ISOIS ▸ Final reports

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

Queens University of Charlotte

USA 2021/2022 ISEP Exchange

Personal data
Mobility type:

Faculty at MU:
Faculty of Social Studies

Field of study:
International Relations and European Politics / International Relations and European Politics

Level of study during period of placement:

Language used:

Summer/winter school?:

Period of studies:
spring 2022

Period of placement (from-to):
2022-01-04 - 2022-05-04

Number of months:

Activities before my departure abroad
Where can information be found about courses taught at the foreign school?:
Directly contacting the admission office of the university

Which documents were needed for acceptance at the foreign university?:
ISEP acceptance package
Transcript of records from previous institute
Cover letter to why you chose this university in particular
Picture of your passport

How far ahead did you have to organise your acceptance?:
1-2 months

Did you need a visa?:

Documents and materials needed for a visa:
1. Passport
2. Passport size photo x1
3. DS-2019 Form
4. J-1 No Objection Letter
5. SEVIS I-901 Fee Payment Confirmation
6. Visa Application Confirmation Page
7. ISEP Letter of Certification
9. MRV visa payment fee
10. Appointment confirmation

Length of wait for visa:
One week

Fee for the visa:
3520 Czech Crowns

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?:

During your stay did you change your Learning Agreement?:
I made changes to my LA agreement as I ended up taking an additional course at the host university

When and how did course registration take place? Are there any restrictions? Possibilities of making changes?:
I registered for courses when I arrived at the host university during orientation week. Registration took place via the university website, later on a coordinator reviewed my registered courses and made the relevant changes then confirmed my course schedule with me via email.

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:
One credit at my host university was the equivalent to two at my home university credit system.

Describe the teaching methods (theory, practical and projects) and assessment of students:
A great emphasis was placed on student to student and professor to student interactions and students understanding the overarching pillars of the study subject, with little attention given to details as opposed to home university where more study material has to be consumed therefore for many individuals it could compromise the overall performance. study materail

Quality of teaching in comparison with home school:
Quality was over the top.

How did you receive study materials?:
books for each class had to be bought or could alternatively be rented from the campus library for the duration of one semester

Can you recommend an interesting course/subject/teacher?:
International political economy taught by Professor Margaret Commins

How well is the school library equipped?:
Various study areas and private study rooms, each with a different vibe to it
Computer rooms equipped with IMacs
Coffeehouse on the ground floor with study rooms as well however was separated by a glass door partition from the library

Availability of computers, internet access, level of software needed, requirements on notebook:
Computers ere available at the library
WIFI was provided to all students
Need for own laptop is preferred but not required as all work can be done on library computers after class

Options from printing and copying:

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

If yes then what?:

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:
The host university I went to turned out to be a sports-oriented school therefore, and with an online orientation week, I found it relatively hard to integrate into the community as almost every international and local student was on a sports team that was like their group in and out of practices. However, I loved the atmosphere and the people were very nice and the small size of this private university made it easier to meet and get to know others.

Practical questions on your placement
Where did you live?:
Campus dorms

Cost of accommodation - monthly:

Additional comments to the price of accommodation (as to what the price includes):
ISEP took care of that for me.

Describe the equipment. Tips for future students – what should they bring with them?:
Everything you need can be found, all dorms are very well renovated and very decent, offering a high standard of living. You only need to bring your personal belongings.

How and how far ahead should accommodation be organised?:
ISEP took care of that for me.

What are the catering options?:
There is a coffeehouse, the main dining hall, a pizza station, a fastfood station, a make-yourself sandwich station, and a nice bagel place on campus. Only the bagel place was excluded from ISEP meal plan so you had to pay for it yourself. The main dining hall had a menu for vegetarians too but overall the food quality was poor and very unhealthy. Some days the food presented was better than other days though.

What are the rough costs of groceries (compare with Czech prices):
Undoubtedly much higher than Czech Rep, it obviously varies by person but if you already have a meal plan on campus you will spend much less on grocery shopping however considering that the dining hall does always serve ''clean'' or quality food, you might casually spend in the range of $100 on food per week. Again it all depends on daily menus of the dining hall and each person's food preferences/eating habits.

Transport to location of placement:

Rough prices for transportation:

Tips for purchasing cheap tickets and other recommendations:
Buy your return ticket along with your departure one. It is a costly mistake if you buy them separately as I paid in the range of $650 for my departure flight and around $840 for my return flight. If I had bought both tickets together I would have probably paid $900 altogether or even less if you book slightly in advance.

What are the local transport options (public transport, cycling, on foot, rough prices):
The public transport system in Charlotte is very inefficient and limited in scope. The only viable options to get around are Uber and Lyft or carpooling if you get a chance as to save on rides. Cheapest Uber trip to a nearby place is at least $8 one way. But usually going out of campus and to the uptown area of the city or other nice urban hubs you will pay around $30-40 on uber (back&forth) if you're not splitting the fare with a friend.

What kind of formalities have to be arranged before arrival, for example residence permit?:
Arriving to the US needs no further legal procedures.

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 paid for the mandatory ISEP insurance which was for $475.

Did you have any experience with medical treatment abroad?:
I needed a prescribed medicine while on my study abroad but unfortunately it wasn't covered by my insurance and the medicine was sold at a ridiculously high price if bought without insurance. So my advice for other students is to make sure they buy their meds before going to the US because otherwise you will buy your meds at exorbitant price points. Unless you have another type of some comprehensive insurance.

Did you work during your studies?:

What are the conditions for working for MU students?:
Students on J1 visa to the USA are not allowed to work outside campus premises

Tips for free-time activities:
social events, sports on campus, getting around the city and hiking in nearby places to Charlotte which were insanely beautiful. I was also personally keen on getting engaged with the political scene in Charlotte by attending talks and other relevant events. Travel is also a good use of time, however it is way more expensive to travel locally in the US than it is in the EU.

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

Monthly grant in CZK:
16 CZK

Number of supported months:

Total number of months:

What other sources did you make use of to finance your placement?:
Allowance from parents

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

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?:

a/ of which for accommodation:

b/ of which for catering:

c/ travel and recreation:

Any comments to the average monthly expenditure:
Monthly expenses varied from month to month, so one month it could be $800 the next it could be just $600. This is just an approximate guess as I hardly kept any record of each month's spendings. Travel and free time consumed most spendings, food just a little bit as I had a meal plan at the host university, and you may or may not need to rent or even buy your own books which can be a little pricey.

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:

What would you recommend to take with you:
You need the necessities as things like bed sheets, blanket, or pillows are not provided at the dorm but you can easily buy them from local stores.

What most surprised you at the partner university in a positive way:
How top tier the quality of everything was! From the quality of education to professors to the campus and dorms to pretty much everything!!

What most surprised you at the partner university in a negative way:
Nothing major to complain about but I had certainly wished if clean food was served in the dining hall as most of the food served was very unhealthy and many times of poor quality even. But as previously mentioned some days were better than other days. Also the ''make your own sandwich'' station was considered a better alternative to slightly healthier food so it was good having it around.

Further comments: