 2024

  1. Can you share some highlights of your time at the Faculty of Social Studies? What aspects of the program or specific courses had a significant impact on you?

Even though my master program is very new, it was rich with valuable and up to date knowledge; and competence level of professors was very impressive. It was always easy to reach out to them; they were always very responsive and willing to assist with everything.

I especially liked the class Gender and Labour Market in Different European Contexts. We always had captivating and engaging talks with our lecturer and peers. The lecturers' unique approach, which involved a lot of work to make the lesson memorable, creative and interesting was really appreciated. The group works subjects and presentations were full of fresh knowledge for many of us, and they were always leading to heated discussions within the group.

 2. How did your academic experiences at the faculty prepare you for your current career or further studies?

Currently, I am working as HR Coordinator in one international company in Brno and I would say one of the skills I gained from the faculty that helped me a lot was working in groups and presenting different topics which eventually gave me confidence in public speaking and also helped me with academic writing both of which are extremely useful in my current role.

 3. Were there any specific professors or mentors who influenced your academic and professional journey? How did they contribute to your development?

Though I had a lot of great professors, I would like to specifically mention Tomas Sirovatka and Blanka Plasova.

Professor Tomas Sirovatka demonstrated the highest level of expertise and understanding of the subjects he taught. He also supervised my thesis and thanks to his constant support, continuous guidance and profound knowledge I was able to write the high-quality thesis paper.

I also really liked Blanka Plasova's distinctive teaching style and welcoming approach. I learned valuable insights from the course she delivered. It was always simple to talk to her, ask for her advice and gain the direction and perspective on personal or academic matters.

 4. Can you discuss any extracurricular activities, internships, or research opportunities you participated in during your time at the faculty? How did these experiences enhance your education?

To be honest, I didn‘t participates in many extracurricular activities, which I now regret. But I tried to attend as many ESN events as I could. My favorite way to spend Wednesdays was with Country Presentations. Because it is always a great idea to discover new cultures, traditions, and, of course, taste different cuisines. By the end of my last semester, I started to go frequently to Quiz Nights, which were both educational and entertaining. Oh! Also, faculty barbeques were such a good way to connect with other students and professors, get to know them better and have fun together.

 5. What advice do you have for prospective students considering the Faculty of Social Studies? Are there specific skills or mindsets they should cultivate during their studies?

As I mentioned above, I was not actively participating in many faculty events, so my best advice would be to do the exact opposite – be engaged, be very active and make every effort to get the most out of the resources and events that the faculty offers.

There are a wide range of events and activities available; try to learn about them and become involved in as many as possible. It will extend your horizons and help you get fresh points of view, ways of thinking, and innovative academic perspectives.

In addition, what makes our faculty particularly valuable is being mainly focused on group projects/research and public speaking. It will definitely help you enhance your public speaking abilities, as well as how to distribute responsibilities and deliver presentations in groups. My master's program also included the ability to deal with data and statistics, as well as analytical thinking, because the majority of the subjects were focused on these.

 6. How did the faculty foster a sense of community among students? Did you find a strong support network during your time there?

I can't say much about that because I wasn't aware of many social or educational activities, events, meetings or gatherings. I feel it might be improved for students to integrate them outside of class to have more qualitative time within the faculty, which can be beneficial for their personal and professional growth and outlook.

 7. Can you share any challenges you faced during your academic journey and how you overcame them? What lessons did you learn from those experiences?

I would say that the most challenging part for me was learning new academic language and writing papers in English. My bachelor's degree is from my home country, and I received all of my education in a completely different language. So, switching language to English and learning new terms and topics in social and public policy and human resources was difficult at first, but I overcame it gradually after reading a lot of papers and books. I also found writing papers particularly difficult due to certain academic requirements, styling and terminology, but I believe my writing has much improved after practicing it and many papers about several topics for different subject.

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