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Šimon Podhajský

Our scholarship holder 2011 – 2016
Šimon Podhajský
Šimon Podhajský


Yale University

Field of study

Cognitive Science


Open Gate graduate in 2011

I come from Prague, and I came to Open Gate from the Nad Alejí Secondary School in Prague’s Petřiny neighborhood in time to take the freshly introduced International Baccalaureate (IB) program. The top-notch teaching there enabled me to achieve results within the 99th percentile for most of the standardized tests – IB, SAT and ACT.

In my spare time, I read whatever I get my hands on; I play guitar; I play Scrabble with house rules (including an “imaginary” rule: only non-existent words are permitted, and the player must present and defend their meaning); and I also debate. I was especially successful in this field: By the time I left secondary school, I had won the Czech and UK debate leagues individually and in a team twice, made it to the semifinals of the Karl Popper debate format world championship, and became the world champion in online debating. I can say with assurance that it was my involvement in the debate program on both the national and international levels that got me to the position where I could choose between Yale, Harvard and Oxford. Critical thinking and a creative approach matter.

Obviously, my romance with debating caused me to grow attached to certain specific topics. In the long run, the targets of my sharp wit have included, in no particular order, the reform-defying system of education based on memorizing; Czech society’s general attitude toward success; the blindly prescriptive grammar and the ignorance of opinions expressed outside of a randomly chosen version thereof; the position of the Czech language (and its users) on the feminine gender and gender-based grammar; the unlimited faith in the all-encompassing power of the state; and unjustified generalizations and references to “political incorrectness” where there is little more than ignorance, vulgarity and attempts to avoid a real discussion.

If there any questions I can answer, or any way I can help you otherwise, please write to me to .


OPEN GATE eight-year grammar school, CZ, graduated in 2011


Yale College, Yale University, US, started in 2011



Find the field where I can put my skills to the best use, and then pursue it.


Debating, politics, hiking, getting to know things