Students attended presentations focusing on French companies, opportunities for study, internships and employment. “Just like France is attractive for Czech students, the Czech Republic is attractive for the French,” said the French Ambassador, H. E. Alexis Dutertre.
On Monday 23 October, the campus of the University of West Bohemia hosted the second edition of Rendez-vous à la française, or A French Rendez-Vous, an event organised by the UWB together with the French Embassy. Students of the UWB and of secondary schools from Plzeň, Rokycany and Klatovy attended presentations by French companies focusing on opportunities to study in France and internships and employment at French companies in the Plzeň Region.
Before the event, the UWB Vice-Rector for Creative Activities and Doctoral Studies Jiří Hammerbauer welcomed at the Rector’s Office the French Ambassador, H. E. Alexis Dutertre, the Scientific and Higher Education Attachée Véronique Debord-Lazaro and the French Language Attachée Bruno Girardeau. They sat at one table with the Faculty of Arts’ Vice-Dean for Study Affairs, Helena Horová. They mainly talked about student and staff exchanges. “We want to support both student and researcher mobility. In the case of students, there was a particular focus on ongoing mobility from the Czech Republic to France,” explained Alexis Dutertre about the main purpose of the event.
Vice-Rector Hammerbauer informed the delegates about student mobility and mentioned that in this academic year, the UWB is hosting 44 French students as part of an exchange programme. “But we work with our French partners also on many research projects that include exchanges of staff and doctoral students, both in technical sciences and the humanities,” he said. He also mentioned a recent success of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, which this month received a certification ofthe International Atomic Energy Agency and is preparing a study programme on Nuclear Engineering Management.
The main programme of A French Rendez-Vous was hosted by the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, in whose building the Vice-Rector and the Ambassador addressed a lecture hall full of university and secondary school students. They were all united by an interest in France, French culture and French language.
“The University of West Bohemia has been cooperating with the French Republic and its institutions for many years. We teach French at the Institute of Applied Language Studies and at the Faculty of Arts; our students routinely take advantage of the Erasmus+ programme and double degree study programmes and successfully obtain French scholarships. We work together on many research projects and grants; Czech and French teams collaborate in IT, energy, material sciences, diagnostics, the environment and health sciences. We are also one of the member universities of the EUPeace European alliance,” said Vice-Rector Hammerbauer about the university.
The French Ambassador welcomed the attendees by debunking some of the common myths about stays in France. “I have to emphasise that in order to study in France, you don’t have to speak fluent French, even though speaking the language and understanding French culture is of course an advantage. France is currently offering about a thousand Master’s degree programmes that are entirely in English,” he said. “I also have to say that just like France is attractive for Czech students, the Czech Republic is attractive for the French. Right now, there are about 1,800 French students in the Czech Republic, and about 600 Czechs in France,” he added.
Graduates of the “Un an en France” programme for secondary school students and “Erasmus+” shared their experiences from their study stay in France. The Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Arts Helena Horová and Pavla Kocourková from the Institute of Applied Language Studies talked about the French language and its use in practice; Jana Kozlová, director of the French Alliance in Pilsen, presented the activities of her organisation. Hana Delalande from Masaryk University introduced her project that created an Interactive Map of the French Language.
The first part of the programme was concluded by Věra Fikarová, Sales Manager of Preciosa, Romana Dušil, the CEO of Pierre Fabre for the Czech Republic and Slovakia and Milan Listík from the Listik Legal law firm. “When hiring, we take English for granted these days, but knowledge of French is something that differentiates you from other candidates and is seen as a valuable bonus,” said Roman Dušil. “I’m sure I’m not the only attorney in the Czech Republic who speaks French, but the fact that I spent some time in France, understand French culture and speak without an accent makes communication with French-speaking clients much easier and often opens doors that remain closed to others,” said Milan Listík.
Rendez-vous à la française continued with workshops on how to write a CV and a cover letter or pass a job interview in French; after a break, there was a workshop where participants learned how to find an internship in France.
In the corridors of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, stands of the companies Safran, Forvia, Faiveley Transport, Wabtec, Bluelink, Oxymetal, Total Energies, Hutchinson and Komerční banka were available until the afternoon. The French-Czech Chamber of Commerce was also represented.