As you might have noticed, there are very many universities in the Czech Republic. Let’s take a look at the best-known university cities and see what the students say about them. I have asked students from the respective cities to tell me some major advantages and disadvantages of studying in the particular city. Although the positives prevailed in almost all cases, I have decided to include just two positive and two negative aspects of live in each city, just to be fair. Please be aware that the opinions below are not my own (unless stated otherwise), but I have collected them from several friends and students who wished to remain anonymous.
+ Prague is the capital of the Czech Republic, so if you like large cities with rich history and a large number of sights, this is the right place for you. Vibrant city that never sleeps and changes all the time. That’s the beauty of Prague as described by one of my friends, a foreigner who studied there.
+ You’ll meet a lot of expats and English speaking people here. The expat community is the largest and probably the best working and most active one in the whole Czech Republic.
- It’s indeed a large city with a lot of people, not only locals, but tourists as well. The feeling of being lost and anonymous sometimes overwhelms everybody who lives here.
- Since it’s the capital, the prices of flats, services, food and a lot of other necessary things are higher, so you’ll probably have to find a job. The silver lining is that the unemployment rate in Prague is the lowest in the whole Czech Republic, according to a statistic concluded by the employment office it’s around 4.6%. More information (unfortunately available in Czech only). The point is that you shouldn’t have a problem with finding a job in Prague.
+ Night buses are going all night every night to every place in Brno. The go once an hour on workdays, twice on nights that precede bank holidays and weekend days. You’ll hear very many urban stories about night buses in Brno (some of them are probably true), but I can guarantee that you’ll be very glad they exist.
+ After I was searching for a room in a shared flat in an unnamed German city for several months, I have to admit that it’s great how very easy it is to find a place to live in Brno, even for foreigners.
- This will be very hard to write since Brno is „my“ city. But everything has its dark sides, and student life in Brno is unfortunately no exception. Once you’d experienced the buzz of a large European metropolis, you’ll be surprised how boring Brno is. Yes, it has a lot of pubs and bars, but not as many as one would expect from a student city. And the city center seems almost empty, even on a Friday night.
- The rents are almost as high in Prague and the public transportation is even expensiver than in Prague. Unfortunately the wages usually don’t reflect this.
+ According to Wikipedia, Olomouc has the highest density of university students in Central Europe, which means that the university and students play a very important role to the city life and economy. A lot of services are based on students’ needs. That’s what I call a true university city!
+ Olomouc is a smaller city with around 100,000 residents, hence everything is within easy reach, so you don’t even need to use the public transport.
- If you don’t feel like walking from one part of the city to another and want to use the public transport, be aware that the buses only go a few times a day. The night buses only go twice a night, so you’d better be prepared for a night walk.
- Apart from the public transportation, my friend wasn’t able to come up with a second thing she doesn’t like about studying in Olomouc. Now that’s impressive, isn’t it?
+ Similar to Olomouc, Hradec is a smaller city, so the distances are much shorter and the life is a lot calmer. Hradec has very beautiful scenery and nice and well-maintained parks. The city center and the main square is simply breathtaking.
+ Many music festivals are held here, for instance Hip Hop Kemp or Rock for People. If you’ve never heard about Rock for People, maybe you should read another of our articles - Summer Music Festivals in the Czech Republic.
- There are some night buses, however, the monthly ticket isn’t valid in those and you have to buy a separate ticket. Even though they aren’t expensive, it can be pretty annoying, especially when you’re living on a budget. Who wouldn’t like another beer instead of a bus ticket?
- According to a student in Hradec Králové, one of the biggest disadvantages of living in a small city (Hradec Králové has a population of almost 100,000 inhabitants as well) is that you don’t have much privacy. People are nosy and unpleasant and there’s not much to do around here.
+ I can’t help it, but I just have to quote this one word for word: „Everything is very close to the campus. We have a great bar just next to the student dorm so I don’t even need to change from my sweatpants when I want to go out for a beer.“
+ Trams don‘t stop and are going through the night as well, but since everything is so close, you don’t even need to use them.
- Pilsen is unfortunately connected with some fraud university degrees (especially in law) that some VIPs have been awarded. It probably won’t mean anything to your expat group, but the Czechs still tend to judge everybody who studies in Pilsen.
- Unlike in Hradec or Olomouc there aren’t very many green parks, fields and gardens which makes the city a bit sad looking. And the former resident of Brno also misses the great pubs and bars there! I feel sorry for my friend, but it’s nice to hear at the same time!
Yes, I’m aware of the fact that we haven’t covered even a half of the university cities in the Czech Republic. There is so much more and I’m sure every city is special in its own way! Ostrava, České Budějovice, Zlín, Pardubice, Ústí nad Labem, Opava...In case you haven’t found your city in our list it’s probably because I don’t know anybody who studies or studied there, so why don’t share the advantages and disadvantages with us? We’ll be glad to share them with our readers as well!
Photos: sxc.hu, wikimedia.org