Interview about Metropolitan University Prague
An interview with Johanna Meszaros
How did you find where to spend your semester abroad?
I wanted to stay within Europe for this semester, so I was looking for cities that were large and interesting culturally.
What were the requirements for you to go to this place?
I didn’t need any special requirements. English, of course, but they didn’t need that with our studies.
What was/is your favourite sightseeing there?
As basic it is, I love seeing the Charles Bridge. It is beautiful at night, especially during Christmas time, and I went once for the sunrise – definitely something to put on the to-do list.
What was/is your favourite local food there?
As with most Eastern European countries, there’s a lot of meat in many dishes, so being vegetarian is difficult. Dessert wise, however, you can go nuts as a vegetarian. The best thing to eat here: Trdelník. Imagine cinnamon roll dough but baked in the form of a chimney, and with chocolate spread on top. So so good, but also definitely very heavy!
Was/is there many green spaces to relax?
There is a little park that I like to hang out in, right at the Vltova River. There’s also a large forest next to where I live, and the Bohemian Switzerland National Park is only 1h by train away!
Did/do you practice any sports there?
I took some yoga classes that the University offers, but I mostly used my own space to stretch and do some small yoga exercises.
Did/do you go out a lot? If so, where?
I am much more of a hang-at-home type of person, but I go to a pubquiz ever Wednesday night with some friends at the Globe Bookstore & Café, and there are some nice clubs around the city center.
What did/do you think of the university? The location? The buildings? The teachers? The study programme?
I like the university, though it is a bit further out by tram. There are two buildings, which are both about 30min away from each other by tram. I definitely prefer the main building at Strasnicka, because it’s closer to the center, also easily available by metro. The teachers are very kind, most of them are from the Czech Republic. The contact with them is very chill, we can easily spend all of the 80min of class discussing news or debating about something, so the classes are also very enjoyable. I really like the courses I had, especially because I felt like they were much more on hand examples of real life IR instead of only theory. I have one class that is called “United Nations Peacekeeping”, which focuses on the peacekeeping missions and how or why they might have failed. Very interesting and approachable!
How did/does it go financially? The accommodation? Food? Public transports?
I am financially supported by my parents, and it was actually very doable with the same amount than in the Netherlands. I live in a shared housing a bit further out (20min by metro), which is about 500€/month, but includes cleaning and service costs. The food is cheaper if you go to the market and more local restaurants. One of the main shops here is Albert, which is a sub-franchise of the Dutch Albert Heijn, and the prices are similar, so I usually avoid it. Going out to dinner is actually quite common here, people go more out than cook at home because it is more affordable – and so do I. Public transport is very cheap, for 3 months I got a student card for about 20€.
What was the most surprising thing about this new culture?
The culture is quite similar to Western Europe, but I had to get used to the currency for sure. 1Czech crown (CZK) is about 40cts, so I usually try to multiply everything by 4 and divide it by 100. For example, a coffee that is 80CZK turns into 320, and divided by 100 I know that it’s about 3,20€ (okay fine, it’s 3,28€, but it works quite well).
What is the funniest word you learned in the language?
It’s not really a funny word but I enjoyed learning words by looking at the similarities, so I know that Khnihovna is library, and museum is museum. And if both have narodni in front then my logical guess is that narodni means national. Also I always pronounce “khnihovna” in a very German way in my head so it does sound funny.
What did/do you think of the workload?
The workload is very doable, though it does require constant preparation. Similarly to Groningen, they focus a lot on readings and the preparation, so for some classes you really have no choice than to do them. It also seems intense, because many classes only have 3ECTS or 5ECTS, so to reach the 30ECTS you need to have 6 or 7 classes, which is much. But the classes are only 80min/week, and they are not very intense.
Did/do you meet any international students?
The Metropolitan University actually has more international Erasmus students than locals, so most of our classes were 80% Erasmus students and 20% actual locals. So, yes.
Gradings are given on a scale from 1-10.
Location of the University
(hard to reach <-> close by)
A bit further away but public transport is very good, so easy to reach.
Infrastructure/technology in the University
(no equipment <-> advanced application)
Works very well, usually work with presentation and screens.
Language requirements (English suffices <-> Official Language)
English is definitely more than enough.
The study programme
(easy <-> difficult)
I do think it’s more on the easier side, but it also depends on how much time you invest.
(informal <-> formal)
I think very similar to the Netherlands, you call them by their first name and they treat you with respect if you do.
Students from Dutch universities
(few <-> a lot)
Quite a few, only 2 from Groningen though. 😉 At least at our University.
(few international students <-> many international students)
Not a lot of locals, even those that are full-time MUP students are often from Middle East or Eastern Europe.
Points of Interest
(not so many <-> lots of museums etc.)
Lots of nice museums, can recommend the one on Mucha.
(only local food <-> great variety of restaurants)
Similar to Netherlands, very varied.
(none <-> several natural parks/recreational parks)
Lots of nature but could always be more.
(limited <-> many options/extra courses)
There are courses available offered by the Uni sports department.
(limited <-> many theatres/cinemas/pubs)
It’s the capital so there are definitely a lot of options.
(expensive <-> cheap)
Cheaper if you don’t go to Albert and support Albert Heijn from afar.
(difficult to find & expensive <-> easy & affordable)
I definitely think accommodation is one of the harder things to find here – start early.
(difficult to acquire <-> very easy to acquire)
I cannot tell.
(expensive <-> cheap)
Really depends where you go, but overall it will be cheaper than in the Netherlands to go out to a restaurant.
(expensive <-> cheap)
Very cheap and well organized.
(expensive <-> cheap)
Similar to the Netherlands, in my opinion.