ISOIS ▸ Final reports

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

Montana State University

USA 2018/2019 ISEP Exchange

Personal data
Mobility type:
study

Faculty at MU:
Faculty of Arts

Field of study:
Teacher Training for Secondary Schools / Upper Secondary School Teacher Training in English Language and Literature

Level of study during period of placement:
Master

Language used:
English

Summer/winter school?:
no

Period of studies:
autumn 2018, spring 2019

Period of placement (from-to):
2018-08-19 - 2019-05-04

Number of months:
8.50

Activities before my departure abroad
Where can information be found about courses taught at the foreign school?:
http://catalog.montana.edu/coursedescriptions/

Which documents were needed for acceptance at the foreign university?:
All the documents required by ISEP

How far ahead did you have to organise your acceptance?:
I applied in December, so about half a year ahead

Did you need a visa?:
yes

Documents and materials needed for a visa:
DS-160 form, DS-2019, passport, photograph

Length of wait for visa:
couple weeks

Fee for the visa:
$160 non-refundable nonimmigrant visa application processing fee
$180- 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?:
I registered for most courses while I was still in the Czech Republic. However, it wasn't necessary. Everything concerning registation for courses could've been done during the orientation week, they walked us through it step by step.
Courses can be added and removed during the first two weeks of school. They can't be added afterwards, but can still be removed.

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:
1 US credit= 2ECTS (undergrad courses)
1 US credit= 3 ECTS (grad courses)

Describe the teaching methods (theory, practical and projects) and assessment of students:
Teachers' attitude was very personal. We had to prepare for every class (readings, homework), and attendance was mandatory for all of my courses. Assessment varied from class to class- essays, tests, studios, etc.

Quality of teaching in comparison with home school:
I think that quality of teaching was very high, as they made us work but in an engaging way. We did lot hands on projects instead of mere memorizing.

How did you receive study materials?:
books, materials from teachers, library

Can you recommend an interesting course/subject/teacher?:
Introduction to creative writing, Ceramics, Brain Science, Educational Research, and Teaching, French literature (with Pascale!)

How well is the school library equipped?:
super well, many many books, a lot of quiet and cozy study places, group study areas

Availability of computers, internet access, level of software needed, requirements on notebook:
computers are available in the library, wifi is everywhere

Options from printing and copying:
printing, scanning, and copying is available in the library. It's cheap and affordable

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

If yes then what?:
Orientation week, dinners, bowling, some trips

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:
I lived on campus during the first semester and then moved off campus for the second semester. Living off campus with Americans was much better, it allowed me to spend all of my time with locals instead of with other internationals.

Practical questions on your placement
Where did you live?:
First semester- in the dorms (Johnstone Center)
Second semester- in a house with locals

Cost of accommodation - monthly:
500 USD

Additional comments to the price of accommodation (as to what the price includes):
First semester- dorms and meal plan were paid for by the host university, so I don't know how much it was. But everything was provided, 3 meals a day 7 times a week, housing, sheets, etc.

Second semester- I lived in a shared house with 5 other roommates. Rent was 466 without utilities, so approximately 600 with electricity, wifi, recycling, compost, etc.

Describe the equipment. Tips for future students – what should they bring with them?:
The dorms provide you with everything (bed, table, sheets, wifi..)

Houses vary greatly, some rooms are furnished, some are not. Always talk to the landlord.

How and how far ahead should accommodation be organised?:
The university will send you emails asking you to apply for accommodation. As long as you follow the directions they give you, finding a place to live will be easy.

What are the catering options?:
If you live on campus, you can get a meal plan. There are several different options (5 days a week, 7 days a week..). The fod in the dining halls is pretty good and everybody can find something they like. I had a 7 day meal plan for the duration of the first semester, so I didn't have to cook at all.
When I lived off campus, I cooked for myself.

What are the rough costs of groceries (compare with Czech prices):
Most groceries are more expensive than in the Czech Republic, however, you can find some pretty cheap brands. Town and Country is a good place to shop for groceries.

Transport to location of placement:
Flight- Prague- Amsterdam- Minneapolis- Bozeman

Rough prices for transportation:
Flights to Bozeman are quite expensive, I think that I paid around 26 000 for a return flight with one checked bag.

Tips for purchasing cheap tickets and other recommendations:
Flight prices change all the time, I was getting quite frustrated when booking my tickets. Book them in advance, use Google Flights.

What are the local transport options (public transport, cycling, on foot, rough prices):
Stream Line- a free bus transportation around Bozeman. Quite convenient but I didn't use it very often.
Buy a bike! Go to the bike auction at the beginning of the semester, you can get a very cheap bike there, which will get you everywhere in Bozeman :)

What kind of formalities have to be arranged before arrival, for example residence permit?:
Medical check, learning agreement, visa

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 requires all students to have their insurance, so I didn't have any options. I paid 774 USD for both semesters.

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.

Tips for free-time activities:
Bozeman has so much to offer, especially for outdoor enthusiasts. There are many closeby places, where you can climb, hike, backpack, ski, ski tour, ice climb, fly fish... Go out and explore! :) As for the town itself, there are many bars and pubs, concerts, theater plays, etc. Most people are outdoorsy, but MSU offers
many cultural events as well!

Financial support and expenses
Total grant from Centre for International Cooperation:
170000 CZK

Monthly grant in CZK:
20000 CZK

Number of supported months:
8.5

Total number of months:
8.5

What other sources did you make use of to finance your placement?:
Personal savings, parents' support, ISEP check

If you received another grant, state which and how much in CZK:
I lived off campus during the second semester, so instead of receiving the ISEP benefit in the form of housing and meal plan, I got a check for 4,700 USD (109,000 CZK).

 
Total fees associated with enrolment at the university:
0 USD

a/ amount of enrolment fee:
100 USD

b/ amount of tuition fees:
0 USD

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

 
What was your average monthly expenditure?:
1100 USD

a/ of which for accommodation:
500 USD

b/ of which for catering:
230 USD

c/ travel and recreation:
400 USD

Any comments to the average monthly expenditure:
It varied every month, sometimes I bought more stuff, a climbing gym membership, more food, traveled more, etc. All in all, it is possible to live pretty cheaply, however, it depends on your standards, as always..

Recognition of foreign studies at the home faculty
How many credits did you gain during your studies (in the system of the foreign school)?:
35

How many ECTS credits were recognised at MU?:
73

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 so far. However, I haven't received my official transcript yet, so I haven't been able to apply for recognition yet.

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):
1

Did you encounter any serious problems during your stay:
No

What would you recommend to take with you:
Anything you'd take anywhere else + a lot of winter clothes, clothes for skiing, climbing gear.

What most surprised you at the partner university in a positive way:
How personal teaching was. It seemed that all my teachers cared for their students, and truly tried to help them succeed. Also, the selection of classes was very wide, and I was able to take courses I would not be able to take otherwise.

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

Further comments: