Czechs have new chances to study abroad

Photo: European Commission

Studying abroad has been increasingly popular ever since 1989, and now with EU membership bringing lower tuition fees, even more Czechs consider studying abroad. The International Fair for Languages, Education and Cultures, Expolingua offered the Prague public an overview of different international educational possibilities in terms of studying at university, language learning, cultural experience and working abroad.

Photo: European Commission
The Expolingua fair has been going for 14 years, providing Czechs with first hand information on educational opportunities abroad. This year 64 exhibitors from 13 countries presented their services and offered various lectures, mini-language courses and workshops on all different study topics.

The programme co-ordinator, Cornelia Horn, says Czechs are mostly interested in combine programmes such as work and study, work and travel or university programmes taught in English.

"English language is by far the most popular among young people. I always tell the English people, as I am German, they have finally beaten us in the Czech Republic. We have a lot of representatives from the United Kingdom. In the UK people can now study at lower fees as they are a part of the EU as opposed to external fees which they had to pay before."

Mrs. Horn values Czech students and Czech education very highly. Especially languages, maths and technical education are of a very good standard, therefore Czechs have special demands on education and look for professional courses to make themselves more interesting for potential international employers.

Douglas Hajek from the Prague College in Prague, was one of the exhibitors and speakers at Expolingua. His lecture was to explain the advantages of the British educational system.

Douglas Hajek
"At the moment there no longer exists any form of post-secondary educational system that is less than 3 years in the Czech Republic. There used to be two-and-a-half year programmes but with a new law it was changed into a three year programme. A typical Czech student is faced with two alternatives. University - a bachelor's degree which would take three years or a higher technical college which would also take three years. So in fact, the options and alternatives are not so great."

Douglas Hajek points to some other strengths and weaknesses of the Czech system.

"Czech Educational system is unbelievably good. It creates a large number of people who are highly trained particularly in technical areas. I would say that the only thing that is missing for many graduates of a Secondary school is the ability to present arguments to present information, to write longer reports in order to convince other people of the rightness or the wrongness of something that is going on."

The range of educational opportunities for Czechs widens year by year. There are already 63 private and public colleges and universities in the Czech Republic which should together with courses abroad help Czechs to become a more valued workforce.