Interview with Tereza Zyklová

Luděk Jirka, Tereza Zyklová

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Interview with Tereza Zyklová



Born in 1994 in Hradec Králové, she studied Transcultural Communication in 2013-2019

What made you decide to study Transcultural Communication?
Already during my secondary school attendance, I decided to leave my hometown and study journalism. I wanted to major in a fairly desirable combination of two-subject fields – journalism and sociology, which was offered by Masaryk University in Brno. I was rather afraid of the Scio tests (only those who pass them can study at Masaryk University), so I also looked for a “safer“ option. I came across Transcultural Communication, which offered attractive media studies, political sciences and other interesting humanities-oriented subjects. I decided to submit an application for this study field as well. Eventually, I was admitted the University in Brno but, just for fun, I went for an interview which was a part of the entrance examination for those who wanted to study Transcultural Communication. And I came home excited about it. The interview was far away from being impersonal. That was an interview with the people who completely got me with their energy, thinking and attitude. In the end, I stayed in my hometown. Of course, other life events were also important at that moment, but the interview was the decisive factor. It gave me the impression that those people really cared about me, and I got really captivated by those people.

How do you evaluate your studying of Transcultural Communication? Was it beneficial for you?
Studying was definitely fruitful for me. It explained practical things, things around me. I learned how to argue, how to process information. I also gained a deeper insight not only into the funniest issues learnt at secondary school, such as political science, interpersonal relationships, symbolism and the context of the historical events whose consequences affect us up to now. … That was fun. At the same time, it was not just a free gift, that was not an easy study. Although I had something to build on, there were a lot of new things. However, there was a minimum number of the subjects that I really bothered with. Nevertheless, I ended up studying for an extra-long time. But that was my fault. For the first two years, everything went according to the plan, and my studies completely engulfed me thanks to my teachers and the courses. At the beginning of the third study year, however, I went to South Korea, which is why I extended my studies… Never mind.

So was the study beneficial for your personal development as well?
Studying was really beneficial, nearly transformational for me. Although I think that my secondary school teachers were very inspiring and provided me with very good fundamentals, Transcultural Communication made me much more self-confident. For example, it developed my ability to work with resources, thanks to which I was then able to be successful in discussions with top experts and to keep up with them. I could draw from my studies both intellectually and in the sphere of my life values. The development of critical thinking and understanding the context was very important, as well as thinking about topics such as help, solidarity, morality and others, which helped me to reveal what is important to me.

What does Transcultural Communication mean to you?
In fact, I have already got a little practice in explaining that. Everyone asks. Unfortunately, that does not mean I can explain that well. Figuratively, for me it means building bridges between differences, for example between different cultures. Moreover, the prefix “trans” means “over” – it is not like “inter,” (i.e. “between”) – it is just “over” all the differences, it covers the differences and says that they are OK. That it is OK to be different, that it is even important. Connecting is also the key factor. This concerns, for example, giving help in communication between technologists and linguists, who otherwise may not always understand each other. For me, transcultural communication is about building bridges, for example those between technologists and linguists.

Which teacher has left the biggest imprint on you?
This question is really unfair. Definitely, it has been Mrs. Jana Karlová, who is a real expert and the right person in the right place. She explained everything in a simple way, so that even the greatest ignorant would understand it, but at the same time she gave a certain depth to the topic, connecting and putting it into context. At the same time, she was such a mother for us, she took care of us and helped us when we needed such a help. That is basically what I am doing now within my team as the team coordinator. Then I fell in love also with Petr Mikoška, and with Zdenka Sokolíčková, the supervisor of my bachelor thesis. She was absolutely unbelievable, well-educated and literate, and still she looked like our classmate. And also the head of our department was… I do not know how to express it. He was just great. Thanks to him, I will forever know, for example, how the Czech collocation “hokus pokus” came into being. He was able to explain everything perfectly to us and to impress us with his knowledge of history. No one ever dared to haggle with him; he was simply a real authority. Well, I nearly forgot about Mr. Burda – he is the face of the department, a strong personality who made a strong impression on us already during the very first meeting. Only there did we just stare at what is possible to know. We all remember his perfectly presented presentations even years after his lectures. And I must have forgotten a lot of wonderful teachers…

Why did you choose to work for Deloitte?
I took that as a challenge. I wanted to try something new. Before that, I worked as an intern in the media department of People in Need, where I eventually got a job offer, which was my dream goal. It was an ideal scenario, but then Deloitte came up with something nearly completely different. And I told myself: Why not to make a try? Well, not to make an impression of a complete fool, I need to explain the context. Having returned from Seoul, whose population is ten million, I and Lenka Bednářová (a friend with whom I was in Korea) needed to live a big city. Hradec Králové was too small for us. And so we moved to Prague because we also believed that it would be easier to get a job there. For two years, we worked, for example, as lectors of primary prevention of risky behaviour, simultaneously finishing exams and working on our bachelor’s degree theses. Later, when the number of exams decreased, a full-time job seemed desirable, so we applied for various jobs. It took two or three months before anyone even called us, because we had not completed our bachelor’s degree studies, and a university degree was a must. That was not about studying the wrong field, it was just about a university degree. In the end, I decided to start from the bottom – first to apply for internships for which a degree was not necessary. After that, offers of paid cooperation and finally job offers basically appeared by themselves. No one bothered about my (fortunately temporary) missing bachelor’s degree. The most relevant factors were personality, foreign experience and communication skills. University studies were one of the interview topics, but no one went into depth. Everyone considered that in their own way. To be honest, I think that hearing of Transcultural Communication, people usually perceive and focus on merely communication, which is fortunately quite relevant when you apply for a position related to the media, coordination of people or marketing projects. Then, the institution of the Faculty of Education was somehow well-known to everyone. And when someone asked about the word “transcultural“, I used my “elaborated” definition referring to the bridges. But nobody asked about my qualifications in sociology or anthropology. Specifically, during the interview with Deloitte, the practice I had already experienced during my studies played a big role – my study stays abroad, various internships and projects in which had been hyperactively involved since the beginning of my studies because I enjoyed trying different things and roles and looking for what I would enjoy one day. Without foreign experience, however, I would probably not have succeeded, because our CEO, Senta Čermáková, demanded it from all applicants. Moreover, the interview was conducted in English. But if South Korea had not been mentioned in my CV, I probably would not have even been invited for an interview. That is why I personally do not really understand students who are not interested in Erasmus programme and similar internships and studies abroad.

What are your life goals?
My life goals have never been completely clear. In general, I want to help people, which is why I started in the non-profit sector. Helping other people charges me and makes sense to me. But you can help me in different ways, from different places, often more effectively or just differently than I thought before. In fact, I am letting everything flow at the moment; it seems that opportunities are rather looking for me now. But it is important for me to keep learning and revealing new things. I have never dreamed of being so close to technology and business (and especially to the largest personalities in the branch). Anyway, I am very grateful for this two and a half years´ opportunity. Deloitte allowed me to move and learn; it made me connected with Google and other inspiring companies and people.

Which jobs have your university mates found?
Relatively a lot of them have found employment in the educational sphere, others started working in low-threshold facilities for the socially excluded. The Lenka mentioned above, for example, has become a coordinator of assistants for mentally disadvantaged people in sheltered housing; and I think she is very satisfied there. Another colleague works in a kindergarten and she has finished her pedagogical qualifications. I can also mention one colleague who works in a bank, communicates with clients every day and helps them solve their problems. But it is individual. Some of my colleagues have become mothers.

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Interview with Tereza Zyklová