My Olomouc Experience
To participate in the double degree in the 6th biggest city of the Czech Republic, Olomouc, was surely one of the best decisions I took during my Masters. Not only is Olomouc a great and affordable city for students, but it also offers numerous high-quality courses at the Palacky University, the 2nd oldest university in the country. Also, I was satisfied with the overall support I got from Salzburg as well as from the Olomouc side.
In comparison to Salzburg, Olomouc can boast about much more affordable housing (especially after getting the housing subsidy from the university), cheaper food and beer as well as less expensive cultural and leisure activities. Moreover, it constitutes a practical starting point for various trips by train, bus or car to many destinations all around Central Europe. One can easily organise a one-day trip to Prague (reachable within two hours by train) and Krakow or a weekend in Slovakia, Vienna or Budapest. Students in Czech Republic can automatically use all public trains and buses with a 75 % discount (!), which in practice means that you can cross the entire country for couple of Euros. Even Salzburg is easily reachable by train or bus from Olomouc.
Concerning the city itself, Olomouc is very student-friendly and it offers awesome atmosphere, beautiful hills nearby, great variety of student pubs, restaurants and clubs, many Erasmus and ESN events and shops that are, unlike in Salzburg, open even after 8 pm and on Sundays!
Speaking about the university (that is the actual reason why you all plan to go to Olomouc right?) – one should not miss the orientation week, which usually takes place in the first week of February. Furthermore, I would highly recommend to take free Czech language courses. Even though Czech does definitely not belong to the easiest languages at all, you will find it very useful to speak at least the basics of it once you leave the university since, honestly speaking, most Czechs do not really speak any foreign language. With regard to that, you should also consider taking Czech language courses already at the University of Salzburg during the winter term before your semester in Olomouc.
The study program at the Palacky University is generally not as EU-law focused as in Salzburg, so you will also gain new knowledge about international law and issues specifically related to Czech Republic and its political system. Besides that, I especially liked the course ‘Comparative Administrative Law’ that analyses various legal issues from the environmental perspective. Throughout the whole semester, one can profit from a very friendly support offered by Prof. Malacka, who coordinates the double degree program.
All in all, the double degree in Olomouc was an amazing experience, which I would repeat without any hesitation. Be prepared for lots of fun, travelling, partying and, of course, some studying in a pleasant university environment in one of the most beautiful and liveable cities in Czech Republic. Ahoj!