The Czech Republic's rich and varied history characterized by repression, resilience and a long struggle for independence makes this small country in the heart of Europe a fascinating place to experience. The Moravian highlands offer outstanding opportunities for hiking, bicycling and skiing, and the caves and underground rivers of the Moravion Karst and Macocha Abyss will fascinate visitors. Visit the nearby cathedrals, castles, breweries and caves in and around Brno, or travel just a few hours to Prague, Bratislava, Vienna, Budapest or Krakow.



Languages Spoken:

Czech, Slovak

Education System

HIGHER EDUCATION OVERVIEW 

There are two main types of higher education institutions in the Czech Republic: private and public. Public institutions are financed by the state budget of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports. Private foundations can be partially financed by the state. All higher education institutions provide accredited study programs that are assessed by the Accreditation Commission. After completing gymnasium or vocational school, students who wish to attend university must pass the maturita (school-leaving) exam. Entrance requirements for Czech universities are quite strict and very competitive. Applicants must successfully complete discipline-related entrance exams. 

Bachelor studies (Bakalar) usually take three to four years to complete and cover all main disciplines. To finish the academic cycle, students must sit for a final state exam including the defense of a Bachelor's thesis. Degrees awarded are either the Bc. (Bakalar), or BcA (Bakalar umeni) in the field of Arts. 

Master study programs (Magistr) in humanities, education and social sciences, natural sciences, pharmacy, theology, law and art last for two to three years. In economics, agriculture, chemistry and technology studies last for two years and lead to the academic degree of Inzenyr. Doctoral studies (Doktor) are the highest level of higher education and take place under the guidance of a tutor. The program is aimed at scientific research and independent study. To apply for doctoral programs, students must hold a master's degree. 

Students at Masaryk, and in Europe in general, live in dormitory-style suites equipped with kitchens and bathrooms.  Students generally shop for food and cook their own meals in the dorms. Twenty-four-hour dining halls are not readily available. Students tend to live about 20-30 minutes from their classrooms. 

 

STUDYING IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC 

Courses 

Courses are available at Masaryk in a variety of languages, the most common languages of instruction being Czech, English and German. Classes are generally held from September to May.  

Registration 

Check with the host institution's International Student Guide for details on enrolling in courses.  

Exams & Grading 

Czech higher education institutions use a six-point grading system. An A (or vyborne, excellent) is the highest mark, while F (nevyhovující, failed) is the lowest. MU subscribes to the system of ECTS - European Credit Transfer System. 

Course Load 

A typical full-time student at Masaryk takes 30 ECTS hours per semester; international students are required to enroll in 20 ECTS per term, though your home institution may require more credits than this. You will typically be enrolled in four to five courses per term, spending 10-12 hours per week in class. Terms last 13-15 weeks.  

Transcripts 

Masaryk University has an electronic system of registration of courses whereby transcripts are issued upon teachers' filling in the grades for the courses they taught. Each student can access his or her authenticated study agenda and check the state of the grade completion, i.e. see what grades are missing and contact the teacher concerned to load the grade in the system. 

The student should make sure that he/she has cleared all financial/administrative arrangements with the host institution in order for the academic transcript to be sent to ISEP Central. The student should also make sure that results have been registered before returning home. ISEP Central will forward the official transcript to the student via the home university coordinator. 

Each student receives a scanned copy of his/her transcript before it is sent to ISEP central office. If former students need additional copies of the transcript, please contact Masaryk ISEP coordinator (the maximum is 5 copies). 

Visa and Residency

Please note that students should ALWAYS check the website of the embassy/consulate with jurisdiction over their place of residence first, as the information in this handbook regarding visa application instructions is subject to change without warning. 

