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Off-Campus Study

ISEP at Masaryk: CzechMates

The Czech Republic’s rich and varied history characterized by repression, resilience and a long struggle for independence makes this “small country in the heart of Europe” a fascinating place to experience. Formerly known as “Czechoslovakia,” this country was split into the two sovereign nations of the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993, following the peaceful “Velvet Revolution” in 1989.

The country now borders Poland to the northeast, Germany to the west and northwest, Austria to the south and Slovakia to the east. Visit the nearby cathedrals, castles, breweries, caves and abyss in and around Brno, or travel just a few hours to Prague, Bratislava, Vienna, Budapest or Krakow.

Founded in 1919, Masaryk University is the second largest higher educational institution in the Czech Republic. University facilities include several new university and faculty libraries, a wide range of sports facilities (gymnasiums, sports fields, rowing center, indoor and outdoor tennis courts), a botanical garden, and several student clubs at individual faculties. Total enrollment: over 37,000 students. Thanks to a loan from the European Investment Bank, the university is now engaged in building a new campus and refurbishing existing buildings; when completed, all the university’s faculties, research centers, and residences will be equipped with the most up-to-date facilities. 

The CzechMates program comprises coursework within a cluster of class options centered on holistically developing student competencies, personal and professional, related to critical thinking, international communication, and intercultural collaboration.

This program is best for a student that is independent.  A student must be comfortable with advocating for themselves on campus and comfortable with the local language to thrive in this location. Please be aware that there may not be the same access to internet or amenities to which you may be accustomed.  Student services and especially class registration may not be at all similar to what is done at the College and may be difficult for some students to adjust.

Learn more about Masaryk University here! Read the ISEP Country Handbook to learn more about visa requirements, educational system, and culture.

Program Type

Direct

Locations

Brno, Czech Republic

Languages of Instruction

English

Program Dates

Fall 2018: September to December 

All dates are tentative and may change.  ISEP will alert all accepted students of final dates.

Eligibility

To be eligible to participate in this program, students must meet the following requirements:

  • Good academic and judicial standing during time of application AND time of participation in program
  • Undergraduates must have completed at least two semesters of study at Lake Forest College AND have second-semester sophomore status or higher before participation. 
  • At least 18 years of age by the program’s departure date. 
  • Be able to stay at the host program for the duration of the semester, including through the exam and travel periods
  • Minimum GPA of 3.2.

 

ISEP Chance of Placement for Direct is Good.

Location

The historical capital of Moravia, Brno combines a rich cultural legacy with the vibrancy of a university city that is home to six higher educational institutions (of which Masaryk University is the largest) and over 75,000 students. Thanks to its strategic location at the heart of Central Europe, major regional centers such as Prague, Bratislava, Vienna, Budapest, and Krakow, are within easy reach by train and bus. In the immediate vicinity of Brno, the Moravian highlands to the north and west offer outstanding opportunities for hiking, bicycling and skiing. Southeast of Brno is the Czech Republic’s main wine-producing region, with its many ancient cellars, now linked by a new network of ecology-friendly bicycle trails.

Academics

The CzechMates program comprises coursework within a cluster of class options centered on holistically developing student competencies, personal and professional, related to critical thinking, international communication, and intercultural collaboration. These courses are immersive and are aligned within the following disciplinary trajectories:

  • Language, intercultural communication
  • Culture, history, politics, entrepreneurial studies
  • Media studies
  • Globalization studies
  • Internships (supplemented by a mentored practicum)
  • Guided research opportunities are also an available option for students seeking to hone their capacity to conduct research independently within foreign settings/circumstances

CzechMates offers an unmatched opportunity for educational growth and professional development for those seeking to work in the international realm. Through its design, it provides a select range of course options, applicable to all majors but focused broadly on communications and general education, such as language, history, politics, media, processes of globalization and professional development. The course cluster design is specifically configured to provide integrated as well as context-specific learning, meaningful internship appointments, and an enhanced level of personal attention and educational support under the auspices of a director with extensive experience in international education and student mentoring abroad.

This structure is clustered as follows:

  • Globalization – Culture, Communication, Globalization - Taught by Professor Elavsky, this course provides an in-depth overview of contemporary topics and subject matter that links students’ personal and professional identity to a broader understanding of global processes as they link to local, regional, national, and international concerns. Czechmate’s program participants will take this course in association with Masaryk University students from a range of countries, capitalizing on the opportunity for a deeper engagement (through grounded dialogues, collaborative group work, and experiential learning) to more-effectively foster/elevate the cross-cultural acumen of all participants therein.
  • Regional Culture – Choice of one course on either the a) History, b) Politics,  c) Economics, or d) Entrepreneurial initiatives related to Central Europe.
  • Internships (15-20 hours/week (200 hours across the semester), supplemented with a mentoring seminar which meets biweekly, led by Professor Elavsky)

 

Academic Environment and Teaching Style

Please understand that the academic system is quite different. Classes are usually lecture-based, instead of discussion or group work. Classes are often much larger than those found at Lake Forest College. Grades are based heavily, at times almost entirely, on one end-of-term exam, though some courses will also offer a midterm.  Professors are often more formal than those in the United States.

All courses/modules may have prerequisites.  Some departments may have limitations on numbers of courses that can be taken within or outside it.  Be aware of these limitations.

