The remarkable project UNICOMM, in which Palacký University Olomouc is an active member, stands as a leader in the interests of both the international and national student and academic society. This collaborative effort, led by the University of Warsaw as the main coordinator, the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria, the European Students' Union (Belgium), and Palacký University Olomouc, focuses on the identification of individual patterns supporting the inclusion and participation of student communities, competence development in a variety of dimensions, and more. A meticulously designed two-day intensive workshop, led by Mgr. Lucie Flekačová, Ph.D., the main UP coordinator of the project and the current director of the Support Centre for Students with Special Needs, took place from November 4 to 5, 2023.
The entire workshop unfolded within the premises of the Faculty of Physical Culture, with Mgr. Lucie Flekačová, Ph.D and Mgr. Lucie Ješinová serving as workshop coordinators. Head lecturers from the Department of Adapted Physical Activities, Mgr. Ondřej Ješina, Ph.D., and Mgr. Daniel Mikeška, along with esteemed colleagues and professionals in their respective fields, including psychologist Mgr. Kamila Banátová, Ph.D., Head of the Department of Adapted Physical Activities Prof. Mgr. Martin Kudláček, Ph.D., and colleagues from the Welcome Office, Bc. Pavel Flekač and Mr. Viktor Slávik, played pivotal roles.
With a specially tailored program, international students were encouraged to expect the unexpected, primarily delving into experiences they had not encountered before. The workshop spanned diverse locations, including lecture rooms, sports halls, outdoor spaces, and other venues, facilitating 15 hours of intensive work. This approach resulted in active participation, effective communication, and a diverse range of activities.
Participants seized the opportunity to recognize the diversity within the student society and establish connections despite any differences. Under the guidance of main lecturers Mgr. Ondřej Ješina, Ph.D. and Mgr. Daniel Mikeška, participants explored the intricacies of creating an inclusive environment, understanding group dynamics, handling specific situations, and engaging in icebreakers. Colleagues from the Welcome Office, Bc. Pavel Flekač and Mr. Viktor Slávik, delved into the structural and organizational aspects of establishing new support centers, overcoming numerous obstacles successfully to achieve desired outcomes.
On the second day, participants not only explored the intricacies of collaborative work and an inclusive environment but also delved into self-discovery. Through yoga sessions, led by prof. Mgr. Martin Kudláček, Ph.D., participants absorbed the atmosphere and connected with the calming and focused reality he magically presented. This captivating activity, acclaimed as the highlight of the workshop by numerous participants, was complemented by Mgr. Kamila Banátová's, Ph.D. erudite module, where she presented psychological perspectives and potential approaches to the theme.
"The two-day workshop, which was attended by 30 participants, garnered significant reflection and overwhelmingly positive feedback. Participants expressed that they acquired numerous competencies, such as critical thinking, communication in a lingua franca, group work, problem-solving outside their comfort zones, and more. I extend heartfelt appreciation to all parties involved in this transformative workshop, fostering connections not only across transnational perspectives but also notably among the international participants and lecturers who contributed to its success," stated Mgr. Lucie Flekačová, Ph.D., the main UP coordinator of the UNICOMM project.