Why did you choose the Faculty of Humanities and your study program?
I did choose the Charles University, the Faculty of Humanities and particularly the program mostly for its content and partly because of the teachers Doc. Dr. Hans Rainer Sepp and Prof. Dr. Karel Novotný. During my Bachelor, I developed the wish to continue my studies with a stronger focus on Phenomenology and there are not many universities in Germany which focus on this topic. During my research I of course stumbled upon the name of Dr. Sepp and the Středoevropský institut filosofie and then was delighted to see that the Master of German and French Philosophy was taught in German. In a short email exchange, Prof. Novontý informed me about the studies and invited me to visit Prague for a conference organized by the institute. After meeting them in person, my decision had been made.
What have you enjoyed most about the programme so far?
I enjoyed the combination on a strong focus of Phenomenology and yet the variety of topics taught due to the changing guest lecturers, which included for example ancient scepticism, Wittgenstein, Hegel, critical theory. I was also very fond of the possibility to learn French and then benefit from the bilingual offer of courses. But maybe the best thing about the program was that, due to the small number of students and teachers, it was possible to have a rather close relationship between students and lecturers and getting involved in actual academical work, which is unusual during a master program. On top of that, even though the institute is rather small, there always was a vast international network of teachers, students or guest speakers visiting and the whole program felt anything but small.
What academic topics do you focus on in your studies?
In my research I focused on Phenomenology in general, but due to the variety of courses was able to combine this for example with east Asian philosophy, Buddhism and Japanese philosophy. Thematically, my focus was the givenness of the other which the evolved into an investigation of the core moment of Phenomenology, the praxis of epoché. This topic is not very well researched in Phenomenology and I was very lucky to have come to Prague since Dr. Sepp is one of the few known experts for it.
Which aspects of your studies do you think have been most beneficial to your personal and/or career development?
I clearly got the most benefit from the personal relationship with the teachers and thus getting the possibility to participate in actual research projects. For example, I became the editor in Chief of the scientific journal AUC Interpretationes published by Karolinum Press, was able to visit conferences, give talks and most importantly start to publish articles and even a book. All these tasks helped me to gain insight into academic work and pushed my career enormously, which I am very thankful for since it is normal to make those experiences only after the master program. Another benefit is that the research topic of Dr. Sepp is very close to my own research and it was incredibly helpful get his perspective at first hand and to follow the development of his thoughts on the subject matter, for example in his project about an oikological phenomenology, which became another focus of my research focus afterwards. On a more personal level (though philosophy is, at least for me, rather personal as well), it was an incredible opportunity to move to such a wonderful city and study at such a prestigious and traditional university. It was awesome to make the experience that it is possible in Europe to just live in another country, to dive into another culture and study in another university. I was and am very glad for this opportunity and think it has been one of the most important experiences of my life.
What are your plans after graduation?
After the master I have continued with the PhD program of Charles University. My subject is the relation of epoché and alterity and I investigate the therapeutical potential of the epoché. I am glad that it was possible to continue my studies in Prague and even more that I can still participate in the research projects of the institute and start teaching courses for the new students.