Can review the country handbooks for ISEP here as well:

http://www.isep.org/students/Placed/country_handbooks.asp

 

ISEP Placement info:http://www.isep.org/Coordinators/us_placement_notes_english.asp

Please review country handbook for more information on the education system, grades, class hours, and classroom etiquette.

Course Approvals

Check to see if your department has pre-approved courses here. If not, don’t worry. You can work with your advisor.

Experiential Opportunities

Internship Opportunities!

The Czechmates program offers several diverse options for students to obtain a meaningful, engaging, and immersive internship experience in the realms of:

Advertising/Public Relations

Media/Journalism

International Relations/Business

Social Justice

Information Technology 

Arts

Sports

Education

 

Students work 15-20 hours/week (200 hours across the semester), supplemented with a mentoring seminar which meets bi-weekly. 

For more information about internship placement click here

Student Life

Founded in 1919, Masaryk University is the second largest higher educational institution in the Czech Republic. University facilities include several new university and faculty libraries, a wide range of sports facilities (gymnasiums, sports fields, rowing center, indoor and outdoor tennis courts), a botanical garden, and several student clubs at individual faculties. Total enrollment: over 37,000 students. Thanks to a loan from the European Investment Bank, the university is now engaged in building a new campus and refurbishing existing buildings; when completed, all the university’s faculties, research centers, and residences will be equipped with the most up-to-date facilities.

ORIENTATION

The first day of Orientation week (Monday), students will be given a packet with an orientation week program. The International Student Club arranges a Buddy Program, including having a Czech student meet international students upon their arrival in Brno.

In addition to arrangements for registering for courses and obtaining all the various official documents, a typical orientation week includes tours of the university and its facilities, lectures on Czech culture and Czech society and on the Czech university system, an intensive course in Czech (ranging from “survival” Czech for complete beginners to various degrees of advanced courses for those who already have knowledge of the language), a welcoming party with Masaryk University teachers and students, a tour of Brno, visits to Brno museums, and a day-long excursion in the environs of the city (Maravian Carst). 
See http://czs.muni.cz/en/in/students/studies/xprogram-isep for more details. More information is available at http://czs.muni.cz/en/in/students/studies/xprogram-isep. The web page of the International Student Club: http://isc.muni.cz 

 

STUDENT ACTIVITIES

The International Student Club on campus promotes and sponsors activities to help exchange students transition into life at Masaryk. A list of their activities can be found under the “Featured Programs” link.

Orientation benefits are also included in your program. This includes arrangements for registering for courses and obtaining documents you will need. A typical orientation week also includes tours of the university and its facilities, talks on Czech culture and Czech society and the Czech university system, a mini-“crash course” in Czech, meeting with Masaryk University teachers and students, a tour of Brno, and a day-long excursion into the city.

Masaryk also offers day-long excursions into the surrounding area, which is available for all ISEP students; however, the costs are not included in the program fee for ISEP Exchange and Direct students. In the past, students participating in ISEP have traveled to places like Vienna, Budapest, Krakow, the Cerna Hora brewery and the National Park, Moravian Karst.

Housing and Meals

International students live in a modern university residence that offers double rooms, each with an ensuite bathroom and kitchenette. Frequent and inexpensive public transport puts the university’s faculties within easy reach. A meal stipend is provided; international students can benefit from very inexpensive meals in the university cafes and cooking facilities in their dorms.

Financial Information

For all approved programs for guaranteed financial aid transferability, students pay their Lake Forest College tuition plus a program fee. The program fee for a semester with the ISEP Exchange program includes orientation, on-site director, college fees, housing and a stipend to cover the equivalent of 19/meals per week.

Here is an estimated budget for the Fall 2018/Spring 2019 semester:

Budget Item

Amount

Lake Forest College Tuition

$22,412

Program fee (estimated)

Note: Spring may have added cost

$5,440

College Deposit (credit)

($250)

Total Expected Billed by Lake Forest College

$27,852

ISEP Fee due on Stage 2 Application

 $325

College Deposit due on Acceptance (non-refundable, but shows as credit on bill for off-campus term)

 $250

ISEP-required health and repatriation insurance ($90/mo estimated)

Note: Some countries require national insurance. Check ISEP

 $360

Additional Meals

 $600

Estimated Airfare

 $1,200

Estimated Personal Expenses (passport, visas, immunizations, textbooks, supplies, personal expenses, additional national insurance, if required, travel insurance, additional travel etc.)

 $1,700

Total Out-of-Pocket Expenses

 $4,435

Total

 

$32,287 

 

Tuition rates and program fees are subject to change each year, but this information was up-to-date as of March 2017.  We will notify applicants, and update this page if the program fee or other estimates change.

Keep in mind that you may spend more or less in certain areas like personal expenses, travel, meals, or airfare, depending on exchange rates and your own spending habits. Classroom or lab fees are not included in this estimate and will depend on your course registration choices.  

Don’t forget to apply for scholarships! A great listing can be found here.  

Do check your student account on My.Lakeforest for your aid awards, as much of this will go with you. If you want to compare your program to the cost of being on campus, those numbers can be found here: https://www.lakeforest.edu/admissions/tuition/fees.php

You can discuss with Financial Aid your specific aid package and your expected family contribution.