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Ahoj from Praha!

As the only UTS student heading to Prague for exchange this semester, it’s safe to say I was pretty nervous on the flight over. A new city where English isn’t the first language and I knew absolutely no one, I had mentally prepared myself for some culture shock and a bit of an adjustment period. 6 weeks later and from the day I got off the plane until now I have been having the time of my life. As much as this is an experience that has challenged me and put me out of my comfort zone, I also felt at home almost instantly, as VSE works hard to make the transition into life here a breeze. I am so in love with Prague as a city, and the community of people that is formed through the exchange program at VSE is so welcoming and diverse that you are bound to get along with everyone and form a great group of lifelong friends.

In terms of uni life, the study load here is pretty easy going. The study load is light and (depending on the subject) the assignments are no harder than what you’d have to do in most first year subjects. The lecturers are usually not native English speakers which can sometimes be tricky if they have thick accents, but ultimately has not been a huge issue.

So why Prague? I think the three things that make exchange in this city so great are:

  1. It’s cheap. Accommodation, food and drink are all very cheap here. This makes it very easy to justify doing all of the fun things you want to do during the week with your friends here, like go out for food and drinks or go to the movies, and still know that you have enough saved up to do all of the travelling you want to be doing throughout the semester. This has definitely taken out some of the stress that can be involved with exchange and sticking to a budget.
  2. It’s central. Prague is very central within Europe which makes it easy to go on weekends away on more of a budget. With cities like Berlin, Krakow, Vienna, Munich and so many more all a bus trip away, a return trip won’t cost you more than 30 euros, which means that if you decide on a Thursday night you’d love to go somewhere else for the weekend, you can do just that!
  3. It’s fun. Prague is known for having good nightlife. With some of the biggest clubs in Europe and many people heading here just for a good night out, it is hard not to have a good time here. VSE is also great at organising events for the exchange students, with day trips, cultural experiences and parties every Tuesday night just for the exchange students, which are always a bunch of fun. All of these events are especially valuable in the first few weeks as they are a great way to meet people and make friends.

Ultimately, I cannot fault any part of my exchange experience so far. If you are looking for a more challenging academic environment than UTS for your exchange, it might be wise to look elsewhere. But if you are looking to make friends, see and experience as much of Europe as possible, and have a tonne of fun, Prague could just be the perfect place for you.

Erin Clarke
Bachelor of Economics
University of Economics (VSE)
Czech Republic

For more information about the UTS Global Exchange program please visit: www.global-exchange.uts.edu.au

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