Karel Mejzlik is very much a world citizen. Born in Slovakia, he was educated in Prague, studied in Canada and teaches Spanish language and Hispanic culture.

He graduated from Anglo-American University in 2005, and began his career as a teacher. He has worked at both high schools and language schools, and has taught both English and Spanish. Currently, he works at AG Stepanka, a gymnasium here in Prague.

His education and his academic journey have enabled him to be the difference he would like to see.

“During my stay in Canada, I was impressed with the way the teachers treated the students at Global Village school. I was thinking that it would be nice to study in a similar way, so different from the ‘90s style of Czech grammar schools, where some teachers seemed to enjoy humiliating students – and then I went to an AAU open house day, and I liked what I saw.”

He was particularly drawn to the humanities and social sciences. That faculty, he says, allowed him to study along his broad range of interests, including social history, anthropology and economics. Even to today, he still recalls the lecturers as a central strength of AAU.

“Thanks to Dr. Douglas Dix’s amazing course ‘Holocaust and its Representation,’ I really realized the dimension of historical atrocities, and then it led me to pursue the topic and discover authors like W. Frankl.”

“I went to an AAU open house, and I liked what I saw.”

After AAU, he continued with many local trainings and courses at different schools, all with an eye to pedagogy and education. Because there is a niche in the market for it, Spanish became his focus.

At Stepanska, he not only teaches the language, but also prepares a wide range of activities, including week-long trips to Madrid, courses in Spain and the “Day of Hispanic Culture.”

Though he finds it rewarding work, being a teacher in Czech Republic has its challenges. “Czech teachers do not get the credit they deserve, and the cuts of Czech governments affect our salaries. I would (also) love to work with smaller groups of students; it is quite challenging to work with groups of 18, 20 students when you teach a foreign language.”

That said, when you work hard and love your job, then transmitting the love of studying, learning and discovering to your students is payment in spades.

The lessons learnt at AAU – both in and out of the classroom – continue to help him find new horizons.

“First and foremost, I became a stronger person in terms of having more self-confidence. I also learnt that you can enjoy your studies. If you want to be a success, you have to work hard. You have to accept that there will be ups and downs, but you will always be learning something.”

So enjoy the ride.

“And enjoy your studies, it is a privilege that young people do not have in many countries in the world.”

Publication date: May 15, 2014