Our class of 2021 really are something to shout about. They’ve overcome challenges, helped others, grasped opportunities and developed their skills, showing their Essex Spirit in so many ways. And they’ve done it all during a pandemic when student life has been changed beyond recognition. We couldn’t be prouder of them so we’re telling their stories.
Wed 11 Aug 21
Karolina Mathesova was actively involved in her community in the Czech Republic from a young age and her interest in international politics was sparked when she undertook an internship with the United Nations in Prague.
This prompted her to consider studying human rights and international relations, and her time at Essex has enabled her to graduate this summer with a BA (Hons) in Politics with Human Rights and gain wide experience in this field.
Karolina opted for her course as she could choose from modules shared with students of International Relations. Karolina says: “It was fascinating to learn about Human Rights and to see how people are affected by policy making and international factors. Moreover, the Human Rights centre at the University of Essex has a global reputation for excellence and is one of the world's largest single academic human rights communities.”
As well as selecting her studies to make the most of the interdisciplinary opportunities, Karolina also threw herself into the societies on offer.
Membership of Amnesty International as Social Media Manager gave her the chance to develop content to promote events, fundraising and other members activities and she is so proud that the Executive team won the Essex Societies Gold Standard.
Joining the Human Rights Society enabled Karolina to network and discuss with fellow students and lecturers, develop her points of view and learn about different perspectives and experiences from around the world. She went on to run for Secretary, having attended many events there.
“My societies involvement taught me about teamwork, leadership, decision making and event organizing.”
“A stand-out experience was my involvement in the Human Rights Society. Our executive team put together events in collaboration with the Human Rights Centre to mark Human Rights Week. I organized the Chalking of the Steps event which saw the Universal Declaration of Human Rights written out in chalk in student’s home and English languages for all to see. We were joined by many respected authors such as Andrew Fagan, and the photos of the stairs are used in the Human Rights literature.”
“A stand-out experience was my involvement in the Human Rights Society. Our executive team put together events for the Human Rights Week in collaboration with the Human Rights Centre and I organized the Chalking of the Steps event."
The pandemic did make studies difficult, but Karolina volunteered in a clinic which gave her lifelong skills. Unfortunately, she also contracted COVID and was quite unwell, affecting her ability to focus. Nonetheless, she pushed through, working hard to get the best marks she could: “My supervisor, Dr Hersh Mann, was particularly helpful during this time, giving me support and advice.”
Karolina leaves with so many memories from her time at Essex: “Moments that I will hold in my heart forever are watching the Guy Fawkes night fireworks with fairy lights with my close friends, having study picnics in front of the lake or coming home carrying ten interesting books that I just found in the Library".
But her most memorable moment was as one of the University’s Resident Assistants, where she looked after fellow students’ welfare and created communal events to help them feel at home. "One of the experiences that I am most proud of myself is when I saw the gratitude in the face of one of my residents after I supported him and helped him resolved a very difficult life situation."