ISOIS ▸ Final reports

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

University of Central Florida

USA 2019/2020 Partner universities

Personal data
Mobility type:
study

Faculty at MU:
Faculty of Social Studies

Field of study:
International Relations

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 - 2019-12-12

Number of months:
4.00

Activities before my departure abroad
Where can information be found about courses taught at the foreign school?:
The university websites, but they don't provide much information about the courses.

Which documents were needed for acceptance at the foreign university?:
Insurance
Visa, passport
Immunization form
Proof you have enough money
Learning Agreement
Proof of your lever of english

How far ahead did you have to organise your acceptance?:
6 months ahead

Did you need a visa?:
yes

Documents and materials needed for a visa:
DS form is the most important material, with it you will get visa without problem

Length of wait for visa:
2 weeks

Fee for the visa:
about 8 000 Kč

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

If not, why not?:

Before your departure did you know how your courses would be recognised by your home faculty?:
Yes

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?:
Student picks courses when he is still at home. The first week of semester you come to the classes and you can change them and take different if you don't like it, or keep them (but you have only about 5 days to do so). After that, there is no chance to change classes. You always have to have minimum of 12 Us credits.

Did you take any examinations at the foreign school?:
Yes, there are usually 2 mid-exams during the semester and then a final one at the end. But they are quite easy.

Does the school use the ECTS system?:
no

If not then explain how the credits there were recalculated into ECTS:
Your faculty coordinator decides how much credits for each class you get.

Describe the teaching methods (theory, practical and projects) and assessment of students:
All my classes were theoretical, you attend lectures, listen and try to make notes. I did not have to make any class projects. Teachers are trying to make students more active, asking questions and more discussing the topic. You have presentations provided online for your exams, they don't put emphasis on reading, exams are quite easy because you have study guide which tells you what exactly questions are gonna be present in the exam, so you basically know it ahead. Some courses require you to do weekly quizes online, but it will take you few minutes.

Quality of teaching in comparison with home school:
The quality of teaching was way lower, it more reminded me of high school instead. I was especially surprised by the final exams, because it's nothing like we know. You do 3 exams during the semester, but only from a specific part of the class. It means each exam goes for 1/3 learned material during the semester. At the end you don't do exam from the whole semester, you again do 1/3 of it (what you learned from the last exam which was 3 weeks ago). Plus you know what questions are gonna be present in the test. There are no big demands on students and pass is easy.

How did you receive study materials?:
You have to buy books at the start of the semester for a LOT of money and at the end you find yourself not using them because it is not necessary. Always buy used books online (amazon, ebay,..) instead of going to the book shop. But sometimes it is not possible and you have to buy new books. I don't recomment to study languages at UCF, you would have to buy a book for 7 000 Kč. When I found out, I hade to quit the class. Prepare to spent at least 3 000 Kč on books.

Can you recommend an interesting course/subject/teacher?:
Unfortunately not.

How well is the school library equipped?:
I never needed to take any materials form the library and honestly, I don't know about anybody who did. But the library is quite big, it has 3 floors, most people go there to study, although there is not enough space for them. The library really needs to be reconstructed and modernized.ě

Availability of computers, internet access, level of software needed, requirements on notebook:
The internet doesn't cover the whole campus although they say it does and it's quite complicated to log in. There are not enough computers for such a big university. Hovewer, I did have internet access in every class I was going for a lesson.

Options from printing and copying:
There are, but with fee.

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

If yes then what?:
Going global is an organization which is taking care of exchange students. However, I think they could be doing more activities for exchange students. You can not compare it with erasmus organizations which are way more active. We had only 2 organized trips during the semester.

How would you assess your integration with the local students (evaluation like in school from 1 to 5 with 1 as highest):
4

or describe in your own words:
I wasn't integrated with local students, we spent most of the time with other exchange students. I made friend with people from all across the world.

Practical questions on your placement
Where did you live?:
Because of the crazy cost of accommodation provided by school I decided to find private housing, which was smart - I saved a lot of money. But I had to travel to school on bike everyday and wasn't integrated so much with other students who all took housing provided by school, because I lived far away from them (an hour of walking).

