Why to Join the CEACS
I am sure you have already come across this abbreviation. Have you ever taken your time and had a more detailed look at it? Whenever you pass the notice boards in the department corridors, the Canadian issues are simply bound to draw your attention. If you are (at least a bit) interested in any academic aspect that deals with Canada, you should not miss this. The CEACS or the Central European Association for Canadian Studies is at the heart of the whole process.
Introducing the Association
You may have heard about it, but are still unsure what is going on. The CEACS seems to be something rather huge and you do not really feel like they were looking for somebody new. You are only a student after all and have nothing to say in a truly academic debate. So why should you bother?
I remember that I had exactly the same opinion two years ago. I had some information about the association but that did not prevent me - an undergraduate student - from feeling somehow excluded. It was only thanks to Dr. Otrísalová and my brave classmate Janka Hulová that I finally dared to take the first step and apply. And to this day I have never regretted becoming the member. I actually think it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Are you still doubting? Then the time to show you the benefits has come.
What the CEACS does
The CEACS brings together university teachers, researchers and students from the Central European region who are doing work related to Canada. It was founded in the summer of 2003 and to this day has around 285 members, coming from Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia. Within each country, a wide range of activities is carried out by individual universities and centres as well as at the national level. Every three years the association holds a major international multidisciplinary conference. It is also responsible for the publication of the annual Central European Journal of Canadian Studies. Information about activities of the CEACS as a whole as well as what is happening in the various countries in the region can be found on the website: https://www.cecanstud.cz/
What does it mean for you?
As a student, you are not excluded from participating in academic issues. Moreover, it can be highly beneficial to take part in it for you as well as for the association at the same time! My favourite writer Katherine Paterson put it brilliantly: “To fear is one thing, but to let fear grab you by the tail and swing you around is another.” So, are you interested in the advantages of joining the association? Then do not hesitate and apply.
Getting started: Cool events
There are several opportunities meant especially for the student members of the association. The summer school in Telč, the Czech Republic, was only one of them. The chance to experience this UNESCO World Heritage Centre for a week was truly awesome. In June 2012, a group of 25 young people from all over Central Europe who are interested in Canada simply found out how much fun studying can be. Not only did it provide you with the chance to brush up your speaking skills, but it made it possible for you to visit new places, meet new friends and network with the people with similar interests. The summer school was full of new study opportunities as well. And what is more, in the end, every participant could earn 10 ECTS credits for participation (provided they wrote a seminar paper). And that really counts.
Digging deeper: Cool opportunities
Moreover, the association organizes a number of interesting events. Plus it also offers some different grants and scholarships that are available for all the members. You can find more information on the website. During my membership, I took a chance and applied for a research grant in Brno. All Central European Canadianists are encouraged to come to Brno to do research in the extensive Canadian Studies library at the Faculty of Arts. The CEACS reserves and pays for accommodation in Brno for up to six nights, and also pays for the photocopying of materials (up to a maximum of 600 CZK). This opportunity to have access to these materials is particularly beneficial to students, whether at the MA or PhD level, but may also prove useful to teachers doing research, wishing to prepare a new course, etc. And you get to see Brno, a very beautiful Czech city. All you have to do as a member is to send a brief description of why you would like to use the facilities at Masaryk University (as a student, you should also include a note from a teacher confirming this). And I have to admit that my stay was really worth it - it gave me a lot of ideas for my thesis.
Stepping ahead: Cool community
If you are interested in Canadian studies and are ready to start doing something rewarding and meaningful, the time for you to apply has come. Not only will you gain more insight into Canadian studies, but you will become a part of a big community of people with the same interests. You will get a chance to take part in numerous conferences that the CEACS organizes, either as a participant or as a visitor. You will be given opportunities to meet with people from diverse backgrounds and share ideas about things that are interesting and relevant for your studies at the same time. The only thing you actually need to do is to visit Dr. Otrísalová and to pay the membership fee. She will explain the procedure and answer all your questions as well. The deadline is the end of March. My advice is therefore not to hesitate because it is really worth the effort.
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