Tschechische Republik 2014 – Hradec Králové

– by Lars Genzel


Hi, I’m Lars and I’m studying Information Management in the 3rd semester. The following semester (WS 14/15) will be my semester abroad.

I’ve chosen Hradec Kralove (HK) in the Czech Republic as my exchange university, because I went to Prague before in 2013 and loved the atmosphere as well as the culture between East and West. I also went to HK for a day-trip to see what’s awaiting me there and was convinced to stay there for my semester abroad.

But this was not the only reason. Also the course offering was really interesting and the course of studies focuses on Information Management (and is as well called so btw).

The following parts will present you how I managed the application phase, what experiences I had in the Czech Republic and what I had to do after coming home.


First I was looking for information about the application process. There is a helpful website which contains general information and documents like the application form and course offering. On the right side you’ll find the documents and a link to the buddy systemwhich seems to be well organised. I am especially looking forward for the so called ‚Survival Weekend‚, an event outside the city where all exchange students in the czech rep. meet and obviously enjoy their time.

But back to topic, I was looking for interesting courses in the course offer document, found 5 courses and prepared the learning agreement (LA). Before collecting the signatures for the LA, I had to visit the responsible professors in Koblenz for the modules I wanted to get credit for. Therefore I needed detailed descriptions of each course at the foreign uni which can be found here (English / Study / Courses), a course management site similar to KLIPS. Sometimes the descriptions were really outdated, so I contacted the Erasmus person responsible, Ms. Pourova, who was really helpful and answered every request within a day or two. I would recommend to do the elective courses (Wahlpflicht) abroad because of the many choices you have as well as the problem with getting credit for the courses abroad (some professors require a huge overlap for crediting courses).

Last but not least: Useful information about pre-arrival proceedings, formalities and accommodation (which is really cheap, 75€ total) can be found here.


Before I left Germany, I was contacting my buddy in Hradec Kralove in order to get help with accomodation. Don’t miss to register for the buddy system. The ESN buddy system is really helpful and they are organizing Erasmus events once a week. Furthermore they offer trips to Prague, Warsaw, a cottage trip in the countryside of CZ and much more like the Survival weekend. The ESN people made my life in CZ more easy and helped to acclimate fast to the new environment.

My buddy, me and the second Erasmsus student from Koblenz, Andriy, met in the evening in front of the dormitory reception (opened 24/7). She helped us with the registration because usually the employees are speaking only czech. Though there is an older gentleman who speaks some German and the director speaks perfect English. We were quite surprised when we realized that we had to share a room. But it is possible to have a room with shared kitchen/bathroom just for oneself if you pay double (ca. 210 € / month, still cheaper than in Germany). The room is furnished and you get fresh bed sheets on your arrival, but there are no dishes, so bring your own or just buy them (e.g. in the near Tesco which is opened 24/7).

The next day we bought a bus card for 3 months, which was also really cheap. You can also walk from the dorms, if you don’t mind walking 20 min to the university. Hradec is not that big, but it’s more comfortable using public transportation. The city is beautiful and you can join a free tour which is organized by someone from the buddy system. It’s worth visiting, both to get to know the city and the other Erasmus people. But there are of course many opportunities to meet people. There is a welcome party for Erasmus students in the first week where we could chat, play bowling and eat together.

Also in the first week, you have an orientation day where you get familiar with the university and the organization throughout your stay. On this day we got some written information about studying in HK and our international student ID card.  The event was held by Vendoula Pourova, your international coordinator, who is your contact person for all your study issues and who is as well very helpful and friendly. She will inform you about all important study-related issues, since we didn’t have access to the new student management system.

The courses will start in the second week.


Since I’m in the middle of my Erasmus exchange, I want to share my experiences so far.

I was getting familiar with living and studying in Hradec very fast due to the very good support I got from the buddies and the university staff. The courses I took are very interesting and complement well the study program in my home university. You will have to write assignment(s), present your findings and write an exam. Since I nearly finished my Master in IM, it was not too challenging till now. Additionally to the courses I will receive credits for in Koblenz when I’m back, I am refreshing my programming skills in Java since you can take all courses you want to do voluntarily and I am learning Czech language. I recommend learning Czech because most of the people outside the university are afraid of talking English and you get help much faster if you are able to speak some basic phrases. It’s not that hard to learn if you are already familiar with a Slavic language (I know little Russian), else you have to put more effort in it.

The uni building is quite new and so the equipment is very modern. You have access to virtual classrooms which contain all the software you need for the courses and you even have access to a load of scientific journals which is perfect for the many assignments and presentations you have to do. One interesting thing is, that each Erasmus student has to present his/her country to all the other Erasmus students (approx. 100). This weekly event was mostly really entertaining and instructive. If you’re interested in Sports, don’t forget to register as fast as you get the information from your coordinator. I wanted to play squash, but the course was already full when I registered in the first week of my arrival. You also have the opportunity to go skiing for a ridiculously low price!

I was really happy when I found out that I’m able to write all exams before Christmas, though some other students reported it’s not the same for all the courses.

The events organized by the ESN buddy system were quite good. You get to know many people, especially the ones not in your faculty (Information Management). E.g. you will have the opportunity to learn some languages (Spanish, Italian, …) in special language evenings in a pizzeria or visit an ice-hockey match (HK has a team in the first league of CZ and people are crazy about ice-hockey like Germans about football). In particular the survival weekend was a valuable experience since it was physically challenging and you were always working in teams which pushed my motivation and created strong bonds between team member.

This picture shows a small impression of how it was in the survival camp


Like I posted before, I was able to finish all my classes before Christmas.

To sum up, it was a really valuable experience. I learned a lot which will help me in my future career. Not only in a professional way (the approach here is more practical oriented), but also in developing personally and learning about many cultures. In the end it was quite hard to say goodbye to all the people I met and enjoyed spending time with.

But enough sentimentality. The final exams are over and I should have passed them all really good (all 1 until now). Exams were challenging, but if you prepare well it shouldn’t be a problem.

In the end you have to do some paperwork for the dormitory and also take care of receiving all signatures from your coordinator. My Learning Agreement couldn’t be finished before my departure because I’m still waiting for one result, but it will be sent to our international coordinator in Koblenz, so I can hopefully manage to get things done with the acknowledgment of my Erasmus courses.

Last but not least, since the Czech Republic is in the middle of Europe, I was able to travel to places I wasn’t before. For example Vienna and Bratislava. Erasmus students are always organizing trips to different countries in Europe, so you can join them easily if you’re interested in travelling. Also the Czech Republic has many interesting places to visit aside from Prague, Kutna Hora for example or Karlovy Vary, Plzen, and many more…