Maria Bouazzouz had always loved to travel – so spending a year studying in Prague has been a dream come true.Not only has she been able to live like a local in the gorgeous capital of the Czech Republic, she and newfound study friends have been able to explore Europe at weekends.She is taking part in the Erasmus+ programme, which is offered at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) through its overseas opportunities scheme #DMUglobal.Maria is spending a year at Erasmus partner Charles University, the oldest university in the Czech Republic, studying at its Institute of Communication Studies and Journalism.She said: “I had no idea that you could spend a year studying abroad until #DMUglobal told me about it. I’d heard of summer schools in America and working at summer camps, but the idea of being able to do part of my degree at another university was new.“I’d never been to Prague before, so I didn’t really know what to expect but it is beautiful. It’s steeped in history, it has the most beautiful buildings and it’s so much fun.“It is a real student city so there’s always something to do – art, fairs, nightlife and the food is incredible!”Maria is in her third year of English and Media Communications. She does not speak much Czech but has relished studying abroad. Maria said it has made her more confident and made her consider working abroad when she graduates.Lessons are in English and because Prague is such a popular tourist destination most people do understand English. The style of teaching is more formal in Charles University than DMU, said Maria, with emphasis on lectures rather than collaborative learning. She said: “There is quite a large international student community at the university. I’m with four other students from DMU as well so we are all helping each other out. I have met so many different people here and made new friends, I don’t want to come back!“We are able to visit different cities most weekends with our student cards. I’ve visited Germany, Poland and Vienna – just having that ability to travel has been brilliant. But Prague itself is so pretty, it snowed here in January and the dorms and the castles look like something from a film.“I think more people should definitely take part in Erasmus, it offers great opportunities.”Every year students from DMU take part in Erasmus+ programmes. These normally take place after the completion of the second year of a degree. It costs £650 for home/EU students and £750 for international students. Students still have access to services at DMU including welfare and counselling teams.
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