The Czech Centre in Bucharest is known for its film screenings and visual art exhibitions, which are popular with the Romanian public both in the capital and in other cities around the country.
Among cultural institutes in the city, the Centre has established itself as a gateway for learning about Czech illustration and new wave cinema, as well as a friendly environment for local independent artists to meet the audience. But what one may not know is that the Czech Centre has many more tricks up its sleeve when it comes to introducing the Romanian public to Czech culture. One of these is the Czech language courses, which have been going on for quite some time and whose modules start every autumn and spring. At the time of writing, classes have already started in Bucharest and those in Timișoara are undergoing the final preparations before the bells ring.
The Czech Centre offers classes on three levels, according to your skills and needs. The teachers are Czech and they are teaching not only the language, but also the rich culture which comes with it. You might have read a book by Kundera or seen an award-winning movie directed by Svěrák or Forman. A few years ago, the students in Bucharest would even learn to make vanilkové rohlíčky (traditional vanilla crescent cookies) in preparation for the Christmas festivities, while the students in Timișoara have had the opportunity to hear about the Czech villages in Banat from professor Vladimír Kovář who is teaching Czech in that community, in Eibenthal. This year, the teacher taking care of the classes in Bucharest is Jiří Bernkopf – with degrees in both Czech language and musicology from Masaryk University, he is a lover of music and of languages. Because he enjoys learning new languages himself (already speaks Russian, English, German, and Ukrainian and hopes to soon speak Romanian as well) he would like to inspire his students to see the fun and exciting parts of learning to speak a foreign tongue. He plays the guitar and likes to use music as an aid for teaching about communication and the practical aspects of language use.
Whichever your reasons for learning Czech would be – working or studying in Czechia, communicating easier while on trips there, or just enjoying Czech literature and films in the native language – Czech Centre’s courses can definitely give you a head start.