Why should you come to Slovakia?

Even if Slovakia sounds very exotic to most people, it is a very cultural and historical country, tightly connected to the European history. And what about the Slovak language? A German friend told us why he studies the Slovak language at the university:

“My professor told me: If you would like to understand all Slavic languages, choose Slovak. It is an Esperanto among the Slavic languages.”

Let students who have already been to Slovakia explain you why!

Karoline from Germany (http://www.yfu.de/austauschjahr/berichte/erfahrungsberichte/austauschjahr-slowakei-herzlichkeit-und-traditionen)

Robin from Germany (http://www.yfu.de/austauschjahr/berichte/erfahrungsberichte/skifahren-oder-shoppen)

Margit from Estonia (https://yfu.sk/blog/skusenosti-studentov/estonian-in-slovakia/)

Did you know?

Ice Hockey is THE sport in Slovakia! As a World Champion in 2002 (and 6 times World Champions with the Czechs during the federation of Czechoslovakia) and Vice-champions in 2000 and 2012, Slovaks are keen on Ice Hockey. Do not be surprised that the streets are empty when an important ice hockey championship takes place – everybody wants to see it and support the national team!

Maybe you will know this “ice-hockey” names:

Marian Hossa – right wing #81 Chicago Blackhawks; Marian Gaborík – right wing #12 Los Angeles Kings or Zdeno Chara – captain, defense man #33 Boston Bruins.

Besides Ice Hockey we do also enjoy a lot of other sports. From Cross Country Skiing in winter to swimming in our lakes during Summer. We are truly a folk of sports and activities. During the week or weekend we like to dedicate some of our time to our hobbies as swimming, volleyball, golfing or anything else we like. That is why we have also in different sports some top sportsmen:

Marek Hamšík -football player, midfielder, SSC Napoli; Martin Škrtel – football player, defender, FC Liverpool; Martina Hingis – tennis player; Daniela Hantuchová – tennis player; Dominika Cibulková – tennis player; Magdaléna Rybáriková – tennis player,  Peter Sagan – The 2015, the 2016 and the 2017 World Road race Champion and he has got 6 green jerseys.

Little bit of history

Before ages…

Archaeological researches prove settlements in the area of nowadays Slovakia already before 500 BC. During that period, the territory of modern-day Slovakia was settled by Celts. From 2 AD, the expanding Roman Empire established and maintained a series of outposts around and in the north of the Danube.

The Slavic tribes settled in the territory of present-day Slovakia in the 5th century. During this time western Slovakia was the centre of Samo’s empire in the 7th century. Together with neighboring Moravia, the principality formed the core of the Great Moravian Empire from 833.

At the beginning of the 10th century, the area of Slovakia continuously became parts of the rising Principality of Magyar tribes and became part of the Hungarian Kingdom a century later. Thereafter the region became an integral part of the Hungarian monarchy until the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918.

Modern times…

In 1919, during the chaos following the breakup of Austria-Hungary, Czechoslovakia was formed originally as a federation of the Slovak and Czech nations. One of the most important persons in the part of formation of the new state and international recognition, was the Slovak politician and general Milan Rastislav Štefánik (1880–1919). In the peace following the World War, Czechoslovakia emerged as a sovereign European nation.

In 1938, after the Munich Agreement, Slovakia seceded from Czechoslovakia and in March 1939 allied itself, as demanded by Germany, with Hitler’s coalition. The government of the First Slovak Republic, was strongly influenced by Germany and gradually became a puppet regime in many respects.

During the 2nd World War (WW2), Jews, Gypsies and Slovaks were deported from the country and taken to German labour or concentration camps. From 1943, an anti-Nazi resistance movement launched a fierce armed insurrection, known as the Slovak National Uprising.  The territory of Slovakia was liberated by Soviet and Romanian forces by the end of April 1945.

After WW2, Czechoslovakia was re-established again and came under the influence of the Soviet Union and after a coup in 1948 under the effect of the Warsaw Pact, which was a start of a heavy communistic regime. When a movement with intention of liberating the regime, led by Slovak politician Alexander Dubček (known as “Prague spring”), took on power among all inhabitants, the country was military occupied by the Warsaw Pact forces (= Soviet Union, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland and Eastern Germany, but there was no support from Romania) in an August night 1968, ending the hope of freedom.

The end of Communist rule in Czechoslovakia in 1989, during the peaceful Velvet Revolution, was followed by dissolution into two successor states. The federal parliament voted to dissolve the country officially on December 31, 1992, avoiding a referendum among both nations (as the prognosis stated that most of the inhabitants were against the split). The Slovak Republic and the Czech Republic went their separate ways after January 1st, 1993, the first time in European history when a country separated into two states without a war.

Present days…

Slovakia has remained a close partner with the Czech Republic; both countries cooperate with Hungary and Poland in the Visegrád Group. Slovakia became a member of NATO on March 29, 2004 and of the European Union on May 1, 2004.

Slovakia is a Parliamentary Republic with a directly elected President. The current President is Zuzana Čaputová and the Prime Minister is Peter Pellegrini (Smer). The country is divided into 8 regions (kraj) and 79 districts (okres).

On January 1, 2009, Slovakia adopted the Euro as its national currency.

Program descriptions 

Actually you have three programs to choose from: 10 months, 6 months – both with bilingual (English) options and 3 months:

  1. Year program in Slovakia
  2. Semester program in Slovakia
  3. Winter Short program in Slovakia (from November till the end of January)

The YFU program includes:

  • Seminars: a pre-departure orientation, a post-departure orientation after your arrival in Slovakia, midyear orientation seminar (only for year program) usually combined with ski camp in mountains (and very often in cooperation with YFU Czech Republic)
  • International travel to and from Slovakia and assistance from YFU staff/volunteers at international gateway airport
  • Placement with voluntary YFU host family in Slovakia
  • Support through counseling or tutoring
  • Assistance in acquiring your visa and/or residence permit if required
  • Placement in the Slovak High school (public)

Specifics in Winter Short program:

  • One day trip to Vienna (Capital of Austria) and one day trip to Budapest (Capital of Hungary)

Basic facts

Full name:                        Slovak Republic / Slovenská republikavlajka

Population:                      5 461 727 inhabitants

Capital city:                      Bratislava (436 000 inhab.)

Area:                                  49,035 km2

Location:                          Central Europe; borders with Czech Republic, Poland, Ukraine, Hungary, Austria

Language:                         Slovak (belonging to the group of western Slavic languages)

Religion:                            believers (84.1%) of which: Roman Catholic (68.9%), Evangelical (6.9%),Greek Catholic (4.1%),Reform Christian (2%), Undetermined (2.2%), atheist (13.7%)

Minorities:                          9.5% Hungarian, 2% Czech, 1.9% Roma

Political system:                Parliamentary republic

Head of the Republic:        President (Zuzana Čaputová)

Head of the government: Prime Minister (“premiér” Peter Pellegrini)znak

Anthem:                             Nad Tatrou sa blýska / “Lightning Over the Tatras”

Currency:                           Euro (€); 1 EURO=100 cents

Time zone:                         CET (GMT+1)

Climate:                              moderate, continental climate (mild summers with up to 15 hot days, cold winters with snow)

For more information visit the official travel site of Slovakia: http://slovakia.travel/en/about-slovakia

For more information about slovakian weather visit: http://www.shmu.sk/en/?page=1