My name is Pasha Naeem and I am studying Engineering and Management in Winterthur Switzerland. Besides that I like swimming, backpacking and skiing.
For my exchange semester I chose the Charles University in Prague because it was one of the most prestigious of the available universities located in a big city. I was in Prague once before making this decision and knew that it was one of the most charming cities in Europe and that it offered a wide range of cultural activities.
Studying at the Faculty of Social Sciences was quite similar to studying at the ZHAW with regards to the structure of lectures, practicals, scripts and exams. However studying at the Faculty of Mathematics was quite something different as they emphasize more upon the theoretical rather than the practical aspects.
Before my departure I was advised to seek a shared flat, as these are relatively cheap, centrally located and more hygienic than the available dormitories. On social media one can easily find many listings, but the quest can also become overwhelming as Prague has several public and private universities with an immense fluctuation of exchange students.
Thus the supply and demand of available apartments and rooms is quite high. With considerable effort and some luck, I was able to secure a shared flat with six other exchange students before my departure. We were a mixed group 3 guys and 4 girls from German, Belgium, Spain and Switzerland. None of us knew the others before our arrival in Prague and although we were all enrolled in different faculties or even universities, we were all in the same boat, exchange students in a foreign country. So over the duration of the semester we became more than just roommates out of convenience. We studied, cooked and ate together every other evening in different constellations.
Prague and the Czech Republic in general have a stirring history. The country has experienced an economic boom since joining the EU and offers a high quality cultural and culinary experience. As student you get up to 75% discount on public transport which isn’t just clean, comfortable and punctual but also provides free Wi-Fi. My roommates and I used this opportunity every now and then and we visited other cities like Pilsen, Brno and Cesky Krumlov.
Looking back, the exchange semester was an enriching experience in many aspects and I am glad to have had this opportunity. It also made me look at many current topics and issues with a more European point of view which provided a welcome contrast to my previously rather “Swiss centric” perspective.