ISOIS ▸ Final reports

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

East Carolina University

USA 2019/2020 ISEP Exchange

Personal data
Mobility type:
study

Faculty at MU:
Faculty of Social Studies

Field of study:
Psychology

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):
2020-01-09 - 2020-05-08

Number of months:
4.00

Activities before my departure abroad
Where can information be found about courses taught at the foreign school?:
http://catalog.ecu.edu/
http://catalog.ecu.edu/content.php?catoid=21&navoid=1881
http://catalog.ecu.edu/preview_program.php?catoid=17&poid=4390&hl=%22Psychology%22&returnto=search

Which documents were needed for acceptance at the foreign university?:
application at www.isepstudyabroad.com
transcript of records
diploma
Toefl iBT certificate
Immunization form

How far ahead did you have to organise your acceptance?:
I had to apply for the study abroad program at CZS MUNI in May 2019 and I had to organise my acceptance during the autumn semester 2019 (so 1 semester ahead)

Did you need a visa?:
yes

Documents and materials needed for a visa:
Form DS-2019: “Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor Status (J-Nonimmigrant)”
J-1 No Objection letter (attached to your DS-2019)

Length of wait for visa:
2 weeks

Fee for the visa:
SEVIS I-901 fee ($220 = 5261 Kč)
Visa fee ($160 = 3680 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?:
No

When and how did course registration take place? Are there any restrictions? Possibilities of making changes?:
First, I uploaded a list of all courses I would be interested in at isepstudyabroad.com
Afterwords, I was told by my ECU coordinator which courses I might be able to enroll in and I had to choose 4 I was most interested in and she contacted the teachers to make sure I can enroll in their courses
After coming to ECU, we had 2 weeks to decide whether we want to make any changes

Did you take any examinations at the foreign school?:
No

Does the school use the ECTS system?:
no

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

Describe the teaching methods (theory, practical and projects) and assessment of students:
The undergraduate class took 75 minutes and it was held twice a week, the graduate class took 150 minutes and it was held once a week
There was a lot of required reading during the semester, some assignments, quizzes and a midterm
The midterms and finals were online and they were open-book
The teachers wanted everyone to participate in class discussions

Quality of teaching in comparison with home school:
The quality of teaching in comparison with my home school was similar, it was evidence-based, research oriented, with focus on class discussions

How did you receive study materials?:
ECU pirateport (similar to IS at MU)
https://pirateport.ecu.edu

Can you recommend an interesting course/subject/teacher?:
Cultural Psychology with Dr. Campbell
Social and Cultural Issues in Counseling with Dr. Crumb

How well is the school library equipped?:
Very well, they offer a lot of e-books and the staff at the ECU library is ready to help you with your research
https://lib.ecu.edu/alt-texts

Availability of computers, internet access, level of software needed, requirements on notebook:
Great, computers available in the library and at the dorms
Internet access all around the campus

Options from printing and copying:
In the library and at the dorms for a small fee

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

If yes then what?:
International Friday coffee meeting
Game-night
They also arrange for a minibus to drive the international students to Wallmart or Target on Fridays

How would you assess your integration with the local students (evaluation like in school from 1 to 5 with 1 as highest):
2

or describe in your own words:
We were all staying at the same dorm, which helped because in the beginning we spent a lot of time together, we went to the dining hall together and that helped us a lot to get to know each other. After a while, we divided into smaller groups, but we still spent some time in the big group (about 13 people) as well.

Practical questions on your placement
Where did you live?:
White hall (dormitory) right across from the West End Dining hall

Cost of accommodation - monthly:
0 USD

Additional comments to the price of accommodation (as to what the price includes):
Since I was an ISEP exchange student, I do not know how much the accommodation at ECU cost because I paid the accommodation for the exchange student in Czech Republic

Describe the equipment. Tips for future students – what should they bring with them?:
There was a bed, a desk, a chair, a mini fridge, and a closet
The international students before us donated a lot of things, that our coordinator washed and prepared for us before our arrival so we were able to get a lot of bedroom equipment from the donated stuff (pillows, comforters, blankets, hangers, small lamps, rugs, mugs, laundry baskets, shower caddies and so on).

