Petr Kolařík: Thanks to DofE, I will never be the shy village boy again
Petr comes from a small village in Moravia and he did DofE at the Leisure Center in Holešov. During his adolescence, he dreamed of studying at a British university and learning foreign languages. Many discouraged him because no one in the family spoke any foreign language or studied at university, let alone abroad. When he learned about DofE, he saw it as a great opportunity to start working on himself and learn new things despite the opinions from his surroundings.
"When I was 16, studying at one of the British universities was more of a dream, but thanks to DofE, this dream came true. From a small-town grammar school in Moravia, I got to the University of Southampton, England, and studied three foreign languages. Many around me have discouraged me from this goal and told me not to be a dreamer, that it is unrealistic considering my roots, but I did not want to believe them and started working on myself through DofE programme. For example, I improved significantly in English, which I chose in the field of skills. But the most important thing was that I have learned not to underestimate myself and I managed to gain a healthy self-confidence and self-respect. Thanks to DofE, I also understood how fulfilling volunteering and helping others can be. At the time I was involved in the programme, I tried a lot of new things that moved me much further than just sitting in school. ”
After studying abroad, Petr began a successful career and used his language skills and key competencies, which he also acquired thanks to DofE. He now works for a multinational company and in his work he can focus on things that make sense to him. One of the projects he is working on is reducing food waste in Europe.
"I now work for a multinational company from the UK, where similar experience is valued. When I told my English supervisor that I was a DofE graduate, he immediately knew what it meant and appreciated that fact. Everything I have learned during the programme and after studying accompanies me every day in my personal and professional life - not only the specific skills such as foreign languages, adaptability in the international environment, but also more general soft skills such as perseverance, organizational skils, communications, etc. In previous years, for example, I worked closely with food banks to help ensure that food from supermarkets was not wasted, or to develop a grant programme for projects from the non-profit sector in Central European markets.
Life is a challenge and DofE was a challenge for me. My Award Leader kept reminding me of this whenever I was in doubt about my abilities. After finishing the programme, I was world ready. The programme gave me unforgettable experiences and key skills, thanks to which I got a good job, which I enjoy, but mainly I have changed my personality for the better. I used to be an ordinary boy from the village who didn't trust himself too much and gave up a lot of things unnecessarily in advance, but thanks to DofE I have also learned how to overcome challenges, work on myself and move on.”