Štěpán Tošovský

Czech Republic

EGEI 2015 – 2016

Finally, they called my name: “Štěpán Tošovský, graduated with distinction.”

I am filled with pride and happiness. I claimed what I came for. I have worked so hard to get there and this is “The Harvest Time.” However it is also a bittersweet feeling, because this while is a cruel reminder that one unique journey came to an end.

One year ago, I left my country with many fears, doubting about my abilities to face the “world outside“ but all obstacles turned out to be conquerable by hard work and help of my friends and loved ones. Coming out of comfort zone is tough in the beginning, but awesome in the end… because in the end, it opens a whole new world.

I see every detail of my first day in UK as if it was yesterday. Rainy morning in London, ride through the maze of London Tube, Coach to Stoke on Trent, meeting my “inmates” Ernil and Lucia and later the rest of our crew. Tough day, but filled with expectations and signs of amazing tomorrows… that came one after another…

Without any doubt, we had an amazing time in UK. School was challenging but left us enough space for getting to know each other. After lectures, we usually visited gym or other modern sport facilities in campus and during evenings we watched movies together or just grabbed some drinks and talked. Weekends were designed for trips. Couple of them were organized by the university, others by us. We started with beautiful parks around Stoke, continued with cities in UK and ended up with surrounding countries. As exam time approached, we started to spend time more and more in library and cooperation and help was the most significant aspect of this time. Believe me or not, I have nostalgic memories of our “library time” as well. Leaving the UK was nostalgic. I truly missed so many people although I knew I would see them in 3 weeks in Santander. It was like leaving my family. Yes, family is what we became.

Santander is a beautiful Spanish coast city and we were lucky to live in a place with astonishing view on the beach. We were challenged once again at the university, but by that time, we kind of knew how to swim in it. Moreover, we were surrounded by friends and continued to enjoy each other´s company during trips or preparation on exams. Time flew so quickly and soon, it sent us all to Brazil for a final part of this journey.

For most of us, it was the first and probably the last time in South America, so we wanted to harvest each and every second. And we did so! Visiting Iguacu falls, Rio de Janeiro or Amazonia Rain Forest were amazing experiences. Memories from these unusual trips gave us a lot of energy during tough exam period during the last three weeks.

And just like that, after almost one year, we had to say goodbye. It was very emotional and difficult to accept the fact that my best friends would go to the most remote parts of the world. Dior to Uzbekistan, Ginelle to Singapore, Serhy to Ukraine, Eva to Lebanon, Lucia to Spain and we would leave Mariana in Brazil… However, life is like that and this was a damn good part of it.

Many people made this adventure happen, especially my family, my love Olie, whose eternal support was a key aspect of my success and all the people who participated in the organization of the EGEI program. My schoolmates, new friends, made this year one of the best season of my life. I will never forget the time we spent together, places we visited and our cooperation during exam periods. It is said that life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away… And there were many and all are engraved in my heart forever.

It was an experience that makes you think: what will the next journey bring? Can it be that good since the bar has been set so high?