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Culture Corner

Currency

Though the Czech Republic is a member of the European Union, Czech Republic's official form of currency is the Czech Republic Koruny (CZK), or Czech crown.

There are six different coin denominations and seven different bill denominations in circulation. Coins are denominated in 1, 2 5, 10, 20 and 50 CZK. Bills are denominated in 10, 100, 200, 500, 1000, 2000, 5000 CZK, and each vary in size and color.

It is important to note that Prague has more of a cash economy, meaning that it is more common to use cash (CZK), rather than a credit or debit card for every-day purchases. ATM machines are plentiful in downtown Prague, and using your American bank card will generally give you a good exchange rate. However, in order to access your funds with an ATM card, your money must be in a checking and not a savings account.

Conversion Rates

What is the Czech crown worth compared to the U.S. dollar? With the crown and dollar in constant flux, please see www.oanda.com for up-to-date exchange rates.

While traveling, it may be helpful to carry a portable currency converter (found at travel stores). Sometimes in the form of a key-chain, this is a handy gadget (like a calculator) into which you enter the exchange rate (depending on the exchange rate at the time and the country in which you are located) save, and then simply enter prices and the device converts the amounts into dollars.

Cost of Living

Because the Czech Republic still uses the Czech Crown (CZK) as opposed to the Euro, living in Prague is still quite cheap and affordable than other European cities. The affordable life-style has been a main attraction for newcomers, students and tourists alike. Beware, however, as the cheap costs can entice you to spend too much!

Budgeting
Former students have given us some idea of what you should expect to spend per week while in Prague. Due to the change in exchange rates and vast differences in individual spending habits, however, we can only give you estimated figures. Most students have reported spending around $130-180 per week for personal expenses. This figure does not include extra traveling, heavy shopping, or frequent restaurant dining. This amount takes into consideration day-to-day expenses like food, city transportation, snacks, newspapers, coffee, etc., and also money that will be spent on going out to eat, shopping, nightlife, etc. Please keep in mind that some students spend less and others spend more.

When budgeting, it is always better to overestimate than to underestimate. To give you an idea of common approximate expenses and commodities a typical student will incur, please see the brief list below.

  • Public transportation pass: ~$27 per month.
  • Cell phone: ~$25-30 per week
  • Laundry: ~$10 per week
  • Admission to tourist sites: ~$8 (or cheaper with ISIC card) each
  • Concert tickets: ~$10-30 each
  • Groceries: ~$80-90 per week
  • Dinner (moderately-priced restaurant): ~$15-20 per meal

Additional Estimated Expenses

The ISA program cost includes items such as tuition and fees, housing, insurance, and more. To view what is included in your program price, please visit the "What's Included" section of the ISA Prague program page.

The "Additional Estimated Expenses" sheet in the "Accepted Students" section of the ISA website has the following estimated expenses listed:

  • Airfare
  • Books & Supplies
  • Meals
  • Passport (new/renewal)
  • Student Visa (if applicable)
  • Personal Travel

ISIC Card

It is recommended that students look into purchasing an ISIC card for their studies in Prague. The ISIC card is an internationally recognized student ID card that gives students thousands of discounts worldwide from travel to cinema, meals and more. While you will likely have a student ID from your host university abroad, it may not grant you discounts that an ISIC card could. You will likely be able to purchase an ISIC card abroad, but it is most convenient to purchase this card BEFORE you arrive, as it may grant you travel discounts, and you won't have to deal with the hassle of international delivery. To find out how to get an ISIC card, visit www.isic.org. Once there, you can find information on discounts in Prague, and what is needed to obtain an ISIC card.