The University of Applied Sciences in Koblenz was my last choice, as my first application to the Austrian university in Steyr was duly sent, but it was returned two months later on the grounds that the university will only admit new students for the Double Degree programme. My next choice was the university in Ingolstadt, Germany. The university is very similar to the finally selected school in Koblenz. The issue with this school was rather slow communication with the staff of their international office. The commencement of my studies there was called off in early September and the choice fell on Koblenz. The International Office at ŠKODA AUTO University were very helpful during this stage and swiftly managed to make new arrangements for my visit.
Arrival at the dormitory was without any problems and the University had recommended a Catholic dormitory, the price for a single room was adequate and the facilities and distance from the school was good as well. In comparison with the Czech dormitory in Strahov, the Czech University of Agriculture and two Catholic dormitories in Germany, the German ones are the best. The dormitory also offered social and cultural events, bike storage and sports equipment. I was also very surprised by the friendly attitude of the staff. However, I had to open a bank account since the rent could not be paid in cash. Only the last rent was covered by the initial rent deposit and the difference was paid in cash.
The first week was about getting to know the campus, paying the social payments for enrolment for the semester and creating numerous user accounts in all the school systems. Before my arrival, I was contacted by a German student registered in the Buddy programme; students in this programme are usually very friendly and helpful. Unfortunately, the university does not use a universal system and I therefore had to set up individual accounts for the library, canteen and cafeteria, school email, my-study and my-exams modules, local students helped me with the process and we managed to overcome the language barrier. A major advantage was the possibility to using the school ID card for free use of public transport. Koblenz is not much larger than Mladá Boleslav, but the price for one ticket, 2.8 EUR was highly demotivating for the use of public transport if you lost your card. However, the re-issue of the card was free.
The International Office announced auxiliary seminars for foreign students during the first week, as well as many organised events later during the year including an excursion to the capital. The only downside was a change in the Learning Agreement due to uncertainties in courses for foreign students. The Erasmus programme was primarily designed for Bachelor’s degree programmes and the arrival of a Master’s student surprised them. The choice of courses in English was not so rich and I therefore had to opt for a balance between courses of both levels.
The school itself was very spacious, modern and had great facilities. Teachers were really welcoming towards international students and if there was any problem, they immediately came up with a solution in order to reach a compromise. In my case, I got an alternative exam date because of my departure to the Czech Republic. It should be noted that the German model counts only with one exam date and one attempt. The dates were announced at the beginning of the year and students had to register for them this then as well. The study model, process and integration of international students is very similar to the system of ŠKODA AUTO University, which I believe resembles the model of Western countries to a great extent. Collecting points throughout the year in seminars or preparing coursework; great emphasis was also put on frequent presentations and teaching students to express their views. Discussion was welcome and usually rewarded with points added to the overall score. Courses also had associated weekend seminars hosting experts from the industry. An interesting experience was a three-day international seminar on Corporate Social Responsibility. The event hosted experts on the subject from Germany, Austria, Belgium and Canada. The interactive seminar was awarded with 3 ECTS and its output was an official certificate of the university in Remagen.
In November, most of us used the opportunity to visit the capital. The price of 110 EUR included transport by ICE high-speed train, group tickets for public transport, accommodation with half board for three days in a hostel on the outskirts in Wansee, museum admissions, excursion to Bundestag and a city tour with an English speaking guide. I mentioned this trip because of my immense excitement from the visit of the capital and its unbeatable price.
The matter of financial coverage of the visit will probably be the same for everyone, the fund is sufficient to cover accommodation and basic meals. However, travelling, interests and leisure time was covered from my savings.
I would recommend the Erasmus programme to all students who want to meet new students and experience cultural differences in the first place, with extending their knowledge being on the second place. During my six-month stay, I met many people from all over Europe, thanks to the seminar in Remagen also students from the Middle East and Russia. Erasmus breaks down cultural barriers and brings together like-minded students who would otherwise probably not meet each other in their lives. The university in Koblenz supports many cultural events both financially and by providing the school grounds. These events included very popular International Food Evenings, seminars on cultural differences, customs and national holidays. A great experience for me was the opportunity to become independent in a foreign country, use my foreign language skills in everyday communication and last but not least to make many new friends and contacts across Europe.
I worked in the Purchase Department in the Projects team which consisted of 16 nice colleagues who were always prepared to help me kindly if I needed it. The beginning was quite exacting as we had to manage our bank account and request all Bentley systems such as SAP, TEVON, AVON, B-release database, but everything was arranged sooner than we expected.
If I had to evaluate my stay in Athens, the words I could use would be amazing and unforgettable. Not only that, I met with great friendly people from many parts of the world, and I also learned about Greek culture.
My daily task was to negotiate discounts with suppliers and ensure a steady flow of orders in the internal system called Workflow.
One of the main reasons why I decided on Škoda Auto University was the possibility for extensive internships, not only at Škoda Auto a.s. but also abroad with companies such as VW, Audi, Seat and Bentley.
ŠKODA AUTO University offers a lot of options for an exchange semester abroad. As a result, it was not easy to decide which university is the most interesting. I decided to study at the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria.
From 10th February till 25th July 2014 I had a great opportunity to be a part of the Purchasing department in Bentley motors Ltd. in a small town called Crewe. Crewe is situated in the north-west part of Great Britain.