Czech Republic

Part of Czechoslovakia until the “velvet divorce“ in January 1993, the Czech Republic is a country with a democratic tradition, a developed economy and a rich cultural heritage. Is a land-locked country in Central Europe, and is a  great starting point for visiting other European destinations. From its capital, Prague, you can get to Berlin, Germany, in 4 hours by train. It takes two hours to fly to London, UK, one hour to Paris, France, and about four hours to reach Vienna, Austria, by bus or by car.

The Czech Republic has twelve sites on the UNESCO World Heritage List, as well as others aspiring to join the list. Besides Prague Castle – the largest castle complex in the world – other sights, especially in Kutná Hora and Český Krumlov, should not be missed. Apart from historical towns and buildings, there are two significant cultural traditions and one geopark listed with UNESCO.

People’s nature

Although you might find Czechs formal and cold when you first meet them, when they get to know you, you will discover they are really nice and friendly people with a special sense of humor.

Greetings: Greet someone you’ve just met with a  handshake. On subsequent meetings , women will often kiss each other on both cheeks to say hello. Usually people say “Dobrý den/Good morning” when entering a shop of any kind, a doctor’s office, a train compartment, or even an elevator.
Public transport: On escalators, always stand on the right side to let people pass on the left. Let people out of the tram or metro before you enter.
English language: Do not expect the older generation (over 35) to speak English. On the other hand, younger people quite often speak English well, and sometimes also another foreign language (French, Spanish, German).

Weather and clothing

Many students coming from a  warmer climate underestimate the local weather conditions. An overcoat is necessary not just in winter but also in early spring and late autumn. In summer, temperatures may fluctuate and you should therefore carry a light jacket just in case. For winter, a wool cap, gloves, scarf, a down jacket and waterproof non-slip shoes are essential.

The sun sets early in winter, and the clocks are changed twice a year. The good news is that, even in the winter months, there are on an average 15 sunny days! Many Czechs look forward to winter, and if you are appropriately dressed you too will find Prague under snow very attractive.

Exciting cultural life

Summer offers plenty of live music festivals of various genres and sizes to choose from. For classical music the major festival is the Prague Spring. Are you a passionate cinemagoer? Excellent! Prague‘s  FebioFest takes place in March. Prague also offers other film festivals focused on the cinematography of particular countries and even, for example, human rights documentaries.

In early summer, the spa town of Karlovy Vary hosts the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, which has gained great popularity and recognition worldwide. It is in the same category as for example the festivals in Cannes and Berlin, but unlike those famous festivals, Karlovy Vary is still open to students and film fans, not just film stars and professionals. The atmosphere is superb and not to be missed.


A  traditional Czech main meal consists of soup and a  main dish – mostly meat with potatoes or with a cream sauce and dumplings. It is also easy to find all kinds of international cuisine in Prague. Vegetarian restaurants are not rare any more; many of them offer Indian or Nepalese food.

There are more than 10 university canteens that serve breakfast, lunch and dinner for very reasonable prices (CZK 60 for lunch for students for soup, main dish and salad). The food is usually traditional Czech, but there is always a  vegetarian option on the daily menu. Czech food is tasty, but you may not find it spicy enough!

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