7) The perks of student life at Czechia’s leading universities

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Czechia possesses several leading institutions of higher learning that have produced internationally renowned scientists, businesspeople and academics. No wonder then that the number of foreigners studying in the country has been growing. We asked some of them what they like about the country and the student lifestyle it offers.

Taine Rose from New Zealand | Photo: Archive of Taine Rose

Few European cities can rival Prague’s architecture, culture, nightlife and beer. Little wonder therefore that it is not just a popular destination for tourists, but students as well, as 24-year-old Taine Rose from New Zealand, a student at the Czech University of Life Sciences (CZU), confirms.

“Prague is really cool, it’s super close to everything, not as cheap as I originally thought, but it’s still relatively affordable. As a student here, I can teach English or work at a bar and make enough money to get by and still go on weekend trips to Germany and Austria. I really enjoy living in Czechia.”

Sometimes referred to as the “heart of Europe”, the central location of Czechia within the wider continent is something that many students cited as an extra bonus when Radio Prague International visited the country’s foremost institutions of higher learning during the making of our five best universities in Czechia series. And it wasn’t just those studying in Prague.

Take, for example, Yael Romero, a Mexican student at the Palacký University in Olomouc.

Yael Romero | Photo: Archive of  Yael Romero

“Of course I came here to study but I also want to know all of Europe, not just Czechia. This country is geographically located in a great place to travel. You can take a train and go to Austria, Poland, Slovakia, Germany or Hungary. So you can travel to many places and that really opens your mind. It's a great opportunity to see Europe.”

Located in Olomouc, Moravia, the Palacký University offers its foreign students the chance to also explore the traditionally more rural part of Czechia. Aside from Czech pubs serving a wide variety of local beers and dishes, the city’s largely baroque center possesses several wineries, where you can often find students hanging out, sometimes eating tapas topped with ham the well-known local curd cheese.

Olomouc | Photo: Alexis Rosenzweig,  Radio Prague International

At least that’s where you’ll find them if they are not visiting one of the many student-related facilities that the university has at its disposal, such as a business center, language school, arts center, as well as a specialized Chinese studies facility.

Sports activities are also available for those enrolled at the school that bears the name of one of Czechia’s most famous historians and politicians. Fans of tennis are sure to take advantage of its tennis courts, while those looking for team activities may appreciate its minigolf course, laser arena, go-cart track, or paintball field.

It should also be noted that just a stone’s throw away from Olomouc lies the town of Kroměříž. A serene getaway for a day trip with its UNESCO-listed Archbishop’s chateau and associated gardens. Humanities students may especially appreciate this venue as they are surrounded by baroque statues of the ancient Greek and Roman gods.

Kroměříž | Photo: Jitka Erbenová,  Wikimedia Commons,  CC BY-SA 3.0

Further down south lies the Masaryk University in Brno. Second in size only to Prague, Brno has the infrastructure and nightlife to back this up. Several of its bars in fact have accrued country-wide fame with each featuring unique hacks and atmospheric interiors.

The city is located close to Vienna and Slovakia, with Hungary nearby as well. Those making the trip down south will also pass through what is arguably Czechia’s most picturesque rural region – South Moravia. Known for its rich winemaking tradition, beautiful countryside and chateaus, the region also offers many opportunities to soak this all in while keeping fit, as its largely flat landscape provides fantastic cycling routes.

Brno | Photo: Benoît Rouzaud,  Radio Prague International

Masaryk University markets Brno as a “student city”, proudly boasting that it is home to no fewer than 80,000 students, a fifth of the city’s total population.

Sina Skandera, a fifth-year medical student who came to Brno from Germany, says that it is especially students who are studying longer degrees, such her own medicine cohort, who are likely to find lasting friendships.

Sina Skandera | Photo: Archive of Sina Skandera

“We have Erasmus students and other programs have some international component, but really the biggest part is the medical faculty. Because we are here for such a long time, a minimum of five, six, seven years, we have become this core group of people who spend a large part of their 20s together in one city, and it's really nice. I think you really make friends for life in the end, you know?”

Smaller than the Czech capital, but still big enough to be considered a large city, Brno is the place to be for those who want to experience Czechia more intimately while continuing to benefit from the perks of an urban setting.

Nevertheless, it is of course Prague that remains the most popular destination for foreign students. Not only because it has more English speakers on average than Czechia’s smaller cities, but also because it contains no fewer than three out of the five most prestigious universities in the country.

Charles University | Photo: Archive of magazine Forum/

Czechia’s oldest and most highly regarded institution of higher learning – Charles University – is a great place to study almost anything, offering high-quality courses in the Humanities, Medicine, as well as the Natural and Social Sciences. Many of the respective faculties are also located in beautiful historic buildings, although it is better to check first, as new study halls and accommodation facilities have recently been built as well, further away from the center.

