Ned - University of Economics, Prague

B Business Economics/ B Engineering
Semester 2, 2017

Academic Experience

I study a dual degree program at UQ however in my exchange I only studied within one discipline, Business Management (Business Economics).I had a lot of difficulties with my course sign on, however i emailed the lecturers personally and was able to get into a class that was technically full. Due to the difference in credit system I found myself studying 7 courses (alot more than UQ), however i passed all my courses so it's no problem.

The classes are a lot smaller than UQ and I often had the same lecturer for multiple courses. It is a great opportunity to have meaningful discussion and develop a friendly relationship with your lecturers. This relationship may become very helpful when you have to reschedule exams or miss some classes.

Personal Experience

I arrived in Europe a month before my courses began and traveled through Italy, Croatia and France before i went to the Czech Republic. I sprained my ankle while rock climbing in France so i arrived to the university on crutches. Despite the obvious difficulties of being on crutches it was definitely a convenient conversation starter, so even in a bad situation there are positives to come out of it.

During the exchange I made friends from all over the world and many corners of Europe. I made the majority of my friends at the dormitories during parties and at class, however I did make some friends while going to the local indoor climbing gyms.

The language diversity of Europe was amazing, most people on exchange could speak at least two langauges (english+native) while it wasn't uncommon for someone to speak 3 or 4 languages. This really inspired me to start learning a second language (Spanish). The czech language is very distinctive compared to the common European languages (Spanish, French, German) and learning a small amount will go a long way with the locals.

I was able to take two weeks off uni to travel to Switzerland to visit a friend and help work on a farm in the mountains, one of my favorite and richest experiences during the exchange. My friend used a website called WorkAway, definitely recommend it if you have time before or after exchange (or maybe during...)

I made a good friend with my Buddy from the Buddy System. We would catch up every couple of weeks for a coffee or lunch and I was so grateful to have this Czech friend. it was also great to help her with her English skills.

Accommodation 

I lived on the Dormitories Jarov F and would definitely recommend this. The dorms took a while to get used too especially sharing a room and the small kitchen. Don't waste anytime in making friends with your flat mates and room mates because it will definitely enhance your experience.

The majority of exchange students live in the same dorm so its hard not to make friends there, the elevator (if it works) is a good place to crack up a conversation. Heading down to the JUVE, (the dorm bar) for some cheap beers and some table fusbal became a bit of a tradition for my group of friends and i would recommend this for some cheap social entertainment close to home.

Ask at reception if there are any leftover cooking and crockery things and you may get lucky!

There is a facebook page for the Exchange group (search Erasmus University of Economics Prague). Post anything you want to do in there and you will likely make some friends who are also interested in doing that (e.g. playing Age of Empires).

Budget 

  • The rent was approximately $800 for the whole semester (cheap as chips mate)
  • Food was similar to Australia approx $50-100 for groceries each week. Cheap food at the university 50 Kc ($3) Pizzas
  • Beer is cheap and good, 30 Kc ($2) at the JUVE, if you liker beer there are some nice small breweries around prague.
  • Get a transport pass for Prague when you get there (your buddy will help) and enjoy the beautiful tram system ($40)
  • GoEuro is a website which compares all buses, trains and planes to get to different parts of Europe, i used it extensively to find the cheapest way to get somewhere. 30 euro will get you a bus to most places from Prague.
  • Entertainment costs depends on what your into, I often went to the indoor climbing gym which cost me about 80 Kc each time ($5) which was realtively cheap compared to Australia.
  • I would recommend around $200 a week after rent is reasonable, plus any travel expenses to get to other places and to and from Australia. Some countries are more expensive than others so make sure you consider this when travelling.

Professional Development & Employability

I developed a cultural awareness and I strengthened my ability to make friends and work with people from differing cultural backgrounds. Economics of the Czech republic was unique and i learnt a lot about the impacts of the soviet communist regime and the European Union.

Highlights 

Highlight of the exchange experience in Prague was the great friendships I made. i now have friends from all over the world that i hope to visit one day and will likely come and visit me in Australia in the future.

Top Tips 

  • I would definitely recommend talking to someone about the sign on system at least a month or so before you start courses.
  • Make sure you study during the semester as the final exams for exchange students are very intensive. For example I had 7 exams and 2 reports in the last 2 weeks while normal classes were still running.
  • Do some activities outside of university and exchange programs to have a richer experience in the city you live.
  • Don't be afraid to miss a class, let your lecturer know before you miss it and ask about anything you may miss and there will likely be no negative repercussions as long as you can catch up on the work.
  • Learn some basic Czech and use it! I always got a smile and a laugh when I butchered there language but it always lightened the mood and was better than not trying!