Pavel Býček is the head of the International Office at TBU in Zlín, where he has been working since 2013. He is also a member of the national steering committees such as Erasmus+ and Study in the Czech Republic. These programs focus mainly on evolving processes of Erasmus+ mobilities and studies of international students in the Czech Republic. Pavel graduated from the Faculty of Humanities and Faculty of Management and Economics, both at Tomas Bata University in Zlín. | UTB
How did you end up working at the International Office?
I don’t believe too much in fate. Nevertheless, it is probably a part of the reason why I am working here. In 2011 I went on my first and unfortunately last Erasmus+ study stay* at the University of Central Lancashire in England. At that time, I had started thinking about how satisfying it must be to help young and ambitious students make their dreams come true by assisting them to study abroad.
In those days, the idea of working for the International Office was far away from reality. Nonetheless, it attracted me. While finishing my postgraduate degree, I applied for an internship at TBU. Somehow, I ended up at the International Office, and soon after, I got an offer for a full-time job. My first position was as a coordinator for incoming students which was a very fulfilling job. Thanks to that position, I had the opportunity to meet many inspiring young people from around the world.
Why do you like working for the International Office?
I think what makes me excited the most is the diversity of tasks. In my case, I deal to a large extent with International projects focusing on mobility or the university’s international environment development. The International Office also deals with incoming and outcoming students, staff mobility, admission of international students to study programs in English, integration services for incoming students, international marketing, organizing summer schools, and many more. I believe that we are the most flexible and adaptable department at the whole university. We have to deal with everything – starting from the communication with students and employees in Czech and also in English (sometimes in other languages as well) to project management and administration work that goes with it, cooperation with the accounting office, through the crisis management, especially in the recent years during the pandemic and war in Ukraine.
We are one of the few departments at the university that cooperates with the whole university (with literally every office).
Nonetheless, the most fulfilling feeling is to see a satisfied student who grew academically and also as a person during his/her studies or internship abroad. Another benefit is meeting people across the whole world and sometimes you can even travel abroad for a business trip.
Is there anything that can use some improvement in your field?
Of course! We are spending a lot of time trying to find a way how to improve processes, so they meet the criteria of the 21st century. We are aiming to digitalize every aspect of the communication and administration work. Any time soon, an initiative from the European Commission, “Erasmus Without Paper” should be implemented. This project aims to make the administrative process of Erasmus+ easier by shifting it to its digital form. It is very challenging. However, we should follow trends.
Personally, I don’t like excuses that certain things are unrealistic just because it has been done this way for a long time. If there’s any idea how to make something more effective that guarantees the simplification of processes or the improvement of services, then it needs to be supported. In the last few years, we were able to finish amazing projects such as xchange.utb.cz, apply.utb.cz or international.utb.cz and many more. Also, we are more consistent on our social media, so don’t forget to check them out.
Currently, we are working on two more projects focusing on digitalization and the promotion of mobility, so stay tuned. Our main goal is to keep improving services to our students, which is paying off as each year, more students are coming here to study or study abroad. At the same time, we manage to maintain the quality of services to foreign students, despite the fact that their number is constantly growing. That is another challenge.
You are quite young to be the head of the International Office. Isn’t it challenging?
I don’t think I’m that young. Actually, I’m 33 years old. Nonetheless, it is true that when I started working here, I was one of the youngest in the lead of an office across all the Czech universities. There is a possibility that I still am the youngest one. Even though I am younger, I think I have my colleague’s respect. In my opinion, the correct mindset in the office is more important than age. It has many advantages, such as having a dynamic team that tries to develop innovations and new activities. Of course, everyone who works here has an essential influence on this.
What do you do in your free time?
I have numerous hobbies, but most are related to sports and traveling. My passion is mountain hiking, but I also enjoy an active seaside holiday. For over 20 years, I have been playing volleyball but besides that, I like to go for a run and stay active in general. At the end of the day, I have an office job, so it requires me to be active in my free time. In 2019 I made my dream come true and finished a marathon. Obviously, I like to torture myself, so my next goal is another marathon but this time in the mountains.
When it comes to music, I prefer rock. My parents always listened to this style of music (Kiss, Scorpions, Slade, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, and so on), which also imprinted on me. In primary and secondary school, I probably listened most to Blink 182, Offspring, and Iné Kafe. I really enjoy Kings of Leon at the moment. Other than that, I like going to the theatre where I prefer comedies, especially by Jára Cimrman. As for books, I prefer thrillers and sci-fi. I am a Star Wars fan. At the moment my favorite TV series is The Boys.
What do you look for in the future?
Maybe I’m just being too naive, but I want to live in a peaceful world without wars. That everyone has enough freedom to fulfill their potential and dreams. Also, I wish we would not be affected by covid anymore, so we could stay in our “normal” life and travel. And to TBU, I want to continue raising its international reputation and offer even more exciting opportunities for international students and partners. And for myself, lots of health and love.
*During my studies, students were allowed to participate only in one study mobility and internship. Currently, our students can attend study programs or internships at every degree level (bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral program) for 12 months abroad.
Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram here. | UTB