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19. June 2019 Matyáš Jirát

My thoughts on Liberal Arts Education

I have recently found an internship in Architecture company DI5 in the Czech Republic and my eyes opened up to the issues and discussions I have been having in my family for a while about Liberal Arts Education (LAE) as compared to “traditional education”. After researching the topic of the blog, I found out the LAE is a much older form of education, originating in Ancient Greece. LAE is based around creating a more holistic citizen, understanding three core arts and four following arts. Grammer, logic, and rhetoric we core arts and arithmetic, geometry, the theory of music and astronomy were the additional arts. Compared to traditional education, mainly propagated in Europe, where students focus on choosing a specific narrow field where they can contribute to generating new knowledge. The LAE model is no longer adhered to exactly as in Greece but we continue learning numerous fields over a singular field. I think due to the expanding knowledge of humankind we have found a necessity to narrow our knowledge to one field to be able to bring more research, new knowledge. While this form is academically likelier to succeed, often in the USA is thought that for people outside of the field of academia it might be potentially harmful to study in such a way for your future life and career.

While at home we aim to hone one particular skill beyond the big puddle they aim to hone a person to be able to think in numerous ways about the issues. Both of them bring challenges and sometimes it is difficult to see, which one is better, if it is even comparable. Frequently I get a feeling, that as I am studying broadly, I cannot get in-depth enough in one particular thing which is interesting to me now. But then, on the other hand, being able to connect things from across the field or see different perspectives is in our rapidly changing and the interconnected world so valuable. I have seen that nearly too often while having conversations with my international friends. Understanding how one issue might relate to other issues in their countries make for a better conversation topic and connection making then knowing the precise interactions between photons and neutrons and their excitation states (in most situations). From all of this, I see the vast difference in cultural values in the States and at home. Connectedness which is necessary for them and their way of living across a huge nation and often having family roots all over the world became an important part of their lives. While in the Czech Republic we see can see the vast history of different hurts, occupations, and betrayals which closed us off. Those are far connections, but please forgive the author little of hyperbole. 

Even after two years I am still unable to say which one is truly better for life. After coming out of university, many students don’t even end up in their respective fields and in such a case, wouldn't it have been better to study widely? But if you are sure you want to be a suitcase designer, it might have been better to choose a school focused on product designing. In the end, it always seems to depend upon personal preference and we all should give them our tolerance and their possibility to choose. 

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