Attitudes of Czech and Slovak Students of Economy Oriented Universities to the European Union (Comparative Study)
Keywords:national identity, attitudes to European Union, university students
AbstractPurpose of the article: Current students of Czech and Slovak universities have lived most of their lives in the separate Czech/Slovak Republic, in new political, economic and technological conditions and also in a more intensive contact with members of other cultures than the previous generations. This could have affected their self-identification, national sentiments and attitudes to the EU. There is minimum empirical knowledge answering the question whether this hypothesis is right. The aim of the research was to contribute to the reduction of this deficit in knowledge and provide a starting point for further, more extensive, studies. Methodology/methods: The research used a sample of 134 Czech and 119 Slovak students of economy oriented universities. The research data were collected by means of a questionnaire, providing us with quantitative and qualitative data. The results were processed separately for the Czech sample and the Slovak sample and then compared. Scientific aim: The aim of the research was: (1) to explore the extent of national pride of young Czech and Slovak students of economy oriented universities as well as their identification with their country; (2) to explore the young Czech and Slovak students’ opinions on the entry of their country in the EU and what they expect from the EU membership in the future; (3) to compare responses of Czech and Slovak respondents and identify the differences in their sentiments and attitudes to the EU. Findings: The research has revealed some differences in the extent of Czech and Slovak students’ identification with the regional units where the respondents live and in the perception of the contribution the entry of their country in the EU could bring. The expectations of both groups of respondents mainly concern better standards of living and a better economic situation of inhabitants. Conclusions: Generally, the results indicate that the attitudes of the students of the selected economy oriented faculties to EU membership are related to the perception of economic benefits and contributions to personal development and success at the labour market on the one hand, and on the other hand, to the perception of personal identity formed in the context of the country’s historical development. It means, these are not mere results of rational calculations – the results indicate that even the generation of young, economy educated people who grew in new conditions shares the sentiments connected with their national identity. Due to the size of the sample set, the results cannot be considered valid for the entire population of students of economy oriented Czech and Slovak universities. The purpose of the research was to provide basic empirical knowledge, mainly of qualitative character, that will form a starting point for further, more extensive studies.
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