Martin Rejman: Settling into life at Austin Peay State University
“Studying at Austin Peay definitely put me on the right track towards my goals.”
Austin Peay State University (APSU) is a four-year public university in Tennessee, in the United States, that offers both Bachelor’s and Master’s programs that promote critical thinking, communication skills, creativity, and leadership. With over 10,000 students, APSU is the fastest growing university in Tennessee, providing students with a wide range of academic and social opportunities.
SchoolApply had the opportunity to interview Martin Rejman, an international student at Austin Peay State University, originally from the Czech Republic, for a sneak peek into life at this nationally recognised university.
AUSTIN PEAY STATE UNIVERSITY
Location: Clarksville, Tennessee (USA)
Student Name: Martin Rejman
From: Czech Republic
Favourite classes: My favourite classes at APSU have been Middle East Politics, Democratic Theory, and Theory of Liberalism.
Favourite Event: I really enjoy the university’s International Night. They have 40 food tables serving delicious cuisines from all around the world. It makes for a fun evening, and also, it is one of the biggest on-campus events with about 800 people attending each year.
Five words that best describe Austin Peay State University: Open-minded, Progressive, Pragmatic, Well-rounded, Modern.
Tell us about your school experiences before joining Austin Peay State University.
I lived in Mladá Boleslav, Czech Republic until I was 16 years old. There, I attended a grammar (secondary) school called Gymnázium Mladá Boleslav until my sophomore year. After that, I travelled to Memphis, Tennessee for a high school study abroad program, where I was placed as a senior at the age of 16, skipping two grades. I spent the first semester attending Overton High School in Memphis and then I transferred to Crockett County High School in Alamo, Tennessee where I graduated from in May 2013.
Simultaneously, I was practicing distance learning in order to complete my grammar school back in the Czech Republic and obtain a Czech diploma, which meant being tested every semester after I went home for a school break. After my high school graduation I enrolled at Austin Peay State University. In my sophomore year I did a semester abroad at Universite de Pierre Mendes France in Grenoble, France, and as a junior I completed a semester-long internship in Washington, D.C.
APSU’s First Friend program is a “buddy program”, which is designed to connect exchange and international students with domestic students. This is a great way to make new friends or even just find a ride to the grocery store!
How did you hear about Austin Peay State University and what made you decide to study in the United States?
I had a wonderful time as an exchange student in the United States, and going to an American university seemed like a great adventure at the time. And it has been so far! Austin Peay was recommended and praised by my fellow high school students. One of the reasons I decided to attend Austin Peay was their offer of a scholarship.
What are you studying at Austin Peay State University?
I am studying Political Science, and French. I chose Political Science because I have had a general overview across disciplines and politics is a mix of sociology, philosophy, economics, law and international relations which, to me, creates a very interesting and well-rounded education. I have studied French since high school and continuing to expand my knowledge in college seemed logical, as learning languages is important in this global age.
What were your first few days like at Austin Peay State University?
I was amazed by the APSU campus - it is very nice and well-equipped. In the Czech Republic, campuses are usually spread around the city, with few resources besides a library. Austin Peay’s sport facilities are extensive and very modern. The university library provides services that I had not thought to be the standard before coming to APSU. I remember being surprised to learn that the university even has its own post office! The student residences are also very new; in fact, they were finished right before I enrolled as a freshman.
Did you have any problems adjusting to life in a new city and college?
I did not have any major problems settling into life at APSU. The Office of Study Abroad and International Exchange, and the Athletic Department at APSU have been helpful resources handling financial, legal, and academic issues, as well as, everyday matters such as grocery shopping and airport pick-ups.
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What was your experience like as an international student, both academically and socially?
The professors at Austin Peay are very helpful, students have the opportunity to come during office hours and receive extra help with material that they don’t understand. This has been very helpful to me especially during the first few months, when I was adjusting to the environment.
As an international student, I have had the opportunity to take advantage of resources such as the Bridge Program, which organizes events for international and exchange students. Some of the events we have had include trips to Gatlinburg (Smoky Mountains), Hopkinsville, Memphis, Nashville, and Saint Louis. APSU’s First Friend program is a “buddy program”, which is designed to connect exchange and international students with domestic students. This is a great way to make new friends or even just find a ride to the grocery store!
Did you take part in any extracurricular activities at Austin Peay State University?
I am a part of APSU’s Cross Country Team. It has been challenging at times to balance running, my school studies, and my part-time job in the Office of Study Abroad and International Education, but running has an overall positive effect on my academics. It helps me to clear my head and stay in shape, both physically and mentally. As a member of the Phi Sigma Alpha (political science) honour society, I had the opportunity to attend issue-oriented lectures outside of class delivered by current and former APSU professors, as well as, guest speakers.
How has Austin Peay State University prepared you for life after college?
My career objective is to work for an international organisation such as the European Union or the United Nations. Studying at Austin Peay definitely put me on the right track towards my goals. I have taken a number of classes focused on International Relations; one course that appealed to me in particular was Middle East Politics, which has made me want to learn more about the region.
My study-abroad experience in France pushed me to practice my French and become bilingual, which is crucial in the professional field I have chosen to pursue. In my junior year, I interned with the World Affairs Council – Washington, D.C., which allowed me to develop my skillset in a more professional-oriented direction. I also had the opportunity to learn about current international issues from DC’s seasoned professional and scholars.
What would you say to international students who are considering studying at Austin Peay State University?
Do it! The school has a lot to offer - Austin Peay is excellent and its small class sizes allow students to interact with the faculty in a close, mentor-like manner. It is also the fastest growing institution in Tennessee. Since I’ve been here, they have built new housing facilities, new buildings for the Math, Science, and Art Departments, and have renovated the university’s football stadium. As the school improved both academic and non-academic resources, students can use their time here wisely by getting involved in clubs, study abroad, internships, and even undergraduate research.