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Anglo-American University: An International Relations Program in Prague, Czechia

           Hey everyone! My name is Hunter Vaughan and I am a new Beyond the States Ambassador for Anglo-American University (AAU) in Prague, Czechia. I’m originally from Roxboro, North Carolina and started at AAU a little over  a year ago in January 2021 where I am now a second year International Relations major with a concentration in Human Rights. AAU is the oldest private university in the Czech Republic, being founded just in 1990. Just because the school is so new does not mean the academics aren’t stellar. The school has gained many new students over the past two years, in large part thanks to fellow BTS and AAU alum, Liza Miezejeski’s viral TikTok series on how she moved to Prague to complete her college education. While many Europeans would consider AAU’s tuition to be expensive, it is relatively inexpensive by American standards, especially when you realize that AAU’s bachelor’s programs are only 3 years in length compared to the standard 4 years in America. Tuition for any of AAU’s bachelor programs comes out to $4,283 per semester or around $25,700 for the entire degree. This is much less than most private universities and even some public school’s in-state tuition in the US. This not does not include rent which can range from $400-500+/month and living costs which can entirely depend on the person. Overall, Prague is one of the most affordable cities for university students.

When I first arrived in Prague last year, I was staying in the student housing that AAU recommends, Zeitraum. While it is not on campus housing, many other AAU students were living there, as AAU has a contract with the housing company and it is also very easy to arrange in advance and get your confirmation of accommodation that you will need when applying for your Czech student visa. I would recommend to anyone considering AAU,  though,  to book rooms directly through Zeitraum’s website instead of through AAU as they are much cheaper that way. While Zeitraum was a perfect way to start off at university, especially by meeting most of my now-closest friends, you eventually want a bigger space and a kitchen that you don’t have to share with an entire floor, so most people moved out after their first or second semester. In Prague it is a lot easier to find apartments on Facebook as there are many groups and that way you don’t have to pay realtor and commission fees.

In regards to the program structure at AAU, I am currently in the school of International Relations and have a concentration in Human Rights. The way bachelor’s programs at AAU work is you can either choose to have an extended major, concentration, or minor. For example, you could simply have an International Relations degree with the extended major and you get to choose 5 IR electives yourself whereas having a concentration in an area such as Global Affairs or Human Rights, those IR electives are selected for you. My Human Rights Concentration Classes include:

  • Human Rights
  • History of Racism and Anti-Semitism
  • Moot Court
  • Humanitarian Law and Criminal Justice
  • Gender Equality in Politics
  • Business Ethics
  • Race and Civil Rights in Modern America

In place of both of those you could also choose to minor in another subject including business, journalism, and humanities. With AAU’s three year degree program, getting a choice in classes other than electives is difficult to accomplish. Within the IR major, it is also highly recommended to take a language class of either Spanish, French, German, or Russian.

Regardless of your major at AAU, students are required to complete both an internship and a senior thesis to graduate. For your internship, you can either take the internship course at AAU where the Career Center will help to place you in an internship during the semester or you could do an internship in your own time over the summer or winter break. You will be required to write a detailed paper about what your internship was and what you did. During your final year fall semester at AAU you will be placed into a Thesis Seminar course in which you have the opportunity to do a lot of research, select a thesis advisor, and submit a thesis proposal at the end of the semester. This course will make completing your thesis in the Spring much less daunting.

One of the biggest reasons a lot of students choose AAU is because the school offers both an EU and US accredited degree, meaning you will graduate with a degree valid in both countries. However, there is a catch. Every student is automatically enrolled in the US degree however to be eligible for the Czech degree, you must go through a process called nostrification in which the Czech government decides if your high school education is equivalent to the Czech education. If they find it is not, which has been the case for many AAU students (myself included), you will have to take oral exams in subjects ranging from Computer Information Systems, Geography, Physics, Biology, etc. These exams are conducted in Czech high schools and you will need an interpreter to bring with you. If you pass the exams, you will get your nostrification certificate and if you are like myself and do not pass, you will have to withdraw from the Czech degree  at AAU and just stick with the American path. Personally, I do not mind not being in the Czech program as I plan to get a masters degree in Europe anyway and will get my EU degree that way. However if it is extremely important for you to get the Czech degree the nostrification process could be a big hurdle. I have many friends who have passed their exams and I also have friends who decided to not even attempt theirs. It is truly up to you what you want to do. I will say that even without nostrification, being AAU is an amazing experience and the education you get will still be great.

If you are interested in applying to Anglo-American University please check out the admissions requirements on their website: aauni.edu . I have personally loved my time in Prague and would not change it for anything. If you have any questions feel free to reach out to me on Instagram @huntervaughann . I wish you the best of luck on your European college search!

 

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Czech Student Life: An American’s Perspective

Czech student life 1 This week we hear from Claire, who is here to talk about Czech student life at one of my favorite schools in Prague!  Get this! International student tuition for her program is just under $500 per year!  For more on why European universities are so much more affordable, check out the podcast episode I did with an American professor at this same university. – Jenn

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My name is Claire, and I am studying Environmental Engineering at Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague, Czech Republic. I am currently in my second year having experience with both COVID and non COVID times.

Academic Schedule School days at public universities in the Czech Republic are generally Monday-Thursday with Fridays off or left for extra classes. I have only had Friday classes once, when taking the mandatory sports class during my first year. Classes take place between 8:45am and 6:00pm and are and hour and half long. Usually, each class meets twice a week, once for our lectures and once for our seminars. During my two years, I’ve had five to eight classes a semester, but usually a couple of the classes aren’t work/study intensive. My current schedule of classes (2nd year, 2nd semester) is:

Tuesday: classes from 8:45-5:15

Wednesday: classes from 8:45-10:15

Thursday: classes from 12:15-3:30

Usually one day a week has a full day of classes which is extremely exhausting, but because of the extended weekend days, on school days, I try to keep long study hours to a minimum and find that it is very helpful for my stress. Typically, after classes are done, I will work out, relax, and maybe get together with my friends depending when classes end. COVID has definitely affected my school schedule, as it has everyone, especially studying a STEM subject and having all lab activity closed. However, professors have tried their best to make the classes work as much as possible.

Social Schedule On easier days in our schedules my friends and I may go out for lunch or do something after classes but, we try to get together at least once a week outside of school to just hang out, go out to eat, or nights out. Prague is amazing and has a lot of parks and places around the river Czech student life that people can hang out and outdoor festivals/events so during warmer months a lot of time is spent outside. It’s pretty easy to find different types of foods although Asian (specifically Vietnamize), American, and Czech are most common cuisine, and we have never run into any issues with dietary restrictions because Prague is very vegan/vegetarian friendly. I live in an apartment with roommates which has led to an easier time during COVID lockdowns. One of my roommates and I cook dinner once a week and study together (even though we study different subjects), we started working out together, and just trying to get out of the house.

In terns of Czech student life, I have found that I tend to have more free time than my friends who go to university in the US because of how my school and exam schedule is made. Even though I have 5-8 subjects a week, I have three to four “free days”, so my life isn’t so cramped. Since exams grades are the final grades of classes, usually we don’t get much in the way of homework or test/quizzes which also helps with keeping free time. Compared to my friends in the US, the class difficulty is relatively the same, but can feel harder because I have to self-study more than they do. Overall I find that even with more classes, even at the same level as my US friends, I tend to have more time to study and socialize due to less weekly work.  — Claire