Zachary - Prague University of Economics and Business

B Economics/Science
Semester 2, 2019
A monumental journey, making friends for life in an unforgettable experience of a lifetime.

Academic experience

I studied a total of 6 courses at VSE equating to 31 ECTs. These were all economics based as I had no electives in my degree at UQ. These were, International Trade for Exchange Students, World Economy for Exchange Students, Introduction to Environmental Economics, America From Independence to Financial Crisis, Economic Geography of the Balkans, Globalization. It sounded like a lot at first but 6 courses proved to be very manageable, I had even passed one of my courses already by the fourth week! The academic system at VSE is quite different to UQ’s. Participation made a lot of the marks so attending classes in person was important, and content is not as available online (such as lecture recordings). Instead of using blackboard they have their own online system called InSIS which can be difficult to navigate at first, but you get used to it. Through InSIS you enrol in your courses, submit coursework, access lecture slides etc.

Personal experience

Countless friendships and a heap of travelling. I tripled the amount of countries I had been to in 7 months. University is flexible so it is easy to do a long weekend trip with friends from Prague. My Czech was really poor as I did not need to use it much as the Czech’s level of English was much better than my level of Czech. Funnily enough the most language I learnt was Italian as I had many Italian friends there. Prague was the perfect city for exchange as it was a great blend of affordability, social life, scenery and proximity to other countries.


I lived in the school’s dormitory, Jarov F III, dedicated to the international students which was about a 20 to 25 minute tram ride from university. I really enjoyed living here as it was super easy to hang out with friends all the time as we are in the same building. This was all arranged through the university before leaving for exchange and you can choose to stay there or not. The rooms are relatively basic but has all the necessities, whilst also being very easy to catch public transport from as well. They even have a gym, study rooms, projector rooms and other areas such as that. (Top tip, get a room on the higher floors for a much better view, I was on the 11th floor and got great sunsets every clear day)

I would definitely recommend staying in the dorms as it was a very social environment and you really get to meet and hang out with a huge variety of people. If you prefer to have your own larger living space I had some friends that did that as well for their exchange, however you are totally on your own to find accommodation and it makes the proof of accommodation for your visa difficult to arrange too. I was in a double room but by myself, it was more expensive, but I really enjoyed having my own space. I tried for a single room, but they get booked almost immediately so make sure you are fast if you want one!


Living in Prague itself is pretty cheap in itself. My accommodation which was a double room to myself cost me roughly $4k I think, but I stayed there for a total of 5.5 months so payed extra than just the semester. Food depends on how much you eat out or get groceries. I spent maybe $60 a week on groceries, and if I ate out at a restaurant normal meal might cost  $11 (add another $2-3 for a beer). The beer from the Daily Fresh store just across the road from the dorms only cost about 70 cents for 500ml. Public transport was super cheap, you can get 3 month all inclusive public transport passes for students for about $20 from the main station (and you will be using public transport A LOT). Other than that the bulk of my expenses definitely came from travelling, so how much you budget totally depends on how much travelling you want to do and how cheap you are able to do it. Overall I would say a comfortable budget would be maybe $10k for a 4 month experience, I ended up overseas for a total of 7 months so spent a bit more than that. I unfortunately wasn’t eligible for the HECS loan as it was my last semester of university but did still receive Centrelink while I was there which was a massive help, especially in a city as cheap as Prague.


Without a doubt my visa situation. To cut a very long story short, I had to lodge a new application whilst I was in Europe, which involved 3 separate trips to the Czech Consulate in Berlin, renewing documents older than 6 months old, visiting the Czech Ministry of Interior with a  translator to request an urgent process, because I ran out of time on my 90 day visa and had to leave the Schengen Area while I waited for my new application to get approved. It was a very long, very complicated process filled with conflicting information and bureaucracy. It can very difficult to deal with Czech authorities sometimes as some are very nice and helpful and others just downright do not want to deal with you. Thankfully at least, leaving the Schengen Area turned into my favourite journey of exchange where I did a road trip around Cyprus for 11 days in the middle of university, and had a great time there. I ended up getting my visa approved while I was there and picked it up from Berlin after I got back to Prague.

Professional Development

Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is a huge deal. I can say I had culture shock in my first in Prague as it was just so completely different to Australia, and the language barrier was big at first. But very quickly I learned to embrace the experience and Prague quickly became on of my favourite places on Earth. Having to put yourself out there and force yourself into the deep end gives a great sense of self dependency. Also getting to meet people from such different backgrounds gives a great perspectives into the lives of others, and helps to build confidence in approaching and meeting strangers. 


Without a doubt meeting all the wonderful people along the way. I made some really strong friendships and have great memories with all the people I spent time with. My experience would not be the same without them, from dancing on tables at Oktoberfest to snowboarding in France. Even outside of a tight-knit friend group there are still so many other exchange students in Prague all in the same boat, and you all see each other out, in class, around the dorms so you make countless friends while there. Not only within Prague but whilst travelling to other countries before and after exchange I met some great people along the way and the people I met really made the whole exchange unique.

Top tips

SORT OUT YOUR VISA. Trust me, you do NOT want to experience what I did regarding the visa situation (do go to Cyprus though). It was a nightmare at the time and very stressful because it possibly meant I would need to leave exchange if it wasn’t approved. I cannot stress it enough, but double, triple, quadruple confirm your visa is absolutely 100% confirmed and ready before you leave. I was given incorrect information that cost me a lot of time and money trying to arrange a new visa. Other than that I would definitely recommend living in the dorms, it is a great way to meet people, and groups start getting tighter over time so put yourself out there early. Basically say yes to everything, ESN runs events most weeks and people will offer to go on trips with them. Just say yes, every good time starts with yes. My only regret is turning down a trip to go to Dublin as they had a great time there.