Studying abroad is always a great opportunity! Choosing the right destination can also have a huge impact on how your semester abroad will turn out. Every destination will have its perks and disadvantages, some might be cheaper, have a better student life or offer better travel opportunities. If you are thinking of spending your semester abroad or even your whole study in Bratislava in Slovakia then here are some things to know before studying abroad in Bratislava.
1. If you are under the age of 25 and have you Slovak ISIC student card you can get a free train ticket which lets you travel around Slovakia for free by train. You still have to get tickets online but they will not cost you anything with the free train ticket. So that is great as you can discover other Slovak cities such as Trnava or Košice.
2. It is small enough to always end up at the same place on a night out. There are a few bars and clubs to go out but most of the exchange students will always end up at the same bars and clubs in Bratislava. That is great because you can just go out by yourself as you will definitely run into someone that you know.
3. The dormitories are not the best. There are several dormitories that you could end up in such as Incheba or Mlyny. All of them have some sorts of issues to be honest. I stayed at Incheba and while the rooms where not bad it is just that you are always monitored. You need a key card to leave and enter the building and they keep track on how long you stay out or how many times you went to get the vacuum cleaner?!
4. The bus system in the city is pretty good. All the buses run regularly and it is kind of easy to get around the city. However, sometimes you have to switch busses a couple of times if you want to get somewhere a bit out of the city. But busses are cheap and usually on time.
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5. There were no study rooms or enough plug-ins or even study places in the university. At least not in the University of Economics in Bratislava. And even if there were tables it was not in a quiet area and often there were no plug ins around. Also in the library there were no plug-ins to charge your laptop. I’m not quite sure how people can study on the campus.
6. There are several Universities in Bratislava such as the University of Economics in Bratislava or Cormenius University. There are also several smaller ones. This also means that there are lots of Erasmus students in Bratislava which is great. You will also meet the ones from the other universities.
7. Bratislava is a great starting point to travel to neighbouring countries. It is so close to the borders of Hungary, Austria and the Czech Republic. You can reach Vienna in an hour by bus, Budapest within two and a half hours by train or Prague within four hours. It is also not too expensive to travel in the area or to go on day trips from Bratislava (e.g. bus to Vienna is 5€).
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8. English isn’t widely spoken. In the city centre and the tourist hotspots and restaurants you will usually be fine with English. But in supermarkets no one really speaks English. Especially at the train station when you want to buy a ticket it can be a bit of a struggle.
9. It is cheap to go out but groceries are kind of pricey. Not pricey pricey, but I have been spending more money on groceries in Bratislava than when I was living in Amsterdam!
Mostly I guess because the cheapest supermarket to where I was living was a Billa which is rather pricey but all the discounters were a little too far away. Going out is rather cheap if you know where to go. In some bars you can get beers for 1€ or 1.50€.
11. Most attractions of Bratislava can be seen within a day. Most attractions such as the castle or bridge are located around the old town so you will get familiar with the city really quickly.
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12. Slovak food is good but very heavy there is lot of dairy and meat involved. The traditional dish that you have to try is Halušky which usually are potato dumplings served with sheep cheese and bacon sprinkles.
13. Unlike in for example Serbia it is not allowed to smoke in restaurants but it still allowed to smoke inside most bars. Therefore, most bars will smell like smoke and so will all your clothes once you go inside and so will you. That is something you just have to get used to when in Bratislava.
And here where all the things you should know before studying abroad in Bratislava! Are you thinking of studying abroad in Slovakia? Or have you studied abroad in Bratislava yourself? If you have any more questions, let me know in the comments!
Talk to you later x
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