Why should I have a Czech Buddy in Prague?
Prague, study exchange location! Imagine you arrive at the airport you are on your own. You get a taxi, show the driver your dorm address (if you did not forget to write it down), and you somehow manage to get yourself and your heavy luggage to the front desk of the dorm. Then you find out that the person at the dorm’s front desk does not speak English very well. But s/he is able to say “passport”, so you understand that you need to show your passport and you get the dorm keys.
Then you grab a dinner in a local restaurant, picking from the menu randomly – since you have no idea what it says – and head to bed. The next day, all rested, you decide to go to the school to get all the paperwork done. The university is only 15 minutes by public transportation. If you figure out which ticket you are supposed to purchase and which tram to take, you can get there without much trouble.
Finding the right office takes some time but the people at the International Office or CESP Office are very nice and helpful. Now all that needs to be done is to get your University ID card and a Public Transportation Pass. Here it becomes a little bit difficult – since you don’t speak Czech, and they don’t speak much English – but hey, it can be done.
Now you are tired and hungry and your dorm room still looks barren. So you decide to do some shopping for food and other things. Choosing what you like can prove to be quite a challenge when the labels are in a foreign language and look so different.
Wouldn’t it be much easier if you had someone along for the ride? That’s why your Czech Buddy is here for you
How do you get most of this opportunity during Prague study exchange?
Since the Czech students volunteer for the Buddy Program and want to help, feel free to aks them for help as much as you need.
Your Buddy in Prague will:
- pick you up at the airport or bus/train station
- help with the transportation to the dorms and get you a room
- help you with the paperwork at the dormitories office
- bring you to the school during Orientation Week and help with getting University ID and Public Transportation Pass
- give you basic orientation in the city, at school, explain public transportation system
- take you for the first shopping, namely for groceries
- and, if you need it, help you during the entire semester, e.g. go to the doctor with you or deal with public offices
- help you with moving out from the dorms at the end of the semester
Please note that Buddies are not supposed to help you with finding an apartment (in case you are not staying in the dorms).
Do not feel like you are imposing on your Buddy. Some Czech people might be a little shy (some might be ashamed for their English) but they are indeed very friendly. Buddies are here because they want to help, get to know other people, practice languages and simply have fun.
We would like to ask you to contact your Buddy System coordinator immediately in case your buddy does not pick you from place you arrive, does not help at the dorms, and does not bring you to the school and you have some troubles with him. We really want to know because the Czech students not only volunteer but also gain for this help 10 points for selection procedure for studying abroad. We want to know whether they deserve it!
Keep in contact with your Buddy during the semester. Even though you will have tons of fun with fellow international students, be sure to hang out with your Buddy as well. Buddies can be the best way to get to know Czech culture, make friends with Czech people, and get the most out of your experience abroad.
To sum up, these are six points you really need to know:
- You will get your Buddy’s contact information in an email from Buddy System coordinator about a month before the semester starts. Before that, do not worry about a thing.
- Make sure to give your Buddy correct arrival information and have his/her cell phone number.
- Buddies volunteered to help so do not hesitate to ask for help. If you experience any problems, please contact your Buddy System coordinator immediately.
- Shortly after your arrival we would like to ask you to fill a short questionnaire about your Buddy so we have a feedback from you and know that everything went ok and your Buddy took care of you.
- Stay in touch with your Buddy! Also, stay in touch with the Buddy System organization 🙂 We organize lots of fun events for you. At the end of semester, we will ask you for your valuable feedback!
Note: In all cases, have your dorm address with you when you arrive. Even though it happens very rarely, sometimes there is an emergency and your Buddy does not show up to pick you up. Withdraw some cash (about 2000 CZK) out of an ATM. There is several ATM’s at the airport – they are called “Bankomat”. Get a taxi, preferably AAA Taxi Company: they have bright yellow cars with triple A on them. When you get to the dorm, contact Buddy System organization: use a public phone or email us and we will help you out quickly!