Frequently Asked Questions
- When are courses offered?
- When is the class schedule posted and how do I sign up for courses?
- How many courses can I take?
- Can I transfer my courses to my home university?
- Can I take courses with Czech students?
- When are classes scheduled?
- Is attendance mandatory?
- Does ECES provide housing?
- Do I need to bring my own sheets and towels?
- Is Internet available in the dorm
- Is the dorm in the Old Town center of Prague?
- Are guests allowed to stay in the dorm with me?
- Are kitchen utensils provided?
Living in Prague
- What language do people speak in the Czech Republic?
- Do I need a voltage converter?
- Should I bring traveller’s cheques?
- How much does it cost to live in Prague?
- Will I experience culture shock?
- Should I purchase an ISIC card before I arrive in Prague?
- Do I need a visa?
- Do I need to purchase Czech health insurance?
- How long does the visa process take?
- Is ECES a study abroad agency?
- 1. When are courses offered?
- Courses are offered during the fall, spring, and summer terms. Our summer program is ideal for those who would like to earn up to 12 credits in a shorter period (four weeks) of time.
- 2. When is the class schedule posted and how do I sign up for courses?
- The class schedule is posted online approximately two months before class begins. Once accepted, you will be able to choose your courses online. You will always be notified through e-mail about important dates and information.
- 3. How many courses can I take?
- You can take up to seven courses (including the two-week intensive Czech Language and Culture course) during the semester programs and up to four courses in the summer term. You can add or drop courses once the semester begins during the add and drop period.
- 4. Can I transfer my courses to my home university?
- Yes. Courses are worth three U.S. academic credits or six ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) credits. Please check with your home university to ensure the credits can be transferred. It is highly advisable that you request at least one extra course to be approved in case the class you choose is cancelled or you decide not to attend.
- 5. Can I take courses with Czech students?
- Yes. As an ECES student, you will have the opportunity to take classes at Charles University with Czech students. When signing up for classes, look for the courses with “department" in the name. All courses are taught in English.
- 6. When are classes scheduled?
- Classes are scheduled Monday through Thursday and meet either once (180 minutes) or twice (90 minutes) per week. The two-week Intensive Czech course meets Monday through Friday and in the morning or afternoon.
- 7. Is attendance mandatory?
- Yes. Since you are studying in Prague for a limited amount of time, all classes are mandatory and will count towards your final grade. Each student is allowed to miss one 180-minute class, or two 90-minute classes per course. Absences may be excused if a medical note is provided or it is approved by the Director of ECES. For each additional unexcused absence of 90 minutes, the final grade will be reduced automatically (i.e. A to A-). Your grade will be reduced each time you have an unexcused absence.
- 8. Does ECES provide housing?
- Yes. ECES offers single and double rooms at Komenského dormitory within walking distance to the Prague Castle. It is a 20-minute tram ride from the university and Old Town Square. It has convenient access to public transportation and is close to grocery stores, mini-markets, and restaurants. If you do not wish to stay in the dorm, you may find off-campus housing on your own.
- 9. Do I need to bring my own sheets and towels?
- No. Sheets and towels are provided at the dorm. However, many students either bring their own sheets or purchase towels at a store once they arrive because they are often used to a different standard than what is provided.
- 10. Is Internet available in the dorm?
- Yes. The cost per semester is approximately 300- 400 CZK (approximately $20 USD) and may be purchased during dorm check-in. Please bring your own Ethernet cable. There is no Wi-Fi in the dorm.
- 11. Is the dorm in the Old Town center of Prague?
- No. The university dorm is located in district 6, near the Prague Castle. Prague 6 is considered to be one a residential areas of Prague. The dorm is about a 10-minute walk to the Castle and 20 minutes by tram to the Old Town.
- 12. Are guests allowed to stay in the dorm with me?
- Yes. Guests are allowed to stay in the dorm, but they must pay a guest fee to the reception desk (usually costs about $15 USD per day). Guests must pay for a separate room.
- 13. Are kitchen utensils provided?
- No. The kitchen consists of a refrigerator and a “hot plate" or an oven burner. No utensils, plates, or pans are provided. Many students purchase cheap items at a store upon their arrival.
