If I can study in the Czech Republic by myself, I can conquer anything. Past Review

By (HISTORY., Kansas State University) for

Masaryk University: Brno - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Like I mentioned above, it was the best experience of my life. While my studies and food experiences were not quite what I expected, I would still do it all over again in a heartbeat. I really miss all of it. It made me look at the United States completely differently and made me appreciate all the luxuries I have at home, such as free water. I think I've become more aware of the world around me and more confident in my abilities to be more independent. If I could head to Europe by myself, I can do anything.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Teaching methods at Masaryk University were more hands off. I find that the teachers at KSU get more involved with the students and make more effort to interact with their students. At Masaryk, many students did not attend class at all or they were late but the teachers were not concerned or didn't really notice. In each class, I only had two or three grades with no homework except for readings. No worksheets or anything, so the workload consisted of readings and what ever you chose to do on your own. Another interesting thing, and this doesn't have to do with the education system exactly, but Masaryk University is spread out all through town. Whereas KSU is mostly on one campus in one location, Masaryk's buildings are all over the place and that made it difficult to find class at first.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Overall, it was okay. The classes that most of the international students enrolled in, including myself, were designed specifically FOR international students. So classes only met one time a week, and never on Fridays. So that left us a lot of time to travel. Access to certain facilities, such as computers, libraries, copiers, etc., were a little bit harder to come by. You had to have your ID card with you to get into these places and in order to access a computer, you had to have a completely different set of login information. So it's different, but not bad.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

While the dorm was very different from any other place I've lived, I have only positive things to say. It was located in a safe place; I never heard of anybody having any problems. It was about a twenty or thirty minute walk to my classes and the city center, where all of the main attractions were, but I find that I didn't mind the distance at all. The dorms were decent, very different from the dorms in the United States. It was great living with all of the other international students, including other Americans. The only problems we ever had were with the receptionists, because they were not fluent in English (which made no sense because you had to speak English to live in the dorm), so things did not go smoothly all the time.

* Food:

The food in the city was great, but the cafeteria was only open from 11am to 2pm! It was absolutely ridiculous! Cafeterias at KSU are open almost constantly, but here you really had to scrounge for food.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I met so many people through this program and became friends with so many people, so that was really great. We went on trips almost every weekend, to places like Munich (a.k.a. Oktoberfest), Prague, Berlin, Vienna, etc. The school also had a program called BIG Tours that set up trips for students with a tour guide and everything. Through that program, I went to Slovakia, eastern Bohemia, Krakow & Auschwitz, and Budapest. I really enjoyed ALL of those trips. My host city of Brno was just as great. There were so many festivals going on ALL the time and it was a very lively city; there was always something to do. It was neat to interact with all the local people.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I never had any health issues and I always felt safe throughout the city, partly because I used my own common sense to get myself places. I had a friend who had an infection and was taken to the hospital in Brno, and she said she received adequate care. Regarding safety, I never had any trouble. A few friends, however, were pick pocketed or were approach by unfriendly people demanding money or things of that sort. But those instances were rare.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Plan out very carefully how much you want to spend. Really budget out your money and make sure you always have cash on hand, no matter what country your in. If you must pull money out of your American bank account at an ATM, pull out a significant amount of money because you will be charged a fee for doing so. Also, be prepared for extra expenses on transportation. We missed a bus in Berlin to go back to Brno, so we had to spend 90 extra euros to take a train back home. Be prepared for anything.


How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None

Direct Enrollment/Exchange

* Did you study abroad through an exchange program or did you directly enroll in the foreign university? Exchange

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Traveling; the Czech Republic is in the perfect location for students to travel to other places, there's so much around it.
  • Just being out of the United States was so refreshing. I liked being immersed in this new culture where I wasn't being bombardered with all things American.
  • I liked meeting students from all over the world and getting to learn about their traditions and their way of life.
* What could be improved?
  • Perhaps the quality of the classes.
  • The cafeterias should be open longer.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Budget, budget, budget. Really be careful of your spending habits. It's easy to get lost in the fantasy of being in Europe or overseas and spend much more then you plan to. Just keep a watchful on your financial status. Keep up with school, but that's pretty standard. Get involved and go out as much as you can. Studying abroad is about the experiencing of being in a new culture, so soak it up as much as possible because once you're back in the states, you find that you miss it dearly. Keep in contact with people you become friends with; you'll meet the most amazing, interesting, and new people. They will become your friends, companions, and lifeline while you're abroad, so keep in contact with them. You never know when you'll be abroad again and need a place to stay. Don't be afraid to try new things, either. You'll never get involved if you're intimidated or scared by the newness of everything. You just have to go for it. I think students who are a little bit more independent and can manage on their own would benefit the most from this program. But anybody can do this. I would recommend it to anybody!

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Cultural Anthropology of Post-Socialism

Course Department: CUS:CZS05
Instructor: Miklós Vörös
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This course was unlike any course I have ever taken. We met only four times in the semester, but for five hour periods. It was mostly lecture and student presentations. The teacher was always well-prepared and knew everything about the subject. But he was late to every class and didn't start the class until half an hour after the supposed start time. That meant we didn't get out of class until later that the official end time. I did not participate in class too much except for my presentation. I've participated a lot more at K-State then I did here. The teacher was very intimidating and criticized us openly, so we didn't talk very much.
Credit Transfer Issues: I have yet to receive my transcript from Masaryk.
Course Name/Rating:

History of the Central Europe

Course Department: CUS:CZS51
Instructor: Jana Hrabcová
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This was the class that I learned the most in. I found the teaching method to be uninspiring, but I was still able to learn quite a bit about the history of central Europe. However, I was disappointed with the subject matter; we spoke mainly about the "facts" of the events that occurred instead of learning about the ideas behind what happened. Directly prior to studying abroad, I took a difficult history course so I was expecting History of Central Europe to be equally as challenging but it fell short to my expectations. I felt like a freshman all over again.
Credit Transfer Issues: I have yet to receive my transcript from Masaryk.
Course Name/Rating:

Music in the Czech Lands

Course Department: CUS:CZS33
Instructor: Vladimír Maňas
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This class looked at the history of Czech music. I found the teacher hard to follow; he was very sporadic and seemed unfocused. Honestly, I did not take much from the class.
Credit Transfer Issues: I have yet to receive my transcript from Masaryk.
Course Name/Rating:

Czech Cinema I

Course Department: CUS:CZS32
Instructor: Jaromír Blažejovský
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This class was interesting. It surveyed Czech history through cinema, so all we did in that class was watch Czech movies, starting at the beginning of the film era and ending with a contemporary film. I enjoyed the class.
Credit Transfer Issues: I have yet to receive my transcript from Masaryk.