ISOIS ▸ Final reports

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

University of Arizona

USA 2019/2020 Partner universities

Personal data
Mobility type:
study

Faculty at MU:
Faculty of Social Studies

Field of study:
Political Science / Political Science

Level of study during period of placement:
Bachelor

Language used:
English

Summer/winter school?:
no

Period of studies:
autumn 2019

Period of placement (from-to):
2019-08-26 - 2019-12-19

Number of months:
4.00

Activities before my departure abroad
Where can information be found about courses taught at the foreign school?:
There is one general directory (UA search website) but beside basic info about the courses (number of credits, difficulty level, general description) an incoming student cannot really get further insight about the course. I recommend to join some FB groups where fellow UA students share their info and experiences to better set priorities about potential courses.

Which documents were needed for acceptance at the foreign university?:
TOEFL exams (70-79 minimum score), certain GPA, home uni docs. The rest will come with instructions.

How far ahead did you have to organise your acceptance?:
In December (to be enrolled and start in August).

Did you need a visa?:
yes

Documents and materials needed for a visa:
Everything on the US embassy website + instructions from US uni.

Length of wait for visa:
a week approx.

Fee for the visa:
around 250USD.

Studies
Did you have a Learning Agreement signed before your departure?:
no

If not, why not?:
Enrollment and courses registration were processed after arrival.

Before your departure did you know how your courses would be recognised by your home faculty?:
Yes. I have already been to exchange programme and knew what my faculty coordinator will process this issue.

During your stay did you change your Learning Agreement?:
Yes.

When and how did course registration take place? Are there any restrictions? Possibilities of making changes?:
Online. Possible to ask for help the local Global center, they're very helpful and supportive.

Did you take any examinations at the foreign school?:
Yes. Typical exams/finals.

Does the school use the ECTS system?:
no

If not then explain how the credits there were recalculated into ECTS:
1 US credit = 2x ECTS

Describe the teaching methods (theory, practical and projects) and assessment of students:
Very interactive, personal approach. Lectures do care and emphasize individual approach, trying to really help and share the information with students. Depends of course from case to case, but in my opinion/experience, this was the main difference and reason to come to US. Just the side note; UofA is good uni but with pretty lot of assignments; not that difficult but to keep students active.

Quality of teaching in comparison with home school:
Better, lectures are friendly (at the home uni they are too) but in different way; more laid back and interactive.

How did you receive study materials?:
Some from the library but most of them were uploaded on the web.

Can you recommend an interesting course/subject/teacher?:
Race and Ethnic Relations with prof. Schwartzmann. Difficult course with high tempo but absolutely worth it since it's very important subject to understand.

Poverty in Tucson workshop; conducting survey in terrain; invaluable experience (not just from sociological perspective).

How well is the school library equipped?:
Did not spend much time there tbh but it seemed well equipped.

Availability of computers, internet access, level of software needed, requirements on notebook:
Very good. Possible to rent laptops for semester.

Options from printing and copying:
Self-service printer, they are all around campus.

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

If yes then what?:
Welcoming parties, buddy programmes, international events etc. More than plenty.

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

or describe in your own words:
Doesn't really matter where you are, it's all about types of people you meet. So the key is good socialization.

Practical questions on your placement
Where did you live?:
Rented off-campus non-shared attic room. Very cozy and had everything I needed. La Vita house Tucson, can only recommend.

Cost of accommodation - monthly:
475 USD

Additional comments to the price of accommodation (as to what the price includes):
Everything included in the monthly rent. Plus 475USD as deposit (given back after whole stay).

Describe the equipment. Tips for future students – what should they bring with them?:
Just buy stuff in US, it's not that expensive and you'll save the space in luggage. Bring just your personal valuables that cannot be bought.

How and how far ahead should accommodation be organised?:
As soon as possible. About 3 months in advance I would say. There is one big ? whether to stay on campus at dorms or off-campus. My standpoint is definitely off campus; much cheaper (on campus dorms are about 30-50% more expensive), on campus there is little possibility to cook + far from malls and it's usually shared with random guys. On the other side, you meet more people/party stuff, gonna eat fast-food from campus, no need to walk/drive to classes etc. Pretty much about ones preferences.

What are the catering options?:
On campus only fast food (expensive). Off campus if have kitchen, possible to cook for yourself.

What are the rough costs of groceries (compare with Czech prices):
2x times higher. Even buying and cooking is more expensive, not mentioning eating out (usually 10USD for meal).

Transport to location of placement:
Walking, by bike (buy/rent). La Vita is close, max 15 minutes walking one way.

Rough prices for transportation:
Uber/Lyft to uni from La Vita fare 5-7USD. The rest don't know, were mostly walking.

Tips for purchasing cheap tickets and other recommendations:
Buy a bike for 50-70USD with proper lock. Save the timr for sure, especially going to groceries.

What are the local transport options (public transport, cycling, on foot, rough prices):
Bus fares approx. 2USD which is fine but take pretty long to get anywhere. There are bike routes in Tucson but the traffic is very busy there (in comparison with Europe). People in US in most cases don't walk, even short trips. Everybody is riding a car.

What kind of formalities have to be arranged before arrival, for example residence permit?:
Sign the renting form. Some info from the uni (everything was posted in advance about instructions).

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?):
UofA does not accept foreign health insurance. This was the biggest unpleasant issue to deal with; eveybody had to pay approx. 2000USD for insurance coverage. It is what it is, business..

Did you have any experience with medical treatment abroad?:
Fortunately not.

Did you work during your studies?:
No. It is quite difficult to work here with all those administration requirements. But it is possible to work on campus (uni as employer) part time jobs.

What are the conditions for working for MU students?:
The same as for any other incoming foreign students.

Tips for free-time activities:
It's Arizona baby; Grand Canyon, Sedona, Utah, Cali.. close to Mexican borders, more than enough recommendations for trips. In Tucson there are plenty of great hikes, the mountaines are really majestic in here.

Financial support and expenses
Total grant from Centre for International Cooperation:
80000 CZK

Monthly grant in CZK:
20000 CZK

Number of supported months:
4

Total number of months:
4

What other sources did you make use of to finance your placement?:
Faculty scholarship 3A (25k CZK)

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

 
Total fees associated with enrolment at the university:
2400 USD

a/ amount of enrolment fee:
400 USD

b/ amount of tuition fees:
0 USD

c/ amount of other fees (which):
0 USD

 
What was your average monthly expenditure?:
850 USD

a/ of which for accommodation:
475 USD

b/ of which for catering:
200 USD

c/ travel and recreation:
175 USD

Any comments to the average monthly expenditure:
Lower rent (in comparison with other places) enabled me to live pretty well. But tbh, it is not cheap in US, especially the uni fees (health insurance). Without the financial support from the home uni wouldn't make sense to come here at all.

Recognition of foreign studies at the home faculty
How many credits did you gain during your studies (in the system of the foreign school)?:
12

How many ECTS credits were recognised at MU?:
24

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

What problems did you have with recognition?:
None, just talk with your coordinator.

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

Assessment of academic benefit (1 = excellent):
2

Evaluate the information and support provided by the foreign school (1 = excellent):
2

Did you encounter any serious problems during your stay:
No.

What would you recommend to take with you:
Anything valuable or what cannot be bought (and needed).

What most surprised you at the partner university in a positive way:
Positive approach.

What most surprised you at the partner university in a negative way:
Fees.

Further comments:
Just go. Don't think. Just go and enjoy the opportunity. Do not fear anything.