Cost of accommodation - monthly:
450 USD

Additional comments to the price of accommodation (as to what the price includes):
All included, I lived in big house and shared a room with other girl. If you take school accommodation (only few chosen people got dorms inside the campus, others were put into some kind of motel for students) prepare to pay 650 - 800 dollars per month (for a shared room).

Describe the equipment. Tips for future students – what should they bring with them?:
Prepare for quite big expenses that is the most important and only advice. The cost of living in the States is expensive, there is no public transport so if you want to get somewhere you have to pay for uber. Students were taking uber just so they could do grocery. It is really handy to buy a used bike (I bought mine for 90 dollars).

How and how far ahead should accommodation be organised?:
If you want so save money find your own housing and it takes time. Start as soon as possible.

What are the catering options?:
You can buy meal plan from university but it is extremely expensive. There are many fast-foods restaurants around the campus. I was shopping in walmart, preparing food at home and bringing it for school.

What are the rough costs of groceries (compare with Czech prices):
The costs are generaly higher compared to the Czech Republic, but it is not that expensive.

Transport to location of placement:
I paid about 21000 Kč for a flight ticket (both ways).
There is no public transportation, you have to take uber from the airport which costs about 800 Kč.

Rough prices for transportation:
20 000 Kč both ways but you can find cheaper.

Tips for purchasing cheap tickets and other recommendations:
Buy the tickets well in advance, the price will be cheaper.

What are the local transport options (public transport, cycling, on foot, rough prices):
The public transportation is very poor, but there are several bus lines around Orlando. It is for free with your university ID card. I recommend to buy a bike, there is no way you could walk around.

What kind of formalities have to be arranged before arrival, for example residence permit?:
You have to have visa and DS form with you when you land in the states. You also have to provide address where you are gonna be living.

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?):
I took insurance recommended by the university (you have to have insurance which was approved by the school this was the easiest option). The price was around 6 000 Kč for semester.

Did you have any experience with medical treatment abroad?:
No

Did you work during your studies?:
No.

What are the conditions for working for MU students?:
You can't work with this study visa in the States. The only way is to find job INSIDE the campus for only limited hours.

Tips for free-time activities:
With student ID you have the whole wellness area available for free. You can go to gym, pool, yoga, climbing and many other activities.

Financial support and expenses
Total grant from Centre for International Cooperation:
70000 CZK

Monthly grant in CZK:
70000 CZK

Number of supported months:
4

Total number of months:
4

What other sources did you make use of to finance your placement?:
Without parents and personal savings it wouldn't be possible.

If you received another grant, state which and how much in CZK:
24 000 from my faculty, one time

 
Total fees associated with enrolment at the university:
15000 CZK

a/ amount of enrolment fee:
1000 CZK

b/ amount of tuition fees:
0 CZK

c/ amount of other fees (which):
14000 CZK

 
What was your average monthly expenditure?:
22000 CZK

a/ of which for accommodation:
12000 CZK

b/ of which for catering:
5000 CZK

c/ travel and recreation:
5000 CZK

Any comments to the average monthly expenditure:
20 000 Kč for a flight ticket
800 Kč so I could get from the airport
2000 Kč for a used bike so I could get to school and around
4000 Kč for required books
15 USD for sending (by mail) of the list of records

Normal accommodation cost 20 000 for a shared room provided by university, in that case the grant would cover almost only housing and no other expenses.

Recognition of foreign studies at the home faculty
How many credits did you gain during your studies (in the system of the foreign school)?:
14

How many ECTS credits were recognised at MU?:
36

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

What problems did you have with recognition?:
It took a long time.

Overall assessment
Assessment of personal benefit (1 = excellent):
2

Assessment of academic benefit (1 = excellent):
4

Evaluate the information and support provided by the foreign school (1 = excellent):
3

Did you encounter any serious problems during your stay:
No

What would you recommend to take with you:
Pick classes carefully.

What most surprised you at the partner university in a positive way:
Number of international students from all around the world

What most surprised you at the partner university in a negative way:
The quality of education

Further comments:
I would not recomment University of Central Florida for students of Political Science, this field is not well managed here. This school is very famous for engineering (especially space engineering because of close NASA base). If you are an engineering student this place is perfect for you, but not for students of humanities.