They also drove us to a mall to get an American SIM card (it is one of the VISA requirements). The Mint mobile sim card had the best offer and you can get it on amazon before your arrival, if you want
https://www.amazon.com/Mint-Mobile-Wireless-Unlimited-3-Months/dp/B0741FV7ZV/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=mint+sim+card&qid=1599396555&sr=8-3

Definitely bring a socket adapter and an extension cord
otherwise, you will be able to get or buy everything else there

How and how far ahead should accommodation be organised?:
It was organised by the ECU, we were placed at one the of ECU dormitories on the main campus

What are the catering options?:
https://dining.ecu.edu/menu-hours/

2 Dining halls
Several food courts (Subway, Au bon pain, Panda Express, Burger Studio, Chick-fil-a, Starbucks, Olilo...)

We had a purple 20 meal plan - free and unlimited access to the dinning halls, 450 dollars (pirate bucks) to spend at the other food courts and additional 20 meals at the food courts (meal + drink)

What are the rough costs of groceries (compare with Czech prices):
Groceries are a bit more expensive
-the TAX is not included in the prices, it is added at the cash register when you pay
Food and drinks at restaurants are way more expensive, a beer is 5 dollars, a main dish around 15 dollars

Transport to location of placement:
I flew to Raleigh, stayed the night at a hotel and the next day we were transported by the ECU shuttle to the ECU for a fee of 30 dollars

Rough prices for transportation:
Transportation by bus or train is really expensive so if you want to travel somewhere, it is better to plan longer trips (at least for a weekend)
If you want to travel out of Greenville, you either have to get to Raleigh airport or to Wilson and you can take a train from Wilson (for example do D.C., NYC or Charleston in South Carolina)

Tips for purchasing cheap tickets and other recommendations:
train from Wilson: https://www.amtrak.com/home
bus from Greenville: https://www.greyhound.com/
app: rome2rio

What are the local transport options (public transport, cycling, on foot, rough prices):
Uber is a reasonable option for smaller trips in a group
There is an ECU shuttle that drives students from the main campus to the other campus and to sport events
It is recommended not to walk at night (even in a small group)
ECU offers a saferide (ECU police will come and pick you up from a bar or a library if you do not feel comfortable going home alone)

What kind of formalities have to be arranged before arrival, for example residence permit?:
Immunization

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 required us to get ASRM insurance for 90 dollars a month
disadvantage - deductible amount of 50 dollars (When I went to the doctor's office for a health check, I had to pay my bill up to 50 dollars and only if the price of my medical check had been higher, the insurance company would have paid the difference). It also did not cover the TB skin test that had to be done after our arrival on campus and cost around 50 dollars.

Did you have any experience with medical treatment abroad?:
Yes, I had to get the TB skin test at the student health center

Did you work during your studies?:
no

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

Tips for free-time activities:
Join a club
Go the the events organized on campus
Go the the Students recreation center (gym, pool, rock-climbing, zumba classes, and so on). They also organize hiking trips and such.
There is also a cinema on campus

Financial support and expenses
Total grant from Centre for International Cooperation:
37500 CZK

Monthly grant in CZK:
15000 CZK

Number of supported months:
2,5

Total number of months:
4

What other sources did you make use of to finance your placement?:
My own savings

If you received another grant, state which and how much in CZK:
No

 
Total fees associated with enrolment at the university:
35934 CZK

a/ amount of enrolment fee:
10934 CZK

b/ amount of tuition fees:
25000 CZK

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

 
What was your average monthly expenditure?:
0 CZK

a/ of which for accommodation:
0 CZK

b/ of which for catering:
0 CZK

c/ travel and recreation:
10000 CZK

Any comments to the average monthly expenditure:
Accommodation and a meal plan were covered by the ECU exchange student (I paid the fee to CZS MUNI in the amount of 25 000 Kč)

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, all of them

What problems did you have with recognition?:
None

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

Assessment of academic benefit (1 = excellent):
1

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

Did you encounter any serious problems during your stay:
I had to leave after spring break due to coronavirus - the classes were held online, the campus was closed and we had to leave the US before the boarders closed

What would you recommend to take with you:
A comfortable headset with a microphone
Socket adapter
Extension cord

What most surprised you at the partner university in a positive way:
I was positively surprised by the warm welcome and genuine interest in us of the local students, it felt like a lot of people wanted to be friends with us because we were international students

What most surprised you at the partner university in a negative way:
How difficult and expensive it is to travel there without a car and the fact that everyone kept telling us not to walk alone (not even during a day)

Further comments:
I am grateful for this experience, even though it was cut short due to coronavirus.