Living in Prague
- 14. What language do people speak in the Czech Republic?
- The language spoken in the Czech Republic is unsurprisingly Czech. However, Prague is very diverse and you will often hear English, Russian, or German. Most of the restaurants and stores also have English signs and menus.
- 15. Do I need a voltage converter?
- Yes. You will need a 220V 50Hz converter and adapter. You can also buy inexpensive hairdryers in Prague and other electronics.
- 16. Should I bring traveller’s cheques?
- No. Traveller’s cheques are becoming an item of the past. They are difficult to exchange and many establishments do not accept them. ECES recommends to bring a debit card and withdraw money from one of the many ATMs in Prague (KB, Citibank, GE, CSOB, etc…). Although you will receive a withdrawal fee, this is the safest and most practical option.
- 17. How much does it cost to live in Prague?
- Living in Prague is relatively cheaper than living in the U.S. or Western Europe, for example. The Czech Republic is not on the Euro, and its currency is Czech Koruna. Food and restaurants are cheaper, but items, such as electronics and clothing, cost the same. What you spend depends on your lifestyle, but students generally spend between $500-700 USD per month (living expenses and weekend trips). Here are a few examples of what items cost:
Liter of Bottled Water 18kc ($1.00 USD)
Movie ticket 117kc ($6.50 USD)
Three-month student transportation pass: 720kc ($38 USD)
Panini sandwich at local café: 59kc ($3.20 USD)
- *Please note that these prices are based on November 2012 exchange rates and are subject to change.
- 18. Will I experience culture shock?
- It is possible and most likely that you will experience some culture shock and even reverse culture shock when you return home. The lifestyle in Prague is different than what you may be used to. Do not expect complete modern amenities, air conditioning, or even credit card use in all establishments. What you can expect is excellent public transportation, beautiful architecture, and many cultural events that you may not have been exposed to before. It is normal to experience culture shock and we will do our best to help you with the transition.
- 19. Should I purchase an ISIC card before I arrive in Prague?
- Yes. We recommend that you obtain an ISIC (International Student Identity Card) before you arrive in Prague, especially if you plan to travel outside the Czech Republic. While the Charles University student ID card that you will receive will entitle you to student discounts in Prague, you will need an ISIC card to receive similar discounts elsewhere. Student discounts are very common in Europe and are often available for things such as the theater and concert tickets. For more information, look at the ISIC website: www.isic.org.
- 20. Do I need a visa?
Semester Programs (fall and spring)
Yes. Students that do not hold European Union member country passports must obtain a Czech national visa. If you are from the United States, Canada, or Mexico, then you need to apply for a visa. After your acceptance to the program, an admissions letter and housing confirmation letter will be sent immediately to you. These letters will accompany information on obtaining a long stay visa. Please do not hesitate and apply for a visa as soon as possible! The process can take up to 90 days! For questions about the process, please consult your local Czech Republic embassy or
No. The majority of students (U.S. and Canada) participating in the ECES summer term do not need to apply for a visa.
- 21. Do I need to obtain insurance that is valid and authorized in the Czech Republic?
- Yes. All foreign students are required to obtain insurance valid in the Czech Republic for the duration of the semester (does not apply to the summer term). This means that only health insurance companies that are authorized and licensed within the Czech Republic will be accepted for the visa application. Unfortunately, most U.S. health insurance providers do not meet the criteria and students will get their visas denied if this condition is not fulfilled. Detailed instructions on how to obtain insurance are sent to accepted students.
- 22. How long does the visa process take?
- The visa process can be tedious and bureaucratic, so we highly recommend that you apply immediately upon receiving your official Letter of Acceptance to Charles University. It can take approximately 90 days to process the visa. Students should submit their visa application and all supporting documentation to the Czech authorities no later than three months before the official arrival day. If you follow the instructions and recommendations, your visa should be issued in a timely fashion. The application form itself will not take more than 15 minutes to fill out, but gathering all the supporting documentation will require more time. ECES will provide detailed visa application instructions.
- 23. Is ECES a study abroad agency?
- No. ECES is a part of Charles University in Prague, Faculty of Arts. You will receive the same services that most universities provide. We will, however, do our best, to help you with any of your needs.