 

LONG TERM VISA

Type of visa for Semester or Full Year: long-term visa for the purpose of "studies"

Visa fee: varies by consulate

Expected processing time: 3-4 months, pending requests for additional documentation

When to apply: as soon as possible after you receive your acceptance letter and any admission documents from your host university

 

APPLYING FOR A LONG TERM VISA

Students must apply (usually in person) for a long-term visa for the purpose of "studies" for Masaryk University. Please see the requirements for an application webpage from the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs for information on how to apply, as well as a list of required documents. Some of these documents will be sent after students complete enrollment processes at Masaryk University. Please also see the list of embassies and consulates around the world for the consulate with jurisdiction over your place of residence. All visas must be approved by the Czech Immigration Police, therefore the processing time is approximately 60 days from the date the embassy receives the completed application. The embassy recommends that applicants send their applications at least three months before their intended departure from the U.S. There is absolutely no way to rush the process.

Please note: All documents must be presented in their original form or as a notarized copy. No documents may be older than 180 days, except your passport and birth certificate. Some of the documents must be submitted along with an official translation in the Czech language. Please contact the embassy for a list of translators and interpreters; also ask about the embassy's official verification and approval of translations.

 

ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATIONS

• ALWAYS USE THE MIGRATION WEBSITES FIRST. The information located in this guide may not be as up to date as the official Czech Ministry websites. 

• Some requirements vary according to the embassy or consulate applied to; please check with the consulate that has jurisdiction for your address before applying.

• The permit must have been approved before your arrival in the Czech Republic.

• The Czech Republic is a member of the Schengen area. Students should review the important regulations that dictate travel and visas within the Schengen area.

 

RESOURCES

Requirements for an application for a long-term visa for the purpose of "studies"

Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs

- Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic

Czech Missions Abroad - a list of consulates and embassies around the world

- Which consular office in the U.S. should you contact?

 

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Updated May 2019

Culture

INTRODUCTION

The country borders Poland to the northeast, Germany to the west and northwest, Austria to the south and Slovakia to the east. The capital and largest city is Prague (Czech: Praha). The country is composed of the historic regions of Bohemia and Moravia, as well as parts of Silesia. The population of the Czech Republic is 10.2 million, of whom roughly 95% are Czech, with significant Romany, Slovak, Polish and German minorities.

The Czech Republic is a pluralist multi-party parliamentary representative democracy. The Prime Minister is the head of government. The Parliament has two chambers: the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate. It is also a member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the Council of Europe and the Visegrád Group.

RELIGION

The Czech Republic, along with Estonia, has one of the least religious populations in all of Europe. According to the 2001 census, 59% of the country is agnostic, atheist or non-believer, 26.8% is Roman Catholic and 2.5% is Protestant.

FOOD

Czech cuisine is marked by a strong emphasis on meat dishes. Pork is quite common; beef and chicken are also popular. Goose, duck, rabbit and wild game are served. Fish is rare, with the occasional exception of fresh trout and carp, which is served at Christmas.

Aside from Slivovitz, Czech beer and wine, Czechs also produce two uniquely Czech liquors: Fernet Stock and Becherovka. Kofola is a non-alcoholic domestic cola soft drink which competes with Coca Cola and Pepsi in popularity.

The Czech Republic is the country where modern beer was invented. Czechs are the heaviest beer drinkers in the world, drinking about 160 litres of it per capita per year. Restaurants and pubs do not offer water for free.

TIPPING: Tipping in restaurants is optional but increasingly expected in Prague. If there is no service charge you should certainly round up the bill to the next 10Kč or 20Kč (a 5% to 10% tip is normal in Prague). The same applies to tipping taxi drivers.

SPORTS

Sport plays a part in the life of many Czechs, who are generally loyal supporters of their favorite teams or individuals. The two leading sports in the Czech Republic are football (soccer) and ice hockey, both drawing the largest attention of both the media and supporters.

Sport is a source of strong waves of patriotism, usually rising several days or weeks before an event and sinking several days after. The events considered the most important by Czech fans are the Ice Hockey World Championships, Olympic Ice hockey tournament, UEFA European Football Championship, FIFA World Cup and qualification matches for such events. In general, any international match of the Czech ice hockey or football national team draws attention, especially when played against a traditional rival: Germany in football; Russia, Sweden and Canada in ice hockey; and Slovakia in both.

CUSTOMS

Meeting and Greeting

Initial greetings are formal and reserved. Most greetings include a handshake, direct eye contact and the appropriate greeting for the time of day. Wait to be invited before using someone's first name or an informal greeting, as these are all signs of friendship. Moving to the informal without an invitation insults the person and may be viewed as an attempt to humiliate them.

