Prague Exchange by linzhengnd

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									                         Prague Exchange
 Vysoká škola ekonomická v Praze / Prague University of Economics
           Bcom (International Business), BA (Economics)
                         Semester 1, 2010

Before:

I can’t stress enough the importance of applying early for your student visa. No
matter how much you argue with the consulate they will not reduce the
processing time of 2 months. Make sure you read their check list thoroughly.
The 2 months processing only starts when you send them everything.
However if you don’t mind risking it you can avoid the expense and stress and
arrive without a visa. Many have done this before, and have had no problems
living in Prague.

Arrival:

The biggest shock you will get upon arriving in Prague is the language. It’s a
complicated string of consonants that sound like zrtchrj. There is a beginner’s
Czech paper offered at the University (which I highly recommend). It’s a fun and
easy paper. If that doesn’t sound like you, just make sure you learn a few of the
basics like:

Prosim (proseem) – Please

Djekui (dyekwee) – Thanks

Jedno Pivo (yednoh peevoh) – One beer (they always come as 500ml, unless you
ask for a small, but I wouldn’t advise it)

 A very small proportion of the country speaks English (mainly university
students and teachers). It is never a big problem until the lady in the
supermarket asks you for small change (drobny) and you have no clue what she
wants. It is all part of the experience, and makes for some good stories. Anyway
majority of your time will be spent with the other English speaking exchange
students who will have just as much trouble as you.

After being picked up by your Buddy (assigned local student who helps you with
getting started in Prague) at the airport/train station/bus station, your first
destination will be the Jarov dormitories. Don’t expect anything fancy; otherwise
you will be in for a shock. The dorms are very basic. You will be sharing a room
with another exchange student, see it as a chance to learn something about
another culture. There is a single bed each (Dorm G beds are made up of 3 hard
pillows), a desk, chair, fridge etc. The best thing about living in the dorms is that
all the other exchange students there too. Whether it is a shared dinner, a game
of football or a pre party, there is always something going on.


The Exchange:

A major contributor to the awesomeness of this exchange is the ‘Buddy System’.
It is the group that organizes all the great programs throughout the semester.
Ice breaker weekend (a must for everyone!), ski trip, kayaking, various trips
abroad (Germany, Poland, and throughout Czech Republic), beer rally and not to
mention the infamous Nation2Nation parties. These parties are world renowned,
and for good reason. N2N is a student party held every Tuesday night (a
different venue every week), where the exchange students from a particular
country present their culture through food, drinks, a presentation and a party
game, after that the party begins. Trust me, don’t miss a single one!!! Oh yeah,
and make sure you have Wednesday morning free, most times you won’t get
back home till 7am.

Check out the Nation2Nation link:
http://www.nation2nation.cz/novyweb/gallery




The University:

There are two types of courses taught at VSE, normal courses and intensive
courses (which only take a few days of full day classes to complete). These are
perfect for freeing up time on your week. Most exchange students take a
combination of these, which results in usually having a 4 day weekend, just
what you need for taking trips abroad every other week.

It is small, bland and has very limited student facilities. However, it does have a
very cheap Czech and Italian cafeteria, and a slightly more expensive restaurant
and café.
Prices:

Beer = $2/ $4 in the city
A meal = $5-10
Three months public transportation = $50
Three months accommodation = $700 (plus fast internet)
Overall expenditure = about $8000 (this includes numerous trips abroad,
copious amounts of beer, and a month long summer vacation in Italy and
Greece).

The City:

Prague is an amazing historic city with a lot to offer. It has become very
touristy, but all the hotspots (Prague castle, Charles Bridge, Petrin tower, John
Lennon wall) are definitely worth a look.




The city also provides a great public transportation network that runs
throughout the day and night (perfect for late night clubbing). Just remember
tram 9, and you’re sorted, it takes you from outside your dorms to the
university (20 mins) and further to the city (25mins). Juve, the dorm pub, is well
situated in between all the dorms. It provides for a place to socialize and warm
up for the night ahead. Beers are $2, wines $3 and the quintessential shot of
Becherovka is also $3 (similar to Jagermeister). There are thousands of pubs and
bars to visit in Prague, almost one every block. If you are looking for a really
good night out, take a group down to The Pub. Each table has its own beer taps
with an electronic touch pad to keep track of the amounts. It definitely spurs on
a bit of competition. There are plenty of great clubs too. The good ones usually
have a cover charge but are well worth it.

Travel:

Czech Republic is centered smack bang in the middle of Europe, which makes it
an idea hub to launch trips from. Every destination has its pros and cons, but as
long as you are with a good bunch of people you will have a great time. I suggest
you definitely check out Budapest (to the east) and Berlin (to the north). Both
have had top reviews from everyone who went. When traveling try to use
www.studentagency.cz (cheap bus company that has good connections) and for
further destinations www.ryanair.com or www.wizzair.com (cheap flight
companies). Just beware that when you fly with cheap airlines you will fly to a
smaller airport further out of town. Also, if you want to save money further, and
meet a local in the place you are visiting you may want to sign up for Couch
Surfing, basically people sharing their couches free of charge;
www.couchsurfing.org.




End:

Prague exchange is an amazing experience, which I highly recommend you
partake in. You will make friends from all over the world, and do things you
never would even dream of. It will open your mind and horizons, and at very
least you will come out with great memories.

								
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