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Czech Class with Professor Klesla

by Staff Writer / Columbus Blue Jackets
Byl jste nìkdy na hokeji na Blue Jackets?

For those of you that missed Rostislav Klesla’s discussion with Czech students at The Ohio State University, the above sentence translates to ‘have you ever been to a Blue Jackets game?’

Klesla, the Jackets’ fifth-year defenseman and first franchise draft pick, went from delievering checks on the ice at Nationwide Arena to conversing in Czech with 25 students at Hagerty Hall on the OSU campus on Wednesday night.

“It was nice to meet all of the students that wanted to learn Czech,” he said. “That was very interesting, not many people want to learn my language. For someone that is just starting to learn it can be tough.”

Klesla was greeted at the OSU campus by Professors Marcela Michalkova and Martin Michalek, whom teach Czech 101 & 104 this semester. OSU offers Czech 101.01 - Elementary Czech I, Czech 102.01 - Elementary Czech II, Czech 103.51 - Intermediate Czech I, Czech 104.51 - Intermediate Czech II, Czech 405.51 - Conversation and Composition I, and Czech 407.51 - Conversation and Composition II overall as well as a study abroad program.

For Wednesday’s discussion with Klesla, the group of attendees represented all levels of the language, from those that have been taking the course for less than four weeks to advanced speakers. The classroom was decorated as a café complete with snacks and sandwiches as 25-30 students entered to converse with the 24-year-old defenseman.

“He was really great,” OSU student Elizabeth Angerman said. “His Czech is very good and really easy to understand. It was so nice of him to talk to us about what it is like to play hockey and what it is like in the Czech Republic.”

Dr. Daniel Collins, who is the faculty chair of The Department of Slavic and East European Languages and Literature at OSU, couldn’t agree more.

“It is nice for the students to see a representative of the country they are studying,” he said. “Being that he is a popular athlete will only spark interest amongst the students.”

Klesla spoke with the students for over 45 minutes as the group rattled off questions and interacted with the Novy Jicin, Czech Republic, native. The group spoke about topics ranging from their hobbies to why they like to study the language, laughing all along the way.

“One guy was learning the language because his girlfriend is from the Czech Republic,” Klesla said with a smile.

Czech is one of over 30 languages offered at The Ohio State University. For more information on the Czech language courses offered at OSU, log onto or for the school’s foreign language center.

The group’s discussion was concluded with the class saying, “Blue Jackets do toho!” or Go Blue Jackets! in English.

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