University: Prague College
Which year you are in: 1st year
Home town in the UK: Rock, Cornwal
1. Why did you choose to study abroad?
I chose to study abroad because I had travelled around Europe twice using the interailling programme this year, and I discovered a newfound love for central Europe. I came back from my travels, intending to go to university in England but changed my mind a week before and set my sails towards Prague College. After finding it online, it seemed ideal that I could study an English course and get an English qualification out of it, but at a much cheaper price.
The affordability is a big thing for me. The thought of having a huge debt at the end of studying isn’t what I want out of education. Everyone would ask me “why would you go to Prague?”, “you won’t know anyone and it’s a very big move.”. But for me, that’s the same as going to any university in England, everyone is in the same boat.
2. How would you rate the assistance of the university before you arrived (the application process, finding accommodation, sorting out financial matters)?
The assistance was very good. Anytime I needed contact with the university I could do it very quickly. They helped me with trying to find accommodation, transport and financing. I had a lot of communication via email and phone.
They have a student accommodation building they are associated with, but they had no spaces left in this area as I applied really late. I managed to find a house with six other students all from different countries, independent of Prague College.
I also got a small scholarship with the college which helped a bit with my tuition, and I hope next year to apply for a bigger one.
3. How would you rate the assistance of the university when you arrived (orientation etc)?
The assistance of the university was really smooth. I turned up a week before my course started and went to the college and they helped me with all of the payments, and then I had a week before my orientation session to discover Prague.
The orientation session was like an open day. I had three hours learning about the course, the college and what help I could receive from the staff. The course started a few days later, and I felt like I fitted in straight away.
4. Did you feel prepared when you arrived and/or what surprised you?
Because it was so last minute I didn’t really feel prepared. I had no plans for accommodation or what to take with me because that’s the kind of person I am. I spent a few days looking at different places to stay, and the flat with my students felt like a dream as it was so perfect.
I was surprised at how easy it was to find accommodation and how much availability there was at such a last minute. I was also surprised at how much I could use English in Prague. I currently don’t speak any Czech.
5. How would you rate the learning environment (teaching style, studying with other international students, non-native English speaking lecturers)?
It's a lot more interesting than anything I have experienced in Cornwall. In Cornwall it really isn’t multi-cultural so everyone's views are kind of similar. Moving to Prague and being in this small classroom with 10/15 other nationalities is incredible. With every topic, it's interesting to hear everyone’s views and what they think from a cultural perspective.
Four of my five lecturers are native English speakers, and one is a Czech lady whose English is so coherent that I and the other students have no problem. Some students don’t speak much English, or not as fluently as you would expect for an English course. But they also seem to have no problem with studying and hearing what the teachers have to say.
6. Would you recommend studying abroad to someone your age who might never have thought about it before?
Of course, and the best way to do it is just to jump in. Doing it so last minute it is never really kicked in, the feeling of going off to another country for three years. And after these first two weeks it still hasn’t really kicked in, it isn’t as much of a shock factor as you would think. It’s a lot cheaper for us students, and aside from the educational experience you also learn much more about cultures and other people, the experience feels a lot more whole. It’s a good way to incorporate travelling with a degree, saving you time whilst you are younger.
7. Is there anything you wish someone had told you at the time you applied?
To be honest no, everything so far seems to be going too well and there haven’t been any hurdles or moments where I’ve been let down. Perhaps over the next few months I will find a few things but I feel getting into university in Prague and settling down here is easier than it would have been in England. In England there was much more admin work to do.
8. Would you recommend your course, university, city to British students?
Doing a course called International Business Management, it makes sense to do it in another country. I say you just need to get up and go, if it feels like a strange concept you really will fit in when you start your course over here. The city is beautiful, with a cheaper cost of living than England. I feel very safe here. The public transport is amazing. I feel if any issues arise then the college will be able to help me, no matter what the problem is.
Update: After five months at Prague College, Archie gained a lot of confidence to try new oppotunities, including a trip to Radio Free Europe. For more updates about Archie's journey in Prague, have a look at this website.