What better way to spend your time than taking a gap year in the melting pot of Europe? With influences from the Austro-Hungarian Empire to life post-Communism, spending time in the Czech Republic will put you in touch with history, while living in a modern global society.
The Czech Republic is a great gap year option for students who want to walk through cobblestoned roads of Prague, while being inspired by the gothic architecture, literature, art, film, and central European history.
Students eager to spend their gap year abroad in the Czech Republic can choose from the following options:
- Pre-Health Programs
- Multi-Country Travel Programs
Students pursing nursing, biology, public health, or even pre-med can spend their gap year overseas in the Czech Republic getting hands on field experience at a local hospital. From shadowing neurosurgeons, to volunteering in children's heart centers, students enrolling in gap year programs can boost their resumes while living in one of the most enchanting parts of Europe.
Multi-Country Travel Programs
From Spain to Hungary, students embarking on a multi-country travel program will get to see most of the countries in between, including the Czech Republic. Be inspired by the famous art and literature based in the places you have always read about! This gap year option is the perfect way for students to learn more about themselves while having an open perspective about the places they visit.
Visit the capital of the Czech Republic, filled with Gothic architecture, museums, art galleries, operas, bridges and castles from the 1300's, and cobblestone streets. Prague is home to Franz Kafka and many other famous writers and artists throughout history.
Try this quaint, fairytale castle town about two and a half hours outside of Prague. The castle sits on top of a hill and is guarded by bears who wander in the moat.
Home to Pilsner, this town draws in thousands of tourists each year to taste the freshly brewed pivo (beer).
Brno is the second largest city in the Czech Republic, close to the border with Slovakia, and is known for its role as the capital of Moravia.
Unlike many other countries in Europe, the Czech Republic does not use the Euro, which means that the exchange rate is usually in your favor. Currently, $1 USD is equivalent to 24 Czech Crowns. It won't be uncommon for your to find "divey" restaurants where you can get a great goulash meal with a beer for all of $7. Keep an eye out for free events and discounted museum entrance fees for students.
Program costs vary by length. Typically students can plan to spend anywhere from $500-$5,000 for gap year programs ranging from two weeks to six months. These fees include housing and meals, and in internship-type programs, shadowing placement.
Students enrolling in a gap year program will need to acquire a visa prior to coming to the Czech Republic. It is recommended that students apply for their visa at least 6 months in advance at the local Czech consulate in the U.S. Some program providers will assist students with the visa application process and may include these fees in their program costs.
The Czech Republic's weather is similar to that of the northeast United States with four distinct seasons. We recommend packing the following for your gap year abroad:
- Comfortable walking shoes (You don't want to fall on the cobblestone streets!)
- A warm winter jacket
- Sweaters or cardigans to layer in fall and spring
- A few fancy outfits for nights out or professional purposes
- Plain colored jeans, t-shirts, and shorts that mix and match well
- Type C, E, or F electrical plug/outlet
While participating in a gap year, students can stay in hostels, apartments, student dormitories, or hotels, which are usually included in the program costs. Some programs also offer a homestay option, which will allow students to get a closer look at what life is like in the Czech Republic.
Prior to arriving in the Czech Republic, it is recommended that travelers get vaccinated for Influenza, Hepatitis A, Tick-borne encephalitis, Rabies, Tuberculosis, Typhoid, Measles, and Hepatitis B. Consult your primary care provider for specialized advice, especially if you plan on traveling to more than one country.
As far as safety goes, the primary thing to be concerned about in the Czech Republic is pickpocketing. To avoid the chance of this happening to you, we recommend wearing a traveler's belt under your clothing, so that you can store important documents like a copy of your passport and cash, and being aware of your bags at all times.
Contributed by Danielle Ortiz-Geis
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