Karolina Liskovcova: More About the Y7 Summit

Read the original interview on euroskop.cz

On how to be motivated and successful and the problems young people in Czechia and other European countries nowadays have to face.

According to Karolina, everything begins in high school. Youth is this period of life where young people go through many changes and create their views on the world that can change and change again every year. It is essential to realize that everything takes time; you don’t need to do everything now. It is all right to change your views and not to hurry into things. According to Karolina, one shouldn’t fear change, mostly abandoning what no longer makes her/him full or happy. Today’s young people need to have not only motivation but also patience. 

Czech education in international comparison

At the Y7 Summit, Karolina focused primarily on Education, during which she used her experience from the variety of school systems she got to know. According to Karolina, the Czech system, even though often criticized, can give young people some reasonable factual knowledge basis for development. 

However, there is a substantial issue in bridging Education with actual “adult” life, including inadaptability for the current demand at the labour market and low financial literacy. Students are also not taught to think analytically about facts they learn, only to cite them.

 “Young people in Czechia have immense potential, and we should nurture and support more ambition for them to ‘go global.’ Czechia is a great place to live in and return to, but going abroad at least for an exchange is fantastic for all the things one can learn from such an experience.” Says Liskovcova.

“Of course, it requires courage, but it is a shame not to try if someone has the chance. We got the Erasmus+ programme for instance, or even two-weeks summer schools. An important part of this is the financial situation of the students, however. The Erasmus+ programme is amazing because it comes with a scholarship for everyone participating. Although, for some, even the sum from the EU isn’t enough to go on an exchange to some more expensive countries. It is crucial that the government supports the students going abroad and enables youth from disadvantaged backgrounds to undertake such experience. For instance, what is great is the summer school programs that are supported by some Czech universities.” She adds.

Importance of extracurricular activities 

The activities outside school also play an essential part in young people’s development. “Today’s students have lots of possibilities. The main thing is not to be afraid to try new things, suppressing fears of embarrassment. Participation in such activities also depends on teachers, though. “Modern” teachers, supporting such activities and who can re-shape the old school system, are still rare. We should motivate teachers and improve conditions to diversify and modernize the methods and encourage young people to become teachers themselves. 

Regarding the school + extracurricular activities, everyone needs to go at her/his own, sustainable pace, however. “It is connected to mental health. It is a serious topic abroad, even taken to extremes sometimes, but it is important to react to prepare the floor we need to debate and openly speak about mental health, in Czechia, and everywhere else. In Czechia, it is still a taboo.” Her advice to young people is not to exhaust oneself. It is essential not to go anxious because of all the opportunities you want to seize but cannot do all at once. 

Do students need internships?

“I, for instance, undertook an internship at the Czech MFA, where I took over Instagram and other public diplomacy-related action. Internships are amazing, giving much needed practical experience of what you should expect from the daily work in your future job. However, especially related to the public sphere, not everyone has the means to undertake an unpaid internship. It is not fair, though, because you need to have the experience to show your future employer. In the Y7 Communiqué, we underlined the need to ban unpaid internships and provide students with at least the market basket measure pay. Moreover, if someone does such an internship, it should be highly appreciated as it shows just how much the students want to get the experience.” It especially applies to young people in the regions that would have to travel to do an internship in the capital. 

“It is true that regarding career prospects and internships, the regions’ situation is much harder.” Regarding the regions in Czechia, they also have great potential, and it is remarkable what the EU does in terms of regional support, which still isn’t something people automatically realize.

“If someone is motivated, she/he also needs to know how to show the potential; we do not learn that so much. And it is especially hard for young women. We do not support each other enough as opposed to men. Women need to realize that one woman’s success is not a failure of another, but on the contrary, it is an inspiration for all.”

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