The landlocked Czech Republic lies in Central Europe and is studded with historic cities, romantic castles, wild landscapes, and craggy mountains. It has been a center of learning since Charles University opened its doors in Prague -– the City of 1,000 Spires -– in 1348.
The city’s cobbled streets are packed with spectacular Gothic, Baroque and Art Nouveau architecture, it has a brilliant public-transport system, concert halls, elaborate churches, and amazing museums, plus some of the best nightlife in central Europe, centered around plentiful local beer.
While many students study overseas in France or Italy, choosing the Czech Republic has several advantages: it’s just as beautiful and is more affordable than many other European countries. With 15% of the Czech Republic’s student community coming from overseas, a semester there is a multi-cultural experience.
When it's vacation time, hop on a bus or train to explore other European capitals such as Vienna, Budapest and Bratislava.
How to Enroll
If you’re happy to go it alone, enroll directly at university in the Czech Republic just as you would do at home. You’ll be responsible for enrolling on your course of choice and will be expected to find your own accommodation but there are many pluses.
You’ll pay considerably less in tuition fees and you’ll have greater flexibility in terms of what and where you study – and if you opt to study in Czech, your tuition will be free as higher education is free for students of all nationalities. However, you’ll need decent language skills before you arrive in the country.
Participating in a direct-exchange program allows you to experience life in the Czech Republic while continuing your chosen degree course. Your high school or college can organise direct exchanges and there are many benefits: you’ll have a great support network to fall back on and receive a lot of help organising the practical elements of your trip, from finance to accommodation.
Chances are you’ll travel with a bunch of students from your college, so you have instant friends, and if your Czech isn’t up to scratch, this is a great option with the chance to study in English.
There are disadvantages to direct-exchange programs, however. Your alma mater may only partner with certain colleges in the Czech Republic, so flexibility of study course and destination could be limited. And if you’re traveling with your college mates, it might be difficult to break away to make new Czech friends and immerse yourself in their culture.
If you’d like to study in the Czech Republic but your high school or college doesn’t offer a study abroad program there, a third-party provider program may be your best alternative if you don’t want to go it alone with direct enrollment. You’ll have a lot of practical help and a support network when you go overseas, but that help comes with a hefty price tag.
The Czech Republic has one of the oldest universities in the world and an all-encompassing cultural scene to match. Despite the beauty of the country and its cities, its wealth of history, and the excellence of its educational system, the cost of living remains surprisingly affordable.
The cost of studying at university in the Czech Republic depends on your chosen language of instruction. Anyone wishing to study in the Czech language will find their courses are exempt from tuition fees as higher education is free of charge for citizens of all nationalities. However, if you prefer to learn in English, there’s a tuition cost of around US$1,200 per semester for direct enrollment. Tuition cost will vary if you choose a Direct Exchange or Third-Party Provider program.
Cost of Living
The Czech Republic is not an expensive country for students studying overseas, especially in contrast to the USA and Western Europe. Although it is a member of the European Union, it has not adopted the euro as currency and the Czech crown (CZK) is in use. Living expenses average around US$600–US$700 per month, including accommodation.
The International Student Identity Card (ISIC) can help you save money, with student discounts on transport, movies, museums, and concerts. Get one before you go overseas; full details are found on the ISIC website. If you’re under the age of 26, you’ll be able to work part-time to fund your studies, as long as you don’t work for more than 30 days per year.
Students coming into the Czech Republic from the EU and Switzerland do not need to apply for visas to study abroad there. If you’re coming from the USA, you’ll need a long-term student visa for stays over 90 days and these are available from the Consulate General of the Czech Republic in New York.
Please bear in mind that visas take 60 days to be processed and this process cannot be expedited. Your study course must be approved by the Czech Ministry of Education, Youth, and Sports.
Be prepared to produce a welter of paperwork when applying for a visa to study in the Czech Republic. This includes copies of your passport and two passport-sized photographs; an acceptance letter from your chosen university; confirmation of accommodation; bank statements; and valid health insurance.
An affidavit declaring that you’ve never committed a felony must be signed, either by a notary or you yourself in the presence of a Czech Consul. Students traveling from outside the EU or USA must have the document translated into Czech. You’ll also need to register with the Foreign Police Department within three days of your arrival in the country.
A variety of scholarships are available for you to study overseas in the Czech Republic, ranging from government- and university-backed bursaries covering tuition fees, accommodation, travel costs, and living allowances, to grants available through the European Union. Czech College in Prague offers scholarships to exceptional students that cover 40% of their tuition fees.
The culture of learning stretches back over the centuries in the Czech Republic, which has been a bastion of musical, literary and artistic excellence for centuries.
Ranked the number-one seat of learning in the country, Charles University (‘Univerzita Karlova’ in Czech) in Prague was founded in 1348, making it one of the oldest universities in the world.
Not only is Charles University the Czech Republic’s oldest and best-ranked university, it is also its biggest, with more than 51,000 students.
Masaryk University in Prague offers a course on the role Central Europe played in the Birth of Modernity in the 20th century. Learn about cultural and scientific developments that marked the century and those pivotal ones which occurred in the region.