Czech Technical University | Photo: Magdalena Hrozínková,  Radio Prague International

Then there is the Czech Technical University, a favorite destination for those interested in all aspects of engineering, including the modern revolutionary disciplines of robotics, Information Technology and Artificial Intelligence.

This university, whose students often make the headlines for their performances in international competitions, has produced a multitude of alumni who achieved international fame, such as Czechia’s first president Václav Havel, or architect, Eva Jiřičná.

Its more modern facilities are also complemented by the wide range of subject-associated projects and events that its students can take part in. One example being its annual student-built formula racing competition, which regularly draws many locals as well.

Roxy Club | Photo: Roxy Prague

Those who need a more radical cooldown from crunching numbers or reading Kant in the exquisite Klementinum library, where many students can be found during the day, can also take advantage of Prague’s burgeoning rave scene. The city features many large clubs, located in the center – such as Roxy on Wenceslas Square. Fans of hard music will also find what they are looking for, suggests Max Stadelmeier from Germany, who has come to appreciate Prague’s vibrant techno scene while completing his postdoc at the Czech Academy of Sciences.

“It’s not better than in Berlin or Cologne, but it’s certainly well-known in Europe for Techno. It doesn’t belong to the great techno cities, but you can enjoy awesome parties here. There are a few really cool clubs here that can hold their own against the big ones in Germany. For example Fuchs on Strašnice Island, Ankali, or Altenburg which is located inside an old boat on the river.

“What’s also great is Stalin, an open air club under the Letná metronome where the statue of Joseph Stalin used to stand. It’s open till 2am, but people keep partying on afterwards. You have a view of the center of Prague in the night, which is beautiful. You have DJs there. It’s the bomb.”

The Letná metronome | Photo: Miloš Turek,  Radio Prague International

He adds that it’s not just the clubs that have grown on him over the years.

“I think Prague has one of the best bar scenes in the whole of Europe. We knew already before coming here that it had a good bar scene, but that wasn’t the reason why we came here. However, it was certainly confirmed to me now that I live here.”

While bars and techno clubs always offer the chance for people to run into drama during their night, those looking for its more artistic form are also likely to be satisfied. Max’s compatriot Levin, who studies at Prague’s Faculty of Theatre of the Academy of Performing Arts (DAMU), says that the city boasts a vibrant theatre scene. One that has its own unique characteristics.

Levin | Photo: Ferdinand Hauser,  Radio Prague International

“There certainly is a bit more of a vintage 80s esthetic here in the theaters when compared to Germany. You notice this for example when you look at the props that they use on the stage. There is certainly a bit of a nostalgia feel. You don’t see that on experimental theatre stages in Germany, where the aesthetics are more elegant and reduced.”

One aspect that has to be taken into account if you are studying at a university located within a large city is that its faculties, dorms and lecture halls are likely to be spread widely around town. This is generally also the case when it comes to Czechia and especially in the case of Charles University. However, those who want a taste of campus life while still being close to the action, are likely to appreciate the Czech University of Life Sciences.

University Campus in Prague - Suchdol | Photo: Petr Zmek,  Česká zemědělská univerzita

With its headquarters located in Suchdol, near the Prague Zoo and the beautiful gardens of Troja Chateau, CZU, as it is commonly known, is a Prague university that features its own campus and is generally considered more tight-knit than the other institutions of higher learning in the city by its students. Foreigners make up nearly a third of its student body and many of them are able to mix either by living together in dorms or through the wide range of extra-curricular activities that living in a big city naturally offers.

Taine from New Zealand says that when it comes to the latter, she has many options to choose from.

Photo: Jiří Klajn,  Radio Prague International

“I do a mixture of things, I really enjoy sports, so I play a few - for example Australian football, which is similar to rugby, as well as Frisbee or basketball. I also go to quiz nights or game nights at different bars. There are apps where you can get a free beer a day for 100 crowns a month. It works out really well, I never really drank beer before I moved to Prague, but now I do enjoy it. So going out for drinks, playing sports, and working is how I spend my time.”

Photo: Archive of magazine Forum/

While still cheap when compared to much of Western Europe, Prague is the most expensive city to live in in Czechia. However, simply due to its size and economic significance, it does also offer the largest number of potential jobs for students. Many universities also offer part-time jobs within their own faculties so it generally isn’t too difficult to find a job to earn some extra cash to pay for fun or accommodation.

Photo: Olomouc’s Palacký University

Nevertheless, while learning Czech is certainly not a necessary prerequisite to be able to study pretty much anywhere in Czechia, it does pay off to have Czech friends, as dealing with the country’s administration services, whether for residency permits or sending letters, does, more often than not, require knowledge of the language.