Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Economics
Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Economics

Academic experiences

I studied my Economics electives at the University of Economics (VSE) in Prague, Czech Republic including Development Economics, Experimental and Environmental Economics.
The classes taught at VSE were very different from UQ; all the exchange courses were only for exchange students so depending on how many people applied for the course, generally the lectures were pretty small.
Unlike UQ, the lectures and seminars have to occur one after another by the same lecturer.
This made it difficult to concentrate during the entire 3 hours.
The seminars are not the same as my Economics tutorials, they do not consist of doing exercises; these involved presentations.
All my classes were heavily focussed on presentations (individual and group).
A common challenge I faced was not understanding the lecturer through their accent.
Since the courses were only for exchange students, this made it easier to make friends from all over the world.
Furthermore, the small class meant that there were more opportunities for class discussion with fellow peers and the lecturer.
This also meant that the lecturer would get to know our strengths and weaknesses and hence, would focus more on topics we lack knowledge on.

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Personal experiences

I studied in the Czech Republic, a country I knew nothing about and it was because of this that I gained so much more from exchange than the usual experience.
It was because I opted for a cultural experience that made my time there so invaluable.
My time in Prague has changed my views to see things in a new light and as a result my interpersonal and intrapersonal skills have also improved.
The people I met from all over the world including Egypt, Latvia and Vietnam, the places I explored; these are all just invaluable life changes for me.
It was because of my housemates that opened me up to things I would never have accomplished before such as travelling alone.
This entire experience has really gone out of my comfort zone, the norm but it was because of this that I had the most amazing time in my entire life.
I am now motivated and inspired to change my life back at home and have a new beginning.

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Accommodation

I lived at the student dormitories where all the other exchange students lived, about a 20 minute tram ride to the university.
It’s located in a very convenient area with a supermarket one tram stop away and a minimarket and restaurants just across the road.
The fact that all the exchange students lived together in one big building made it the most enjoyable for me.
It was easier to make friends of course as well as easy access to my friends by walking upstairs or downstairs to have a chat or study together.
We would even cook for each other with people living in different flats and have our own mini international dinners.
I had three other flat mates from China, Poland and Canada and initially we were isolated from one another but as the semester progressed, we all warmed up and became very close by the end of the semester.
Since, you’re always surrounded by your flatmates it was hard to find some privacy and this caused a few issues.

Budget

The Czech Republic does not use Euros as its main currency, they have their own currency, the Czech Korunas.
Everything in the Czech Republic was definitely more affordable than living in countries that use the euros as their currency.
For example, my accommodation for 4 months only costed me around $500 AUD equivalent.
The food was incredibly cheap; the main touristy restaurants charged meals for around $15 AUD equivalent and that’s considered overpriced in Czech standards.
Expect to spend on average $5 AUD at a nice restaurant.
The cafeteria at the university would charge around $2 for a meal with rice and beef goulash.
The transport card with student discounts for the entire semester only cost me an equivalent of $40 and that included unlimited travel within Prague.
Prague is also a music nation with numerous ballets, operas and orchestra performances.
A ballet ticket with student discount costs around $8-10 at the prestigious National Theatre so it was just so affordable and a must not miss!
Furthermore, it’s also very affordable to travel within the Czech Republic to nearby towns like Cesky Krumlov.

prague

Academic development and employability

Studying abroad has broadened my mind frame, perspective and comfort zone all of which will enhance my development and employability.
Since all of my courses involved presentations, working as a group with non-native English speakers was a different experience than working with native English speakers.
It involved more effort to concentrate and understand what each other is saying and the inclusion of everyone and their ideas.
In addition to this, I lived with three other students in the same flat.
I had to learn to live with other people different from me and what I was used to and as a result, has increased my flexibility and mind frame.
Travelling alone after my exchange shifted my perspectives dramatically because the more I experienced and the more challenges I faced, the more I knew better and learnt from my mistakes to hopefully now achieve greater.
I have now realised how much the world offers in terms of employability and that opens more opportunities for me to utilise.
Furthermore, pushing my boundaries like going to a non-English speaking country has built up my confidence and in the things I do.
I tried to be open to things and get more involved in university events during the semester which led to more life experiences.

Highlight

A single highlight of my exchange experience would be the opportunity to travel during and after the semester.
Travelling and seeing more was an educational experience for myself.
I did a lot of learning and growing up which led to invaluable experiences and now that I’m back, I’m more motivated and inspired than ever before.
Travelling solo made me connect with the world more; I absorbed and noticed more about each city and culture.

tower

Top tips

Studying Abroad will change your life, whether it be big or small.
The invaluable experiences you gain from merely spending half a year in a foreign country will be priceless.
Your entire perspective of your life and what the world can offer you will shift.
You may find yourself, your interests/ passion and your goals, I know I did.
I studied in a non-English speaking country and I believe that this fact alone made my experience that more special and meaningful.
The Czech cultural events held were so different and foreign from Australian cultural festivities. I was able to meet more international students and there were only a few English speaking exchange students benefiting me to learn other’s cultures and their languages.
 

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