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Doing Exchange in Prague: A Great Value Option

In this new series we want to help IBCoM students decide on what destinations to pick for their exchange wish lists. We have reached out to our international students who originally come from the cities that can be selected and asked them to convey some impressions of their local friends for us.

This time, Tomáš from the second year writes about the experience of his friends who study back in Prague, Czech Republic.

Two years ago, Evelína Viktorová was dreaming of studying architecture in the United Kingdom. However, unforeseen circumstances made her change her plans and now she studies architecture in Prague. And guess what, she doesn’t regret it at all!

“What I like about Prague the most? Well, it’s simply beautiful.  I really enjoy these early, foggy mornings when I take the tram to uni and we ride on the riverbank and there is a great view over the Vltava River as well as the Lesser Town and the magnificent Prague castle. Those are the moments I really enjoy,” she says.

Evelína is one of the approximately 130,000 students who study at one of the universities that reside in the Czech capital. The rich and diverse student community is one of the elements that make Prague a perfect exchange destination. Let’s see what else this city in the middle of Europe has to offer!

Beauty of the history

The quote from Evelína at the beginning says it nearly all. Even though I am clearly biased, I really think the historical centre of Prague is uniquely nice and well-preserved. Especially outside of the tourist season, strolling through the city in the evening is a perfect way how to let all the historical sights take your breath away.

Whether it is the 700 years old Charles Bridge, or the biggest castle in Europe that is the dominant of the panorama on the classic holiday photos from Prague, there is something truly genuine about the city and spending a few months there will make you feel like this only more.

Small and large at the same time

Prague has roughly 1.25 million citizens, which is twice as much as there is people in Rotterdam. However, the city feels much more compact and cosy. Everything is easily accessible by metro and trams, which connect all the important hotspots in the city by day and night.

“I used to live in Amsterdam for a year and I really hated how inefficient the local public transport is. Trams are terribly slow, metro doesn’t go to the city centre and night busses are ridiculously expensive. I really missed the convenience Prague offers in this sense”, says Štěpán Lavička, who now studies economy in Prague.

“It is very easy to escape the rush of the city here by just jumping on a train and getting to one of the many large and calm parks and forests that are scattered on the outskirts of Prague”, adds Štěpán.

A perfect position within Europe

“Prague is really in the heart of Europe and so it is a perfect starting point if you want to explore the central region of the continent”, claims Miroslav Svoboda, who is now finishing his bachelor in political sciences.

Prague is well-connected by train with many interesting cities such as Budapest, Vienna, Berlin, Munich or Dresden. Exchange experience is to a large extent about travelling so in this sense, Prague is great as it doesn’t lie in the middle of nowhere and a number of cool destinations can be reached within a few hours.

Culturally, Czech Republic provides a blend of two influences. “It is fine to start drinking early in the afternoon, but we also have Starbucks. So I guess we are somewhere in between Eastern and Western Europe”, says Evelína.

Also, as Prague is quite far away from the sea, you don’t get all the annoying wind and rain over there. Well worth it!

There is always something to do

Did you know that Prague is a home to one of the biggest music clubs in Europe? Karlovy lázně club is located right in the middle of the city and offers five stores of clubbing at one place, with each floor playing different style of dance music. “It is a must, if even once in your life”, says Marie Skaláková, a law student.

But even if you are not a party animal, there is much else going on all the time. If you are more of a hipster gal or lad, go to Krymská street, the emerging hotspot for alternative culture with cosy little bars, pubs and experimental spaces.

More into more traditional art and culture? The National Gallery hosts one of the biggest collections of 20th century art in Europe. Also, we Czechs are really proud of the legacy of our great composers such as Smetana, Dvořák or Janáček, so you can visit many classical music concerts all year long. You really shouldn’t get bored easily in Prague.

Let’s talk money

Okay, let’s be honest. Expenses are always important for students and in this sense, Prague is a great budget choice. Štěpán says that one can easily find a nice room in the city centre for under 200€.

Other expenses are low as well. Groceries are around 30% cheaper compared to the Netherlands, especially meat or fruits and vegetables. Eating out is also a viable option, you can get a full meal for 4€ even at popular places. If you’d like to drink it down, local beer is always a great choice. You can get 0.5 litre for around 1€ in a decent restaurant. A monthly unlimited student public transport pass is for mere 10€.

In combination with all of the reasons above, this relative cheapness makes Prague an excellent exchange destination that will not ruin your savings. So I hope to see many of you writing it down as one of your exchange choices!

 

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