In-house International Support Office serves expat Masaryk University employees
Masaryk University has an in-house support centre to assist international staff. Pictured: the Faculty of Medicine building, credit: Masaryk University // archive.muni.
Brno, Mar 30 (BD) – In an effort to make the transition to life in Brno easier for visiting academics and researchers, Masaryk University (MU) has opened an in-house support service for its international staff.
Established in January of 2017 under the supervision of Sylvie Pospíšilová, the International Support Office (ISO) is somewhat of a rarity among Central European universities in that it personally assists international employees instead of outsourcing these services to external relocation agencies.
As Pospíšilová explained to Brno Daily in a recent interview, the high number of international recruits to MU and the complexity of navigating the Czech bureaucratic system created a need for the ISO.
“You can’t really let [international staff] go there by themselves because of the language barrier, and the complexity of registration processes,” remarked Pospíšilová. “So we try to help, and the office assistant now, Katka, who actually goes there with them, interprets, and she’s also responsible for [arranging] accommodations if they are interested.”
Dr Sylvie Pospíšilová worked for the MU-associated CEITEC Welcome Services for four years before MU decided to open its own support centre. Credit: Masaryk University // archive.muni.
The ISO can help newly hired Masaryk University employees from abroad in arranging visas, finding accommodations, meeting legal obligations, navigating bureaucracy, and taking care of the necessities of life, like education, banking, health, transport (or driving) and recreation.
Pospíšilová, who ran Welcome Services for the Central European Institute of Technology (CEITEC) before MU decided to open the in-house ISO, stresses that the ISO’s activities are not just limited to assisting new recruits in getting settled in.
“It’s not only before they arrive and immediately after arrival, it’s throughout the whole stay. It’s mostly family issues: moving in, moving out, extending their stay, all kinds of things,” she explained.
MU hires international academics and researchers from a variety of disciplines on a year-round basis, but the highest demand is in the natural sciences. (Current openings can be viewed here.)
“The highest number is in the Faculty of Science, mainly life sciences, then the Faculty of Medicine, then it’s the Faculty of Arts, they also have a good number of international people, and the Faculty of Social Studies,” said Pospíšilová.
The ISO is currently located at CEITEC headquarters on Koliště Street, but international MU employees interested in taking advantage of the ISO’s services are encouraged to check their website before visiting, as they will be relocating to an MU building near the city centre in the near future.
Students at Masaryk University are advised that the ISO is for employees only. Students requiring assistance can inquire through the specific faculties in which they are studying. (Links to the individual faculty websites can be found here).
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