By: James Lamb
Name: Šárka Panochová
Hometown: České Budějovice, Czech Republic
Home Uni: Masaryk University, Brno
Year: First Year Graduate
Major: African-American Studies
Q: What made you want to come to the USA to study?
A: I wanted to come because I study American culture, so I wanted to experience the culture instead of just reading about it. I can’t study African-American studies back home at my university, because we only have an American studies department. I wanted to specialise, I wanted to focus, so that’s how I chose KU because they have the department, so that’s why I came.
Q: What is a typical day like back home? What are some of the main differences to here?
A: It’s pretty similar actually. My classes are similar, and there’s a lot of reading, and a lot of papers to write, so when I’m not in class, I do my readings, and write my papers. There’s more classes here. We have more classes to take per semester, but we don’t have to go to school twice or three times a week for each class, so the amount of time I spend in class is pretty similar but it’s structured differently. Here, we have a lot more time on our hands. But since [at home] we’re in a city, I’m used to going out a lot more in a different way though. I’m used to going to pubs for a beer just to chat with my friends, or to teahouses (we have teahouses!) which I love and I miss, where you go for like different types of teas, from China, India, Japan, wherever, and they’re really cozy places where you can play board games, and just spend time and relax, and I miss those places. Even though we have cafes around campus, and some downtown, it’s not practical for me to go for just two hours downtown to relax, because it takes a ridiculous amount of time to get there and back on the bus, it’s just…I miss that, I miss that a lot.
Q: What do you miss about home?
A: Teahouses are one thing I miss a lot because I’m used to going there a lot, every week, maybe several times. I miss the food. I miss the food a lot. I’ve been here three months and I’m already tired of this food. I’m not hiding this, it’s so true! I feel like there’s so much fast food here. I thought it was a stereotype. It’s not, it’s true. [And] there are all these different types of cuisines, but none of mine, [none of] the European type. Italian, French, or ours. Soups, I miss soups, they have like three kinds [here] and that’s it. Czech cuisine is based on soups. I love them, I miss them. [Also,] I realised this when I was in Chicago, but it’s the city that I miss. Even though it isn’t a big city [at home], it’s nothing next to Chicago, but it’s still different than Lawrence, because it’s not a college town. It’s a city, with a centre, with cafes and restaurants everywhere, with people, a lot of people, not just young people, and where you have grocery stores, and a pharmacy here, and this, and this, and that, and a pub, and the trams and buses going here and there, and, yeah. It’s just the whole concept that’s just very different.