Set in historic Morovia and located right in the center of Europe, studying overseas in Brno will let you experience all that the Czech Republic has to offer. With only 400,000 people -- and more than 85,000 students -- Brno is small enough to feel like a town but big enough to give you that city feel.
Brno consistently rates highly as a university city, with students praising its affordability, access to good public transport, lifestyle, culture, and diversity. Most importantly, it offers a fantastic international study community. Students are the heart and soul of Brno -- bringing with them festivals, events, and parades.
Living in Brno is also very cost-effective, and some of the best Czech universities are located here. These include Masaryk University and Brno University of Technology, both of which feature in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. With such a huge number of different educational institutions to choose from, Brno offers a breadth of fields of study unrivaled by many European cities.
Studying in Brno offers you the opportunity to live in the heart of continental Europe at a fraction of the cost of many major European capitals. With a great student lifestyle, lots of opportunities to get out of the city, and a vibrant and diverse population, it's the perfect choice for students wanting a cosmopolitan European study experience.
Culture & Immersion
Brno is renowned for being a student city with many exchange students, which makes the experience of moving there slightly less bewildering than some other European destinations. As well as a large international student community, it boasts welcoming and friendly locals who will gladly sit down with you, eager to learn about your life and studies.
While English is widely spoken in major cities, including Brno, it is less common in smaller, rural villages and towns. Younger people are more likely to speak English. Czech is quite a difficult language to get your head (or tongue!) around, so it is useful to undertake some language study or practice before you go overseas. At the minimum, learn a few Czech words and phrases -- the locals will appreciate it.
Culture Shock & Support
As with any major move overseas, you might need a bit of support. While the culture shock level is on par with any major European destination speaking a different mother tongue, it is useful to know that there are organizations that can help you out if you are feeling overwhelmed.
Most educational institutions have their own ex-pat and exchange student clubs, where you can meet likeminded people who are also strangers to the region. If your university or school doesn’t have its own network, the Brno Expat Centre offers activities and support for foreigners living in Brno.
Brno offers a relaxed and comfortable lifestyle for a fraction of the cost of what you would spend in neighboring Germany or Austria. It has a vibrant student nightlife and lots of activities and events catering to young people. Food and alcohol are cheap and plentiful, with a widely-followed beer-drinking culture. Although houses are built to withstand the cold winters, the summer can be quite hot, with limited air conditioning available.
With a location in Central Europe, Brno is the perfect base for exploring Germany, Austria, Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic itself. There are so many amazing day trips you can take from the city, plus a plethora of destinations that are eight hours or less away for a weekend break.
Insider Tips for Studying in Brno
With such a vibrant and dynamic international community, make the most of your time in Brno by getting out and meeting new people. You’ll not only learn about the Czech culture but will get to know more about many different nationalities.
As a foreigner, if you do not register to live in a dorm, you are legally required to register with the Immigration Office within three working days of arrival. The process of registering as a foreigner in Brno is relatively easy, but it pays to make sure you do it quickly.
Don't be surprised if people on the street aren't super friendly towards you. Like much of Central Europe, the 'smile at strangers' approach is uncommon. Don't be offended -- Czech people are warm and inviting once you get to know them!
Once you've decided to take the leap and study in Brno, you need to think about what you would like to study, as well as the type of course or program you will enroll are. You will also need to think about where to live and how to get around the city. While student accommodation is readily available in Brno, it pays to be a little picky and ensure you end up living somewhere comfortable.
There are three main types of courses you can enroll in to study in Brno: Direct enrollment, third-party provider, and direct exchange. There are benefits and disadvantages to each.
Direct enrollment is usually the cheapest way of enrolling in an overseas educational facility, and requires you to enroll individually with the provider you are wishing to study with. However, this option may offer less support than others, and if issues crop up, you will likely have to work through them on your own.
If you have never travelled overseas before, it could be sensible to register through a third-party provider. While this option is more expensive, it usually comes wrapped up with extra student support, catered to those new to studying abroad.
Lastly, you may choose to go via direct exchange, which offers an option somewhere between direct enrollment and a third party provider. These programs are offered through bilateral exchange agreements with tertiary organizations overseas in order to provide students with a complete cultural immersion experience abroad.
Housing & Accommodation
The majority of students in Brno live in shared housing or student dormitories. As most housing and rental agency websites are in Czech only, there are a number of Facebook groups where you can seek a room to rent at reasonable prices, catering specifically to English speaking ex-pats. Two such groups are Multilingual Flats in Brno and Flat to Rent in Brno, which you can request to join. A room can be rented in a clean but basic apartment for around 4000-5000 CZK ($190-$253) per month.
Living in a student dormitory in the Vinaršká Area of Old Brno is a cheaper option, but often the standard of living is lower than in an apartment. Most dorms are very old -- some have had issues with bedbugs and heating, and loud student parties are commonplace. A shared room in a dorm is likely to set you back a minimum of 2500 CZK ($120) a month, and up to 3500 CZK ($165). If you are interested in living in a dorm, make sure to inspect it carefully. You should also ask around to see what other students think of the building.
Brno has an extensive public transport system consisting of trams, trolleybuses, and regular buses run by the Brno Public Transport Company. Upon showing evidence of study, students are eligible for discounted transportation fares, and a pass for the inner city zones costs only 2375 CZK ($112) per year.
The local public transport system is helpfully connected with regional public transport. In addition, Brno's central location makes it relatively easy to get to and from many other major cities and airports. There are numerous direct connections to Brno International Airport from major European capitals such as London, Rome, and Milan.
While living in Brno is affordable compared to many other cities, it's helpful to know how much you should budget for your adventure overseas. Remember, if you do intend to work whilst living in Brno, there are certain rules you need to follow -- and you will also be earning much less than in a comparable role in, for example, the USA.
Cost of Living
The cost of living in Brno is very low when compared to other European capitals. Including accommodation, you can expect to live reasonably well spending around 11,000 CZK ($515) per month. A beer, coffee, or loaf of bread should set you back around 30 CZK ($1.50), a basic restaurant meal around 170 CZK ($8), and groceries for a month from 2800-3500 CZK ($131-$165). Transportation, groceries, and housing will be your major expenses, with money leftover being used for activities, clothing, entertainment, and school expenses.
Students from the EU (plus Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland) are exempt from student visa requirements. If you are from outside these countries, you will need to apply for a visa to study in Brno. The Masaryk University has lots of helpful information on the visa process, including what is required for your Czech visa application. You will be required to show evidence of medical insurance while applying for your visa.
Can You Work While Studying in Brno?
If you are from the EU, you can work without restriction in the Czech Republic. Students from other countries can work without a work permit if it is part of an internship for their studies, or if they are under 26 and do not work for more than seven days in a row (or more than 30 days in a year). If you wish to work more than this, or are over 26, you are required to apply for an employment permit (500 CZK/$25). This employment permit will relate to a specific job, and can be issued for up to two years.
The Czech Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sport offers a number of scholarships each year to foreign nationals of countries that the Czech Republic has International Exchange Agreements with. Many students also receive funding through the Erasmus+ program, which allows students of select European universities to complete a semester at a foreign university. Individual tertiary education organizations also offer scholarships to prospective international students, listing scholarship information and eligibility on their websites.