Holidays and Rituals

Easter (Velikonoce): On Easter Monday it is customary for guys to (slightly) spank girls and women with a wicker stick with colorful ribbons at the end (pomlázka), in the hope that the girls and women will in turn give them colored eggs, candy or drinks. After noon, girls defend themselves by pouring water on the guys. Obvious tourists are often (but not always) exempt.

Witch Burning or Night of Witches: On the last April evening, bonfires are lit around the country. "Witch" figurines, as a symbol of evil, are made and burned in the fire. This is the reinterpretation of the old pagan festival (Beltane) influenced by Christian inquisition. Because probably most Czechs would prefer the witches over the inquisitors, in many fires no witches are burnt, and the feast is celebrated in a more original pagan way – witches are those who should celebrate the night, not be burnt. It doesn't stop jokes like "Honey, hide or you will be burnt tonight!"

Last Ringing: A traditional celebration of the end of the last year at a high school. It is celebrated usually in late April or early May, a week or more before the final exams take place (the time may be different in different schools). Students get a free day and usually do silly things in silly costumes. They go to the streets and collect money from people passing by, sometimes threatening them with water, writing on their faces with a lipstick or spraying them with perfume. The collected money is used at a party after the exams.

Feast of St. Nicolaus, December 5: On this day, St. Nicolaus roams about with his consorts, an angel and a devil. He gives small presents and candy to children to reward them for their good behavior throughout the year, while the devil chastises children for their wrongdoings over the course of the year and gives them potatoes, coal or sometimes spankings as a punishment. Old Town Square in Prague is a great place to watch the festivities.

Christmas (Vánoce): Czechs begin celebrating this holiday on Christmas Eve and continue to celebrate until December 26 (the Feast of Stephen). Presents are placed under a Christmas tree (by the Baby Jesus as little children believe) and taken after dinner on Christmas Eve. Potato salad and carp is a traditional Christmas meal, and for this reason one can see live carp being sold out of huge tanks throughout the streets of Czech cities and towns just before Christmas.

Daily Life

INTRODUCTION

The country borders Poland to the northeast, Germany to the west and northwest, Austria to the south and Slovakia to the east. The capital and largest city is Prague (Czech: Praha). The country is composed of the historic regions of Bohemia and Moravia, as well as parts of Silesia. The population of the Czech Republic is 10.2 million, of whom roughly 95% are Czech, with significant Romany, Slovak, Polish and German minorities.

The Czech Republic is a pluralist multi-party parliamentary representative democracy. The Prime Minister is the head of government. The Parliament has two chambers: the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate. It is also a member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the Council of Europe and the Visegrád Group.

RELIGION

The Czech Republic, along with Estonia, has one of the least religious populations in all of Europe. According to the 2001 census, 59% of the country is agnostic, atheist or non-believer, 26.8% is Roman Catholic and 2.5% is Protestant.

FOOD

Czech cuisine is marked by a strong emphasis on meat dishes. Pork is quite common; beef and chicken are also popular. Goose, duck, rabbit and wild game are served. Fish is rare, with the occasional exception of fresh trout and carp, which is served at Christmas.

Aside from Slivovitz, Czech beer and wine, Czechs also produce two uniquely Czech liquors: Fernet Stock and Becherovka. Kofola is a non-alcoholic domestic cola soft drink which competes with Coca Cola and Pepsi in popularity.

The Czech Republic is the country where modern beer was invented. Czechs are the heaviest beer drinkers in the world, drinking about 160 litres of it per capita per year. Restaurants and pubs do not offer water for free.

TIPPING: Tipping in restaurants is optional but increasingly expected in Prague. If there is no service charge you should certainly round up the bill to the next 10Kč or 20Kč (a 5% to 10% tip is normal in Prague). The same applies to tipping taxi drivers.

SPORTS

Sport plays a part in the life of many Czechs, who are generally loyal supporters of their favorite teams or individuals. The two leading sports in the Czech Republic are football (soccer) and ice hockey, both drawing the largest attention of both the media and supporters.

