RESIDENT INTERVIEW: Markéta Skokanová 

Markéta joins us from Prague, Czech Republic where she studied Business Administration at the University of Economics, Faculty of Business Administration (FPH VŠE). Markéta now studies at University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business.

What is your experience of life at I-House Ann Arbor?

IHAA does a great job in gathering people together. Coming here and knowing there will be someone waiting for me and that IHAA is full of international students made my arrival much easier. Janelle and Genna are amazing and some of the kindest people I have ever met. They do a great job both in planning and organizing events for IHAA, but they are also helpful outside their duties. For example, I said to Genna that I want to carve pumpkins, but I did not have anyone to carve them with, and she bought a pumpkin because of me and we spent 4 hours carving pumpkins together. She also invited me to her place for Thanksgiving. She did not need to do any of those things.

The staff spend an incredible amount of time organizing all of these events and they put so much effort into making sure that both – these events and the stay in IHAA itself – are enjoyable for residents. I truly and highly appreciate it. It inspired me so much that I hope to end up doing a similar job, one that connects my business knowledge with something that helps society and makes a better world. That is my dream.

Even though I am an easy going person and I have made friends outside of this house, I have met some great people thanks to IHAA and its variety of events and I still have a motivation to show up. I am looking forward to attending all the different events IHAA has to offer. If there is someone afraid of arriving in Ann Arbor and not knowing anyone, this is definitely a housing option I would recommend.

How does the GEU Program at IHAA benefit you?

This program benefits me in so many ways. Especially the feeling that if something happens, I can just run downstairs knowing there will always be someone at the reception or reachable by e-mail and this makes me feel much calmer. Another thing I really appreciate is the variety of events offered by IHAA. From events where we learn about other cultures, tasting typical meals from different countries, and Zumba classes to visiting a farm where I experienced my first pumpkin patch and corn maze. There is a lot to choose from. None of these events mentioned are mandatory and everyone can attend as many or as little as he or she wants, although it brings me every time a nice experience when I participate.

And how do others benefit from living at IHAA?

There are a lot of shy people living in our house, or at least that is how I perceived it during our events. I think it is a great opportunity for them to make new friends and meet diverse people from all around the world. IHAA makes this process of socialization much easier for them because they do not have to go outside to find people to gather with. IHAA organizes and creates this opportunity for them. And I have seen so many people who developed amazing friendships with others from living in this house. And if your roommates are not the ones you necessarily want to spend some extra time with, there are 45 other international students living here. Also, at IHAA everyone gets their own room, so you have privacy but can still spend time with other people while being “home”.

IHAA also offers a free car ride to a grocery store, which is very beneficial considering the fact that there is no huge supermarket around campus.

What are your Personal goals and how does IHAA help?

The skills I definitely want to work on are respecting others and listening to others actively. IHAA helps me a lot with learning to respect others because they put in one apartment people from different foreign countries. But this is not the only way IHAA helps me to pursue this goal. By attending the events and gatherings, when people tell stories from their country of origin, I learn important facts about other cultures and different customs as well, and that helps me learn how to treat people from other cultures with respect. As for listening actively to others, the events are great because they expose me to interesting stories from all around the world and I practice listening patiently to hear them.

What are your Professional goals and how does IHAA help?

I plan to work in a managerial role, but I am not yet sure about the specific job or company. I can definitely develop my managerial skills here since IHAA gives us the opportunity to organize events if we want to. For example, we can offer to cook for several dozens of people to better illustrate the culture of our country of origin.

IHAA helps me the most by providing a warm environment, so I can focus on my studies. Living here helps me personally with clarifying my goals through the many opportunities for conversations with these amazing people, both staff and residents, from different disciplines and countries around the world.