The number of international students – including Erasmus+ participants – in the Czech Republic has skyrocketed over the last two decades as more and more students flock to the central European nation.
“In 1998/1999, only 243 foreign students came to the Czech Republic with Erasmus,” says Lucie Durcová of the Centre for International Cooperation in Education (DZS), which is responsible for a number of international cooperation projects in the country.
“In the academic year 2017/2018, 10,839 foreign Erasmus students came to study in the Czech Republic, which is the highest number in history.”
The top sources of incoming Erasmus students include Spain, France, Turkey, Germany and Slovakia. In a recent survey, students ranked the Czech Republic as the 11thmost attractive Erasmus+ destination.
“We believe that the continual increase is caused by several reasons. One of them is the good quality of offered programs and courses in combination with affordable living costs,” Durcová added.
“The safety and stability of the region is another reason… also the efforts of Czech institutions, such as Study in The Czech Republic, to promote studying in our country.”
With a reputation for being safe and affordable, the country also benefits from its central location on the continent.
“Our exchange students from more remote countries often enjoy not only travelling around the Czech Republic but also neighbouring countries,” Věra Filipová of the University of South Bohemia’s International Relations Office explained.
Linked by low-cost transport to nearby countries, it is a good base for students wishing to travel around Europe.
Universities are now also offering more English courses for international students, as well as language courses, said Ivana Pekarova of the Technical University of Liberec.
“One of the difficulties is the language. In Prague, for example, everybody speaks English, but in the small towns, students might bump into people who don’t. So that’s why we believe that the Czech language is really good for helping them to adapt easily to the culture,” added Pekarova.
“We definitely hope numbers will be increasing and there are many indications of that. I think this word is spreading – students have started posting things like video recommendations and testimonials on their social media.”
The QS Best Student Cities rankings listed both Prague (8th) and Brno (6th) this year. Only the Czech Republic and the US had two cities into the top 10.