Sport is a source of strong waves of patriotism, usually rising several days or weeks before an event and sinking several days after. The events considered the most important by Czech fans are the Ice Hockey World Championships, Olympic Ice hockey tournament, UEFA European Football Championship, FIFA World Cup and qualification matches for such events. In general, any international match of the Czech ice hockey or football national team draws attention, especially when played against a traditional rival: Germany in football; Russia, Sweden and Canada in ice hockey; and Slovakia in both.

CUSTOMS

Meeting and Greeting

Initial greetings are formal and reserved. Most greetings include a handshake, direct eye contact and the appropriate greeting for the time of day. Wait to be invited before using someone's first name or an informal greeting, as these are all signs of friendship. Moving to the informal without an invitation insults the person and may be viewed as an attempt to humiliate them.

Holidays and Rituals

Easter (Velikonoce): On Easter Monday it is customary for guys to (slightly) spank girls and women with a wicker stick with colorful ribbons at the end (pomlázka), in the hope that the girls and women will in turn give them colored eggs, candy or drinks. After noon, girls defend themselves by pouring water on the guys. Obvious tourists are often (but not always) exempt.

Witch Burning or Night of Witches: On the last April evening, bonfires are lit around the country. "Witch" figurines, as a symbol of evil, are made and burned in the fire. This is the reinterpretation of the old pagan festival (Beltane) influenced by Christian inquisition. Because probably most Czechs would prefer the witches over the inquisitors, in many fires no witches are burnt, and the feast is celebrated in a more original pagan way – witches are those who should celebrate the night, not be burnt. It doesn't stop jokes like "Honey, hide or you will be burnt tonight!"

Last Ringing: A traditional celebration of the end of the last year at a high school. It is celebrated usually in late April or early May, a week or more before the final exams take place (the time may be different in different schools). Students get a free day and usually do silly things in silly costumes. They go to the streets and collect money from people passing by, sometimes threatening them with water, writing on their faces with a lipstick or spraying them with perfume. The collected money is used at a party after the exams.

Feast of St. Nicolaus, December 5: On this day, St. Nicolaus roams about with his consorts, an angel and a devil. He gives small presents and candy to children to reward them for their good behavior throughout the year, while the devil chastises children for their wrongdoings over the course of the year and gives them potatoes, coal or sometimes spankings as a punishment. Old Town Square in Prague is a great place to watch the festivities.

Christmas (Vánoce): Czechs begin celebrating this holiday on Christmas Eve and continue to celebrate until December 26 (the Feast of Stephen). Presents are placed under a Christmas tree (by the Baby Jesus as little children believe) and taken after dinner on Christmas Eve. Potato salad and carp is a traditional Christmas meal, and for this reason one can see live carp being sold out of huge tanks throughout the streets of Czech cities and towns just before Christmas.

Health and Safety

Your health and safety is our number one priority. Please read and reference our Guides and Tips section for general information regarding health and safety abroad. 

 

Detailed information about the Czech Republic can be found here. Please pay special attention to the Safety and SecurityLocal Laws and Special Circumstances and Health sections. 

Note: Information sourced on this page is provided by the U.S. Department of State. Non-U.S. nationals should disregard the Embassies and Consulates and Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements sections. 

 

Currency

The Czech national currency is the Czech Crown (Ceská Koruna; Kc). Crowns are divided into 100 smaller units, called hallers (halér). Crowns are fully convertible on all international markets.

BANKING

The main banks – Komercní banka, Ceská sporitelna, CSOB and Zivnostenská banka – are the best places to change cash and travelers checks or get a cash advance on Visa or MasterCard. American Express and Thomas Cook offices change their own-brand checks without commission.

Beware of the private exchange offices (smenárna), especially in Prague – they advertise misleading rates and often charge exorbitant commissions or 'handling fees'.

ATMS AND CREDIT CARDS

There’s a nationwide network of ATMs (bankomaty). Credit cards are widely accepted in gas stations, midrange and top-end hotels, restaurants and shops.

For the most current conversion rates, please visit this currency conversion site.

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