ISOIS ▸ Final reports

Host country:
Host institution:
Mobility type:
Ac. year:
Study level:
Language filled in:

University of Gent

Belgium 2018/2019 Freemovers

Personal data
Mobility type:

Faculty at MU:
Faculty of Social Studies

Field of study:
Sociology of Medicine

Level of study during period of placement:

Language used:

Summer/winter school?:

Period of studies:
spring 2019

Period of placement (from-to):
2019-03-15 - 2019-07-31

Number of months:

Activities before my departure abroad
Where can information be found about courses taught at the foreign school?:
Information about courses for doctoral schools are available at the following website:

Which documents were needed for acceptance at the foreign university?:
The most important in my case was to make an agreement with a supervisor. Then in respect to the host univesity I only needed to have a learning agreement before the stay.

How far ahead did you have to organise your acceptance?:
I started to organize my acceptance only about 3 months in advance but I had already been in touch with people with whom I later cooperated at the host universtiy. As far as I know from the department where I stayed, visiting PhD students plan their stay 6-12 month in advance.

Did you need a visa?:

Documents and materials needed for a visa:

Length of wait for visa:

Fee for the visa:

Did you have a Learning Agreement signed before your departure?:

If not, why not?:

Before your departure did you know how your courses would be recognised by your home faculty?:
Yes. I knew I would not take any courses at the host universtiy. My plan was to work on my dissertation project. With my home supervisor at MUNI we had agreed on a plan and criteria for gaining the credits from MUNI afterwards.

During your stay did you change your Learning Agreement?:

When and how did course registration take place? Are there any restrictions? Possibilities of making changes?:
As I didn't take courses I don't know. But the university website is well organized and all information are easily accessable.

Did you take any examinations at the foreign school?:

Does the school use the ECTS system?:

If not then explain how the credits there were recalculated into ECTS:

Describe the teaching methods (theory, practical and projects) and assessment of students:
I don't know about teaching methods within regular courses. I became a tmporary menber of a research group which meant I had regular meetings with my host supervisor and I got a chance to present my work at internal seminar.

Quality of teaching in comparison with home school:
I cannot compare.

How did you receive study materials?:
Materials I used during my stay I got from my host supervisor. Also I had an access to universtiy libraries.

Can you recommend an interesting course/subject/teacher?:
I cannot. I can only say about my cooperation with Hedera research group at the department of socioology (Health & Demographic Research) that it is a very inspirational environment. There are many formal and informal meetings at which I could participate. I enjoyed very much also my cooperation and support I got from prof. Piet Bracke who was my host supervisor.

How well is the school library equipped?:
The library of sociology department I found equipped very well in respect to my own field of study which is the sociology of medicine.

Availability of computers, internet access, level of software needed, requirements on notebook:
I cannot say much. I worked only with my own laptop computer while using the Eduroam network which is available at all university facilities.

Options from printing and copying:
I could use the printer in the shared office where I worked.

Does the foreign school/student organisation arrange special events for exchange students?:

If yes then what?:
I didn't take part because most events took place at the beginning of semestre and I arrived later. However I remember there where a few socializing meetings and a flea market event. There is also an international PhD group/community on Facebook that holds regular offline meetings in local bars.

How would you assess your integration with the local students (evaluation like in school from 1 to 5 with 1 as highest):

or describe in your own words:
I felt vey much welcome by colleagues at the sociology department. As mentioned above there are many occcasions for informal contact. University buildings have small dining rooms where we PhD students and department members often have lunch together. I always felt invited. Also, at the student office I obtained an aleaborated brochure providing lot of practical information about the university and the city of Ghent.

Practical questions on your placement
Where did you live?:
Finding a room in Ghent especially for a relatively short stay is a bit challenging. First 2 weeks I stayed in a unversity residential halls (it is possible to book always for a half or a full month through the information system). Doctoral students can book a studio which has everything that is needed and is relatively cosy. Hwever, I decided to move to a room in a shared house as it was slightly cheaper and I was not happy about the location of the residential halls.

Cost of accommodation - monthly:
500 EUR

Additional comments to the price of accommodation (as to what the price includes):
I paid 500 EUR for a room in a shared house. A studio would be about 600. Sometimes it is possible to find cohousing room for 300-500 EUR but mostly it is needed to stay at least one year. Most effective was to search facebook groups (p.e. Samenhuizen / Co Houising in Ghent).

