Bachelor of Engineering/Commerce
Bachelor of Engineering/Commerce

There are countless reasons to study abroad at the University of Economics (VSE) in Prague. Some of these reasons may be obvious to you. Others, maybe not. It’s possible you chose Prague because it is one of the most beautiful and charming cities in Europe. This is true. But, the wonders of Google images and a guidebook could tell you this. Equally valid, your choice of Prague may be a result of talk about it’s nightlife and the wonders of a city where beer really is cheaper than water. This is also good to keep in mind. But these are the conclusions of any backpacker who happens to stumble across Prague while venturing through central Europe. Possibly you chose Prague because of its ideal location in regard to other travel destinations. Or maybe you heard living expenses are incredibly low even though Prague is a developed economy in the centre of Europe. These are all true. However, these factors only contribute to the context of your life in Prague. Exchange is all about the people you meet, most importantly those from the Jarov dormitories. These are the equally wide-eyed exchangers who will share the ins and outs of Czech life with you.

Like most, I arrived in Prague with a study plan full of spare electives. Currently, I’m in my 5th year of a dual degree in Civil Engineering/Commerce and coming to Prague was a chance to fully immerse myself in the commerce side of my degree. Despite a few hassles at home in regard to granting of credit and changing of study plans, I eventually produced a seven subject-30 ECTS schedule that I was genuinely looking forward to. With my semester finished and the benefit of hindsight with me there are a few things I would recommend in compiling a study plan.

  • Choose as many ‘intensive courses’ as you can. These are courses with usually 3 – 5 students stretched over 3 days. Often, these courses are of equal weight to a similar course that lasts the entire semester. They are a great way to complete a section of your curriculum quickly and effectively (with such small classes you’ve no option but to learn).
  • Only take courses with fellow exchange students. A lot of English courses that are offered are usually reserved for Czech students who need to accrue English speaking credits with the hope to go on exchange. These courses are graded more harshly as examiners will often take it easy on an all-exchange exam. 
  • If in need of extra courses to round out the number of credits on your study plan, choose Elementary Czech and Introduction to Business Protocol. Despite their best attempts the university has failed to accurately rank each course in terms of credits. These course are worth 6 credits, while others are more difficult and worth less.

Having already lived at a residential college at UQ there was no question in my mind that I would live in the dormitories. In retrospect, this is the most simple and most crucial decision to be made. It is like living with 200 of your friends in the same building. Yes, the spaces are cramped and the non-English speaking receptionists will give you nightmares but these are the things that you will bond over with your new mates. Living with a roommate was an adjustment (even in college we had private rooms) but I quickly realised that this would be the most important friendship I would make. This proved true on numerous occasions (when I forgot my keys, when I got pickpocketed, anytime I felt like playing squash). Living at Jarov was like having your social life organized for you. There would always be something happening on any particular night and a chance encounter with someone on the tram or in the hallways would give you a kick off point for the night. And of course the nightlife is incredible. The Nation 2 Nation parties on Tuesday are an institution but there is also always the opportunity to explore Prague and go on a weekend trip to any of the surrounding European countries.

So come to Prague and go to the University of Economics. Take advantage of the time you have (go during the fall semester and use each respective summer holidays for travelling) but at the same time go with the flow. Live in the dormitories and meet the people of the world. Immerse yourself and make Prague your own. It is a shared voyage and personal one. It is an experience you will cherish and never forget.


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