Seniors and students brought closer to one another thanks to the Intergenerational University

17. 4. 2023
The Intergenerational University has been implemented by the MENDELU Institute of Lifelong Learning for three years. From the beginning, it has focused on connecting generations within the family. Grandparents come together with their grandchildren, learn new things and deepen family ties as part of intergenerational programmes. Last year, the Intergenerational University expanded its educational activities beyond families and focused on joint education of full-time students together with seniors from the University of the Third Age.

“The events that we have been experiencing in the last two or three years, whether it is the coronavirus pandemic, the war in Ukraine or the recent presidential elections, can rather cause several intergenerational misunderstandings or even contradictions. However, the aim of any developed society should be to bring the generations together and foster mutual openness, solidarity and tolerance. Mendel University wants to introduce new possibilities of intergenerational thinking and offer an environment for dialogue between generations,” Kateřina Pevná, the methodologist of the Intergenerational University, stated.

The participants of the intergenerational activities, both students and seniors, point out that the way they perceive the other generation can change after participating in the activities. “Maybe, we sometimes unnecessarily condemn the behaviour of the young. If people want to get along with the young, they will find a way to communicate with each other. And it can also enrich us. I was glad because I had to climb down over my distorted ideas, as they say,” the senior summed up her experience after the course. Student interviewees had a similar view. “I must admit I was a bit scared; I don’t have the best relationship with my grandmother and grandfather. They are terribly stuck up, there is always something wrong, and they never praise anything. But the seniors were absolutely incredible and showed me the other side of senior life. It was an incredible experience, and I’m so glad they offered me a completely different perspective. I’m trying to pass that on to my grandparents at home now,” the student concluded.

The Institute of Lifelong Learning wants to present the new style of intergenerational thinking at the upcoming international meeting of the universities of the third age that will take place at the end of March at MENDELU. It will include a presentation of intergenerational learning through experience. Participants at the meeting will thus be able to experience new interactive educational methods for themselves. “The aim of the meeting, which MENDELU will host, is to create a space for mutual inspiration and sharing of experience of people who are interested in the education of seniors, either as its implementers or as donors, and to show modern trends in this field of education,” claimed Pevná. According to her, experiential education in the form of field exercises or work in laboratories is currently popular. For example, at the last meeting of the Intergenerational University, participants tried to make fresh cheese or ice cream under the guidance of experts from the Faculty of AgriScience.

The International Meeting of the Universities of the Third Age will take place on 30-31 March at Mendel University in Brno as part of the Erasmus 60+ project. It will be a meeting of eight European universities involved in the project and representatives of state and local government, non-profit organisations and retirement homes.

Contact for further information: Mgr. Kateřina Pevná,, +420 604 343 377, Head of the Department of Senior Education, MENDELU Institute of Lifelong Learning

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