A Student Fulfills Her Dream. From
Ostrava to Study Neuroscience in Germany.
Veronika Šigutová is studying for a doctorate specializing in Parkinson’s disease at the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität in Germany, which is the third country she has studied in after graduating
from the 1st International School of Ostrava (ISO). She recently won the “Talent of the Year” award.
How did studying at 1st ISO affect her and how did it help her achieve success in life? That’s not all
she talked about in the interview below.
Why did you decide to study in Germany?
What study opportunities does this country
I decided to go to Germany after it became
clear how the negative impact Brexit is
going to have on PhD funding for European
students. The conditions for postgraduate
students in the UK were already less than
ideal: as a PhD student you still have student
status, so your ‘income’ is just a scholarship
that you can barely get by with. What’s more is
that you don’t have the rights of an employee
that typically come with an employment
contract. In this regard, Germany is one of
the best countries for PhD students: I get
the same privileges as all employees (e.g.
holidays) and I can save up a little every
month. The quality of the research plays an
important role as well. Germany has a huge
neuroscience community at the top level and
even in our “small” lab I can collaborate with
researchers from all over the world.
Which university are you studying at? What
does it take for a Czech student to get into
such a University?
I am a PhD student in neuroscience at
Friedrich-Alexander-Universität in Erlangen.
Our lab specializes in understanding
neurodegenerative diseases and I personally
specialize in Parkinson’s disease, which is
the second most common neurodegenerative
disease after Alzheimer’s. What specifically
interests me about this disease, is how the
inflammatory environment in the body can
contribute to the triggering or exacerbation
of the disease.
At a master’s and doctoral level, admission
to German Universities is not that difficult.
Most courses are offered in English, so you
just need to provide proof of language skills,
previous diplomas and a list of courses,
including grades. The biggest advantage of
attending a German school is the free tuition.
You have recently received an important
award from the city of Ostrava. What does
this award mean to you?
I won the “Talent of the Year” award. This
award is given annually to University students
residing in Ostrava who have achieved
outstanding academic and research results,
such as scientific publications or placing
in competitions. The award carries with it
a monetary reward, but more importantly, it
not be where I am
without the 1 ISO.
shows me that I am on the right track with my
research, even if it doesn’t always feel like it in
my everyday laboratory life.
You are a graduate of the 1st ISO. How did
the school help you to achieve your success?
Studying at the 1st ISO was a major factor
leading to my decision to study abroad. Our
multicultural group has always made me
see the world from different perspectives,
and has definitely made me more tolerant
and open-minded. The International
Baccalaureate, with its flexibility in subject
choice and emphasis on independent, logical
and creative thinking, suited me perfectly
and prepared me very well for University
study in England. I have met some great
teachers during my studies who have always
supported my passions and pushed me to
strive higher. It is thanks to these teachers that
I owe part of my intense interest in science,
poetry and art. In short: I would not be
where I am today without the 1st ISO.
Veronika, thank you for the interview.
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