Students of the University for the Third Age held a celebration in Prague

Czech Third Age students: W. Klaus, L. Hessova and M. Pankova, photo: CTK

The Opatov House of Culture in Prague saw an unusual celebration on Wednesday - the four oldest students of what is called the University for the Third Age celebrated their birthday. Alena Skodova went to the party and brings this report:

Czech Third Age students: W. Klaus,  L. Hessova and M. Pankova,  photo: CTK
The hall was packed with elderly ladies and gentlemen all dressed up and in a festive mood. Dana Steinova, whose brainchild the University for the Third Age is, invited the students in question on stage.

The oldest of the students is a 101-year-old lady but she was not able to participate due to health problems. According to a notice board in the hall, the students can enjoy yoga, Renaissance dance or physical exercises and language courses as well as excursions to Prague's museums. What is really unique about Czech Third Age students are their trips abroad. They have been to many countries, and this autumn they will spend three weeks in Australia. I spoke with one of the students, Mrs. Hessova:

"My name is Ludmila Hessova, and if you are interested in my age, I will be 89 this year."

And what are you studying?

"I'm studying three or four subjects at the Faculty of Arts."

Which subjects?

"History of art, psychology and Egyptology. And it is arranged so that you can attend all the lectures within one day."

Is it once a week?

"No, no, it's once a fortnight."

And how long have you been studying?

"It will be ten years. I have also completed lectures at the Faculty of Medicine - it was prophylaxis, and I'm studying psychology for the third time already. This is for instance a programme for the next term: so you can see it here - it's anthropology, here is history of the church, here is mycology - it's mushrooms, and here it's the role of information in the 21st century. It came from different faculties which are able to accept people of our age next year."

And what did you do in your life - does it have any connection with your previous job?

"I used to work for a foreign trade enterprise."

That's why your English is so good...

"When I was young, I studied English at a college, and I've also passed the state examination. And now it's in my family - my grandson married a Swedish girl and they speak English at home. So I do what I can..."