ISOIS ▸ Final reports

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

San Diego State University

USA 2019/2020 ISEP Exchange

Personal data
Mobility type:
study

Faculty at MU:
Faculty of Social Studies

Field of study:
International Relations

Level of study during period of placement:
Master

Language used:
English

Summer/winter school?:
no

Period of studies:
spring 2020

Period of placement (from-to):
2020-01-15 - 2020-05-15

Number of months:
4.00

Activities before my departure abroad
Where can information be found about courses taught at the foreign school?:
On their website - https://www.sdsu.edu/

Which documents were needed for acceptance at the foreign university?:
Motivation letter, TOEFL test, Recommendation letter, Health insurance

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

Did you need a visa?:
yes

Documents and materials needed for a visa:
DS-2019 Form, Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status
DS-7002 Form, A Training/Internship Placement Plan (for exchange visitor trainees or intern visa applicants)
Form DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application
A passport valid for travel to the U.S with validity six months after the intended period of stay in the US
One 2x2 photograph

Length of wait for visa:
1 month

Fee for the visa:
$160 visa fee
$220 SEVIS fee

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?:
Since the semester in the US starts a little earlier, it was necessary to register the classes as soon as possible. However, it was possible to make changes up until the second week of the semester.

Did you take any examinations at the foreign school?:
yes

Does the school use the ECTS system?:
no

If not then explain how the credits there were recalculated into ECTS:
The SDSU uses units that are then transfered to credits at MU.

Describe the teaching methods (theory, practical and projects) and assessment of students:
During the semester, we were assigned with many homeworks and projects. The classes also required a lot of readings so the preparation for the class took a lot of time. On the other hand, there was a lot of work that needed to be done during the semester but many classes are finished with submitting a project or a research paper instead of a final exam.

Quality of teaching in comparison with home school:
I do not know how about quality but my teachers were very open-minded and always tried to make students participate in the class - successfully.

How did you receive study materials?:
Book store, online.

Can you recommend an interesting course/subject/teacher?:
I could recommend all the classes that I took, the teachers were always very helpful with anything that I needed.

How well is the school library equipped?:
Very well equipped.

Availability of computers, internet access, level of software needed, requirements on notebook:
Everything was available in the library. Some of the teachers I had classes with asked us not to bring laptops into classes and make hand-written notes instead.

Options from printing and copying:
Available in the library.

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

If yes then what?:
There were so many events for exchange students, especially at the very beginning of the semester. After arrival we had an option to participate in special events to explore the city etc. There were also events that were happening weekly and events that were arranged by the university for all students.

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:
The American students were very welcoming and very interested in where we 'internationals' are coming from. I was lucky to live with Americans for the first part of the semester but naturally we spent a lot of time together with international students.

Practical questions on your placement
Where did you live?:
I lived in dorms on campus.

Cost of accommodation - monthly:
0 USD

Additional comments to the price of accommodation (as to what the price includes):
The price of the accommodation was covered by ISEP.

Describe the equipment. Tips for future students – what should they bring with them?:
The university provides you with a list of things that are and are not available. For example, I knew there would be some basic equipment for me available (bed, desk etc.) but I knew I would not have any beddings or kitchen equipment. Some students brought some of these with them from Europe and some of them bought them after arrival.

How and how far ahead should accommodation be organised?:
It is only necessary to apply for the accommodation, then it is arranged by the university.

What are the catering options?:
There are meal plans options. We were given a paycheck with the amount of money of the meal plan price so we either could have decided for some of the meal plans or to prepare meals ourselves.

What are the rough costs of groceries (compare with Czech prices):
usually two or three times more expensive than in CZE, sometimes even more, depending on the grocery store and what you want to buy

Transport to location of placement:
airplane

Rough prices for transportation:
ca $600-700 (one-way)

Tips for purchasing cheap tickets and other recommendations:
I do not have any tips in this matter, I did not buy my flight ticket that much time ahead and I know from other people sometimes the prices were lower the closer the date of leaving was getting.

What are the local transport options (public transport, cycling, on foot, rough prices):
You can easily walk everywhere on campus. Other than that we used public transport or Uber/Lyft.

What kind of formalities have to be arranged before arrival, for example residence permit?:
Residence permit, classes registration, health checks (immunizations), housing, flight tickets.

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?):
ISEP insurance (I did not have any other option). I think the insurance was $80/month plus some fee. The only disadvantage was that we needed to purchase exactly this insurance and it was only possible to purchase it for the whole month, not for a week or a couple days. Meaning if your insurance was valid until May 15 and you wanted to leave May 16, you needed to buy the insurance for one extra month.

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 only work on campus or off-campus in your field of your study.

Tips for free-time activities:
Definitely exploring the city, there is way more to see than the campus area.

Financial support and expenses
Total grant from Centre for International Cooperation:
60000 CZK

Monthly grant in CZK:
15000 CZK

Number of supported months:
4

Total number of months:
5 (4 months of study)

What other sources did you make use of to finance your placement?:
I mostly paid for the program from my personal savings and I received some financial support from my family.

If you received another grant, state which and how much in CZK:
I received another grant from the faculty in the amount of 70000 CZK. The amount of money was this high due to COVID-19 conditions and extra and unexpected expenses connected to that.

 
Total fees associated with enrolment at the university:
1325 USD

a/ amount of enrolment fee:
475 USD

b/ amount of tuition fees:
0 USD

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

 
What was your average monthly expenditure?:
1000 USD

a/ of which for accommodation:
150 USD

b/ of which for catering:
600 USD

c/ travel and recreation:
250 USD

Any comments to the average monthly expenditure:
My monthly expenditure was different each month, I tried to come up with an average amount of money but it depends on so many things - how much you eat out, how much you travel etc.

The total fees associated with enrolment were about $1325 because I needed to purchase the health insurance at the cost of $450 and undergo certain immunizations - $400 (do not forget to check if you really need it)

Recognition of foreign studies at the home faculty
How many credits did you gain during your studies (in the system of the foreign school)?:
10

How many ECTS credits were recognised at MU?:
31

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

What problems did you have with recognition?:
I did not have any problems with that.

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

Assessment of academic benefit (1 = excellent):
1

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

Did you encounter any serious problems during your stay:
No

What would you recommend to take with you:
I would recommend checking the local weather forecast for the coming period of time and adjust most things you want to take with you to that.

What most surprised you at the partner university in a positive way:
The attitude of both academic and non-academic personnel, everyone was very helpful. I was surprised how tolerant and communicative my teachers were and how they were always ready to solve any problem that occured.

What most surprised you at the partner university in a negative way:
Nothing really.

Further comments: