Student FAQs

How many credit hours are in an UPCES semester?

UPCES students receive 16 academic credits per semester. Each UPCES course accounts for 3 credits. The only exception is the Elementary Czech Language course, which accounts for 4 credits. UPCES students enroll in 5 courses per semester.

Can I take an UPCES course Pass/Fail?

Approval for a Pass/Fail grade is given by the student's home institution, not UPCES. A student wanting to take a course as Pass/Fail must get approval from their home institution and inform the UPCES Director prior to the beginning of classes. The UPCES Director must have this approval in writing.

Do I have to take Czech?

Elementary Czech is mandatory. Students who have already studied Czech language have options open to them. First, they are welcome to enroll in the UPCES Elementary Czech course if they feel their Czech is still at a beginner level. Second, UPCES may offer a section of Elementary Czech II (if there is sufficient demand).

What happens if my financial aid comes after the UPCES deadlines for tuition?

This question is handled on a case-by-case basis. However, UPCES recognizes that many universities do not authorize their financial aid packages until the semester begins, so UPCES is certainly willing to work with students on this matter. Please contact the UPCES Director for further details.

What if my passport will expire before my study abroad is complete?

The Czech Republic requires that your U.S. passport be valid at least THREE months beyond the dates of your trip. U.S. citizens will find all they need to know about obtaining passports at the U.S. State Department website. Passports issued after the holder's 16th birthday are valid for 10 years. Please make sure your passport will be valid for three months beyond the duration of your stay abroad.

Why is a visa required?

The Czech Government requires non-EU students to acquire a student visa for all stays in the Czech Republic over 90 days. Since the UPCES program exceeds 90 days and is a study program, a visa is required.

The UPCES staff will assist students in the visa process as much as possible. However, each student is responsible for applying for his/her own visa in a timely manner.

My visa is only valid for the length of the UPCES semester. Can I travel in Europe before my visa starts or after it expires?

Absolutely! If you are an American citizen, you can travel in Europe for an additional 90 days, before or after the program. If you are not an American citizen, please contact the UPCES staff for details about your travel eligibility.

Do I need insurance?

All students participating in UPCES must have medical insurance that covers them while abroad in case of accident or illness. UPCES provides all students with basic local health insurance (a requirement of the visa). This does not, however, replace health insurance coverage by the student's university or parents. If you would like to provide additional coverage, please check with your insurance provider to see if they offer overseas coverage. You can also purchase additional travel insurance for flight costs, lost baggage, travel delays, and more through STA Travel. UPCES students have access to a medical clinic staffed with English-speaking, qualified doctors. 

May I arrive early in Prague?

Students are certainly welcome to arrive in Prague early. Should a student wish to come to Prague early, they are welcome to contact anyone from UPCES for advice about accommodations in Prague. It is the student's responsibility to make any reservations.

How should I access money while abroad?

There are many ways to access money in a foreign country that are safe and easy. UPCES recommends bringing a debit ATM card with global access. Be sure to check with your bank to let them know you'll be abroad so that they can lift any international blocks. Also be sure to find out and adjust your daily or weekly withdrawal limit. This method is preferable to currency exchange because it guarantees a fair exchange rate. In addition, some banks offer to cover ATM surcharges. ATMs are located all across Prague and offer an easy, efficient, and safe means of accessing funds.

Can I use my laptop in Prague?

Yes. Most laptops’ power adapters are made to work on both voltage cycles. Look at your power adapter to see if it says 110-240 Volts. If so, this means the laptop will work just fine without a converter.  But don’t forget a plug adapter, as the plugs are shaped differently here.

What about transportation around Prague?

Prague has one of the most reliable and efficient public transport systems in Europe. Its network of metros, trams, and buses allows one to easily get around the entire city without a car or taxi. All UPCES students are provided with a complete transport pass during their stay.

What living costs can be expected during my stay?

Prague has a relatively low cost-of-living. Students find that entertainment, food, drink, and living accommodations are more affordable in Prague than in the United States and Canada. On the other hand, such things as electronics and clothing are often more expensive in Prague. For a full cost-of-living comparison to your nearest U.S. city, use this very handy website.

For more details on expenses, view the UPCES Estimated Expenses Sheet

Are there any items I should be sure to pack?

It's certainly possible to get most items in Prague, but UPCES recommends bringing the following items from home, if possible:

  • Passport
  • Photocopies of all important documents
  • Credit/debit card (please do not bring personal checks as they are not accepted in the EU)
  • Prescription medicine (make sure to bring enough for your whole stay if possible, because it is forbidden to ship any medication from USA to EU, if you can't bring all your medication with you please bring medical prescription from your doctor and EU doctor can write you an eqivalent)
  • Doctor's note or prescription if bringing any medical items (e.g. epi-pen, glucose meter, etc.)
  • Laminated wallet-card stating any medical/food allergies/restrictions with Czech translation
  • Address list of important contacts back home 
  • Plug adapters for all electronics, power bank
  • Particular hygienic brands of deodorant, shampoo, sunscreen, saline solution for contact lenses, etc. You can find a wide variety of personal care products to suit many preferences in Prague, but you may not be able to find certain brands. If you have a strong preference in certain personal products, bring enough to last the duration of the semester. 
  • Tiny lock for securing items while traveling

Can students receive mail?

UPCES students may have mail sent to them in care of UPCES at CERGE-EI. Mail should be addressed to:

Veronika Havlistova
c/o: (student’s name)
Politických vězňů 7
110 00 Prague 1
Czech Republic

Can I ship my extra luggage to Prague?

It's much more convenient and cost-effective to pack lightly and bring all your luggage on your international flight to Prague. If it's necessary to ship additional luggage, there are several options, such as Luggage Forward. Certain items may be delayed in Czech Republic Customs. Please contact the UPCES staff to arrange the appropriate time and date for the arrival of your luggage at the UPCES office.

Do I need an International Student Identity Card (ISIC)?

We advise interested students to purchase an International Student Identification Card (ISIC) before arriving in Prague. The card allows students (under 26) to obtain discounts on travel, entrance to museums, theaters, and other tourist attractions throughout Europe. It may be also used to obtain discount travel insurance. For more information about the application conditions and procedures, please visit the ISIC website.