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5 common mistakes freshmen make in the Czech Republic

Educational center GoStudy

30 June 2023



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Getting into a Czech university may not be as tough as studying in it. It's important to keep your excitement at bay and focus on what to do next after enrolment.

Alexandra Baranova, a GoStudy blogger and a postgraduate student in the Charles University Faculty of Social Sciences, has come up with 5 common mistakes freshmen make.

1. Giving up on Czech

The most common mistake many freshmen make after getting into a university is forgetting about Czech and letting Czech textbooks collect dust as they fly back to their home countries for a holiday. True, drilling "čeština" day and night for nine months straight does get tiresome. But the problem is, even at B2 level, you will have difficulties with the language during your first year at university: if the education is held in Czech, none of the teachers will make allowance for foreigners in class.

Several months' worth of language learning is still not enough for making extended breaks. Therefore, when you're coming back home, take the textbooks with you and continue practicing for at least 15-30 minutes every day. You'll thank yourself in October.

2. Not getting prepared for the start of the term

"I might forget everything by October, I'll figure it out on the spot". You may not figure it out in time, so it's better to play it safe: find your department's group on Facebook, get to know the students who are one year above you and ask them which subjects are better to choose during the first year, what each of the professors' requirements are, etc.

That's especially important for those who are pursuing Master's and PhD programs, since most people got their bearings in the university during their Bachelor's, while you'll have to adapt on the fly and fast.

3. Relying on others

Studying at Czech universities does not work like many students are used to, when five “nerds” attend all classes and take notes on lectures, and the rest happily copy them and even have the audacity to ask the “nerds” to write a term. papers and complete laboratory assignments for them. It’s different here: if you skip classes and don’t study, then this is only your problem and no one else’s, and you will have to deal with it yourself, no matter what the reasons for missing classes may be.

But don't think that students here don't help each other out: it's common practice to distribute preparation for a long list of exam questions among several people so that everyone could contribute. Yet nobody likes cop-outs and freeloaders.

The reason for this way of thinking is that in the Czech Republic, unlike other countries, not everyone goes to university straight after school. Here it’s normal to spend some time “finding yourself,” moving abroad, working odd jobs and learning a foreign language, then returning home, figuring out what you really want to do, and only then deciding to go to university and study. get the degree you want. It is logical that in this case you will not feel the need to relax and skip classes - coming here was not the choice of your parents, but your desire.

4. Signing up for too many subjects

Just like everywhere else in Europe, Czech universities use a so-called "credit system": each subject has a certain "weight" in points, and in order to pass to the next year (or term), you have to earn a specific number of such points.

Here, it's key not to get "snowed under": sometimes, a freshman may sign up for as many subjects as possible and then they realize during the exam week that they have neither the strength nor time to complete all the required assignments and pass the exams or tests. Therefore, don't overestimate your capabilities when choosing subjects.

5. Working and studying

Students in many countries often start working outside of their studies already in their first year. For European universities, despite the relative freedom to choose subjects and design curricula, the “three days of work, two days of study” plan simply does not work.

But there can be exceptions; a lot depends on the chosen program and institution. Future doctors and lawyers shouldn't rely on making some money on the side until after they graduate, yet economists, journalists and art students pursuing Master's degrees already work, if only part-time. So, set your priorities wisely and go get that degree!

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