As the crystal-like, feather-light, glimmering snowflakes touched my skin, and the rays of shimmering winter-sun peaked through the fluffy, grey curtain in the sky – I was certain that I had woken up in the middle of a fairytale dream.
As a child, I dreamed of travelling the world, flying first-class, and dining in the finest restaurants around; little did I know that it would one day become a reality.
My story began 2 days after Christmas, as I was on my way home from a Sunday morning Church service, when there, in front of me, stood a guardian angel, certainly sent from above. After indulging in a mouthwatering lunch and receiving what seemed like an overflow of information, my mind was made up; Czech Republic would soon be the place that I would call home. I began my application process for a full-time Bachelor’s degree study in International Cooperation in Agriculture and Rural Development (ICARD), at the Czech University of Life Sciences, in the Faculty of Tropical AgriSciences, in January 2019. It was a comforting relief, knowing that I could study in English, even though I had already begun self-study of the beautiful, mysterious Czech language.
What had me convinced most about pursuing a career in this field – coming from a strong sales, marketing, and managerial background – was the interdisciplinary nature of the degree. The University’s authentic, historical background and unprecedented importance in the Agriculture industry within the Czech Republic was assurance enough that I would acquire valuable information in fields related not only to ‘life sciences’ but most importantly in agriculture. What stood out for me most is the multiple courses relating to rural development and poverty alleviation; courses highly relevant in making an impact in the lives and livelihoods of the rural people (9,928,163 of 14,645,460 (FAO 2019)) in my country. This was of paramount importance to me, as Zimbabwe depends greatly on agriculture, as a source of income/livelihood – with the majority of the working class (about 66.19% (World Bank 2019)) employed in the sector.
The application process was a bump-free experience, thanks to the Study and International Relations Departments, whose able, friendly, helpful staff were always hands-on and more than willing to assist in every way possible. Even though the procedure was a mentally strenuous one that demanded my full attention and commitment, as well as street-smarts, I was able to apply with only my High School certificates/transcripts, and an immaculately written motivation letter. This was a major plus for me, as other Universities have a wide range of other requirements, thus hindering greatly ones’ chances of having the opportunity to study their desired degrees across various disciplines. I was able to meet the deadline and fulfil all requirements (see the requested requirements HERE), in a thorough and timely manner. After submitting my application, together with all necessary documentation needed – the nail-biting wait began. I was overjoyed when after only a few weeks I received a positive response; time flew by so swiftly and before I knew it, it was time to travel to the Czech Embassy in the beautiful Republic of Zambia, for my VISA application. My 4-day-stay was an amazing one. I enjoyed every moment of it, with the highlight of my trip being able to get a chance to meet with my long-time friends and reminisce about the ‘good-old-days’. The Embassy staff was amazing and their service second to none. I received my VISA in less than 30-days, and without a shadow of a doubt, I was certain that, I would soon be soaring through the clouds – Prague bound.
On the 18th of October 2019, I was awoken by a carpet of golden lights; I had touched down at Vaclav Havel Airport, and I knew now that ‘my journey to a fairy-tale land’ had only just begun.
Today, exactly 1 year, 6 months, and 19 days later I am happily residing in Prague (Kolej BCD), attending classes at CZU, and working on my Bachelor's thesis (Agricultural Programs Affecting Food Security and Sustainability In Zimbabwe) – supervised by the well-accomplished Ing et. Ing William Nkomoki Ph.D., whom I met for the first time when taking Agricultural Market Information and Systems (AMIS) course, during my 3rd Semester. I have not for a moment regretted my move to the Czech Republic, right in the heart of Europe. Its majestic castles, cobbled streets, evergreen countrysides, snow-topped mountains, and very reliable transport system are a world apart from my beautiful, warm nation of Zimbabwe.
This is the place I now call home and I am honoured to be here in this exalted fairytale land.
If you or someone you know would like to study in Prague, you can visit the ČZU website HERE to discover all the BSc, MSc, and Ph.D. programs this fine institution has to offer.
Picture credit: Safiyya Cavatina Kassim