Describe the equipment. Tips for future students – what should they bring with them?:
Both university studio and the private room had all basic equipment including bed sheets. However not towels for instance. Mostly it is possible to buy equipment in charity run second hand stores for reasonable prices.

How and how far ahead should accommodation be organised?:
Accommodation through the univesrity can be organized even in rather last moment, in my case just few days in advance. Regarding the private rooms it's good to start searching at least 2 months in advance. However, it may be disqualifying if it's not possible to meet possible cohousers / renters.

What are the catering options?:
There is a network of university cafeterias, I think there is at least one close to each universtiy campus. All of them serve lucnches, some of them also breakfasts and dinners. Prices are very decent comparing to eating out.

What are the rough costs of groceries (compare with Czech prices):
Most items are slightly more expansive comparing to Czech prices. However there are always more quality options with different prices. Beer is significantly more expensive comparing to Brno.

Transport to location of placement:
There are good train conncetions to Ghent from Vienna, via Frankfurt and Brussels (cca 12 hours). Unofortunately there is no reasonable train conncetion directly from Brno nor Prague. Regiojet and Flixbus have direct lines from Prague. For those who don't care about the climate there are also flights between Brussels and Prague of course.

Rough prices for transportation:
Deutsche Bahn offers the most covenient train tickets, if you are lucky it can be about 60 EUR which i camparable to bus tickets. NOrmal price of the train ticekt is around 120 EUR.

Tips for purchasing cheap tickets and other recommendations:
See above.

What are the local transport options (public transport, cycling, on foot, rough prices):
Cycling is definitely the best option. There are many possiblities to get rather cheap second hand bikes (I got one for 50 EUR - although I have to say I had to finally pay other 30 to fix it after it had broken). Otherwise there is a FietsAmbassade or SwapFiets who offer long term bike rentals for reasonable prices. Public transport is most convenient with a smartphne app called DeLijn where it is possible to buy single tickets for reasonable price. There is also a possiblity of a long-term DeLijn card which I did not use.

What kind of formalities have to be arranged before arrival, for example residence permit?:
After arrival I had to register at the student office to gain a student cart and therefore access to the university facilities. In Belgium it is then neccessary to register at the municipal immigration office within 3 months after arrival. All information regarding this will be given by the student office at the registration.

What health insurance did you use? (rough price, advantages, disadvantages, is it necessary to arrange insurance at the university other than your home (Czech) insurance?):
After consultation with the student office I decided to only use my Czech insurance (VZP).

Did you have any experience with medical treatment abroad?:
I had a few sessions at physiotherapist's. Good experience. I had to pay this because I didn't have a referral, possible it will be reimbursed by my insurance company but I don't know yet.

Did you work during your studies?:

What are the conditions for working for MU students?:
I don't know.

Tips for free-time activities:
There is a lot to do in Ghent as well as other Flemish cties nearby. Galleries, clubs, sport facilities etc. Ghent itself has a few nice parks as well.

Financial support and expenses
Total grant from Centre for International Cooperation:
72000 CZK

Monthly grant in CZK:
16000 CZK

Number of supported months:

Total number of months:

What other sources did you make use of to finance your placement?:
My savings + regular PhD scholarship.

If you received another grant, state which and how much in CZK:

Total fees associated with enrolment at the university:

a/ amount of enrolment fee:

b/ amount of tuition fees:

c/ amount of other fees (which):

What was your average monthly expenditure?:
1200 EUR

a/ of which for accommodation:
500 EUR

b/ of which for catering:
450 EUR

c/ travel and recreation:
250 EUR

Any comments to the average monthly expenditure:

Recognition of foreign studies at the home faculty
How many credits did you gain during your studies (in the system of the foreign school)?:

How many ECTS credits were recognised at MU?:

Did you know in advance which of your courses would be recognised by your home faculty?:

What problems did you have with recognition?:

Overall assessment
Assessment of personal benefit (1 = excellent):

Assessment of academic benefit (1 = excellent):

Evaluate the information and support provided by the foreign school (1 = excellent):

Did you encounter any serious problems during your stay:
I don't think so, not connected directly to my stay. All practical issues I had to deal with were solvable with the help of local institutions and friends.

What would you recommend to take with you:
I think this is really up to personal prefernces.

What most surprised you at the partner university in a positive way:
My experince is very limited to the department of sociology. However, what I enjoyed the most was the good quality working/study environment.

What most surprised you at the partner university in a negative way:
I don't recall any serious disappointment.

Further comments:
It was a really well spent semester!