Student Spotlight: November 13, Week 13

Photo of Jaroslav Skuta

International Student Profile: Meet Jaroslav Skuta


Jaroslav Skuta is an international graduate student studying music performance with a concentration in clarinet. He’s come to Kent State University from his home in the Czech Republic in order to pursue his lifelong passion for music. Jaroslav played clarinet in an ensemble when he was in high school and studied performance at a Czech music conservatory, and these experiences helped him understand how special music truly is. He says, “I’ve always loved music, and I really wanted to find a career that made it a part of my life.” His dream is to become a professional musician or college professor so that he can help shape the next generation of clarinet performers.


Jaroslav wanted to study in America in order to improve his English skills and experience a new culture with a different music education system. The primary motive to study abroad, however, was the prospect of a teaching assistantship. He says, “I wanted to get an assistantship because this would cover my tuition and provide me with real experience giving private lessons to young clarinet students. The chance to teach in college like this is a thing we don’t have in the Czech Republic.” For his full-time assistantship here at Kent, Jaroslav trains undergraduate music education majors whose primary instrument is clarinet.


Jaroslav’s favorite parts about Kent State are the campus and the music program’s faculty. “I really like the campus,” he says. “It’s just really beautiful and big—we don't have such expansive campuses where I’m from.” He holds all of Kent’s faculty members who teach private lessons in high regard — especially his clarinet teacher, Professor Amitai Vardi, whom Jaroslav describes as a great mentor to him. He says of the faculty, “They’re all so great! We have an amazing orchestra conductor, and the band directors for both wind ensemble and symphony band are so knowledgeable and friendly.”


Under the guidance of these professors and mentors, Jaroslav has played in numerous successful concerts for each of these groups that he is proud to be a part of. He says, “The level of performance is always really high, and everyone does such a great job.” He encourages everyone to attend at least one concert at Kent’s Center for the Performing Arts.


Jaroslav also thinks that others should take the opportunity to study abroad if they can. He explains, “It’s such a valuable experience that can totally change your life. Even afterwards when you go back [home], it changes your whole perspective of how you see your life. You also view the way things work in your own country differently, and that can be an eye-opening experience.” He says that living in a different country provides you with a wisdom of the world—something that he thinks everyone can benefit from.


You can see Jaroslav perform at any of his upcoming concerts on Dec. 2, 6 and 8, and you can follow him on Facebook to see pictures and clips of him playing clarinet.

Article written by Jacob Kulas, Office of Global Education Fall 2019 Intern