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

There are two main types of higher education institutions: 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.

Courses and Grading System

Czech higher education institutions use a six-point grading system. A: vyborne (excellent) is the highest mark, while F: nevyhovující (failed) is the lowest. Classes are generally held from September to May. The most common languages of instruction include Czech, English and German. MU subscribes to the system of ECTS - European Credit Transfer System.

Student Life

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. 24-hour dining halls are not readily available. Students tend to live about 20-30 minutes from their classrooms.

Typical Courseload

Number of classes typical student takes per term:  four to five
Number of hours per week typical student spends in class:  10 - 12
Number of weeks per term:  12-13

Visa and Residency

STUDENT VIS AND RESIDENCE PERMIT

For Consular information, please go visit the Czech Embassy's website.

U.S. citizens must have a visa in order to stay in the Czech Republic for over 90 days. Please submit your completed student visa application and supporting documentation to the embassy or consulate that has jurisdiction over your residence. You must be present in the U.S. at the end of the procedure when the student visa is issued into your passport. Student visa requirements and fees can change without notice. Before submitting your documents and fees, please verify this information with the respective embassy or consulate.

All visas must be approved by the Czech Immigration Police, therefore the processing time is approximately 70 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.

Non-refundable airline tickets or reservations should not be purchased until all visas and passports are secured and in your possession.

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 listed below 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.

Some requirements vary according to the embassy or consulate applied to; the information below is from the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Washington, D.C. Please check with the consulate that has jurisdiction for your address before applying. These documents are required:

  1. Application form

    To apply for a student visa, you must do so with an original application form (no copies). Please request the application form from the embassy or consulate with jurisdiction over your address.
     
  2. Fees

    The processing fee is typically between $105 - $140 depending on where you are applying. Fees may be paid in cash or money order payable to the Embassy of the Czech Republic. No personal checks, please. Fee may change without prior notice.
     
  3. Two passport-size photographs

    They must be photograph size and full face view, side or angled views are not accepted.
     
  4. Original Passport

    The passport must be valid for at least 90 days beyond the expected length of stay in the Czech Republic (90 days after your visa will expire). If you need your passport during the processing time, please send a request with your application as well as stamped envelope so the passport can be returned to you. The passport must again be submitted at the end of the procedure for the issuance of the visa, after the Embassy has received approval from Czech authorities. During this time, you must be present in the United States.
     
  5. Document confirming sufficient financial resources

    The minimum amount of financial resources acceptable is approximately 900 USD + 120 USD per each month of your stay. You can document this with the following:
     
    • an original or notarized copy of a bank account statement in your name from a bank in the Czech Republic or in the USA, showing present balance*; or
    • a notarized copy of a credit or debit card (Visa, Mastercard…) in your name and with a validity for at least the duration of your stay in the Czech Republic, you may cover the credit card number before you make a copy of it, it is not necessary to send a copy of both sides of the card, the copy of the front side is sufficient; or
    • a letter from a host or sponsor (parents must also submit current bank account statement) confirming support of the applicant during his or her stay in the Czech Republic (must be an original document with a notarized signature and presented with an official translation in the Czech language).*
       
  6. Document confirming the purpose of stay. An original, or a copy notarized by a Czech notary, of a document certifying acceptance into a study program in the Czech Republic, issued by a Czech university or school. This document must be in the Czech language.
     
  7. Document confirming accommodation. An original or a copy notarized by a Czech notary of a document issued by a Czech university or school This document must be in the Czech language.
     
    In the case that you will stay in private accommodations:
    • the original statement from the owner of an apartment/house stating his/her ability and willingness to provide accommodation (signature must be notarized by a Czech notary);
    • in the case of a lease of an apartment/house-the original or a notarized copy of the lease contract;
    • in the case of a sublet - the original or a notarized copy of the lease contract and an affidavit signed by the owner confirming the sublet (signature must be notarized by a Czech notary).
  8. Application for Czech Criminal History Record. This form can be printed from the embassy and consulate Web sites. This form must be completed and your signature must be notarized by a Notary Public.
     
  9. Copy of the Birth Certificate. The copy of your Birth Certificate does not need to be notarized.
  10. Proof of insurance from Czech national health insurance company. This is in addition to your full ISEP insurance. Please see IIS for further information.
  11. Criminal History Background
    • An affidavit confirming that you have never been indicted and sentenced for a felony of any kind. This form can be printed from the embassy and consulate Web sites. Your signature must be notarized by a Notary Public.
    • In addition, if you have lived in any country for 6 months or more in the previous three years, please contact the Embassy for details.
    • For non-US nationals only: You will need the Criminal History Record from the country of your nationality. Please contact the Embassy for details.
       
  12. Please enclose a pre-paid, self-addressed Certified or Express Mail envelope (for future tracking, we suggest keeping the registration number of the envelope). If a pre-paid envelope is not enclosed, the Embassy will not accept any responsibility for lost or damaged documentation.

EMBASSIES AND CONSULATES

Embassy of the Czech Republic
3900 Spring of Freedom St. NW
Washington, DC 20008

Tel.: (202) 274-9100
Fax: (202) 966-8540
E-mail.: washington@embassy.mzv.cz
Consular section: con_washington@embassy.mzv.cz

Embassy of the United States of America
Trziste 15
118 01 Praha 1 - Malá Strana
Czech Republic

Phone: (+420) 257 022 000
Fax: (+420) 257 022 809
Email.: consprague@state.gov

A Note Regarding the Schengen Area

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

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

https://www.isepstudyabroad.org/guides-and-tips/health-safety

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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