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Research reveals Czech attitudes to study abroad

Research from the Czech Republic’s DZS (the Centre for International Cooperation in Education), recently published in English for the first time, is shedding light on attitudes towards study abroad in the Central European nation.

Czech Republic BrnoTwo new reports analyse the Czech Republic's attitudes towards studying abroad. Photo: Max Pixel

“Among the top three reasons for participating in international activities, most respondents indicate improvement of foreign language proficiency (79%) and obtaining study and practical knowledge (55%)"

The two reports, Impact of Erasmus+ on Individuals and Public Attitudes to Study and Work Placements Abroad, collected feedback from foreign mobility participants while also looking at the reasons provided by those who did not participate in those programs during their student life.

The vast majority of the respondents (81%) consider travelling abroad to be “a good thing”, the reports showed.

“We constantly try to bring the topic of international student mobility to the public”

The research also explored the motivations behind travelling abroad for study and some of the issues facing those that do.

Among the top reasons for participating in international activities, most respondents indicated improving of foreign language proficiency (79%) and obtaining study and practical knowledge (55%).

Travel was more likely considered positively by those with a School Leaving Certificate or higher education, or with a net monthly household income of over CZK 40 000 and those who had previously lived in a foreign country, according to the reports.

Those not interested in taking up international mobility opportunities cited lack of money and unwillingness to leave family for a prolonged period of time among their main reasons.

The head of the higher education department at DZS Jakub Tesar told The PIE News that the organisation aims to get the sector into the public spotlight.

“DZS launched its own promotion for study abroad to support national universities named VYJED.CZ (GO ABROAD) last November,” he said.

“It is however not just about prospective students but the general public. We constantly try to bring the topic of international student mobility to the public.

“From our perspective, our task is to get the topic of international education exchanges into mainstream media and public discussion. We are very happy to say that Erasmus has already reached the high level of attention.”

The Czech Republic is fast becoming a popular spot for inbound Erasmus+ students, while also seeing increasing numbers of Czech students heading abroad.

The reports highlighted room for improvement in terms of bettering communication between Czech and host institutions to ensure students are properly prepared.

“The level of support either from the sending or hosting institution is crucial. Regarding the students experience abroad, clarification of offered courses, their level and quality, and preparation of learning agreement well in advance, so no changes are needed afterwards, can help tremendously,” Tesar continued.

“HEIs should know their foreign partners well and select and work with the most reliable and co-operative ones. Evaluations from returning student are a great tool for this.”

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