Foreign students in Prague are innovating Covid solutions with a global impact

The pandemic has created hands-on learning opportunities for students from abroad, says the Study in Prague consortium of universities.

Expats.cz

Written by Expats.cz
Published on 19.05.2021 15:06 (updated on 20.05.2021)

While universities across Prague switched to distance learning last year due to the pandemic, foreign students are still seeking out English-taught degree programs in the Czech Republic.

New data from the Ministry of Education shows that while there were fewer Erasmus students in the Czech Republic last year, the number of foreign students studying full-time degrees grew by more than 8 percent and 17 percent of all students are international students.

"There is still great interest in attending Prague universities, many of which are still accepting students," said Andrea Petránková from Prague University of Economics and Business, one of seven schools that make up the Study in Prague consortium.

"We also noticed a growth in numbers of students attending English-language courses who came from Asia or Latin America, so the Czech language study opportunity is likely not the whole story," said Petránková.

7 schools, 1 mission: helping students achieve during a global crisis

The Study in Prague initiative comprises some of the Czech capital's most prestigious academic institutions; representatives from its universities confirm that students coming from abroad are not only successfully adapting to a new blended model of learning but contributing solutions to the Covid crisis.

Study in Prague acts as a resource that helps foreign students find the best academic fit for their studies in the Czech capital, among a diverse offering of available degree programs from its member institutions Charles University, Czech Technical University in Prague, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Prague University of Economics and Business, University of Chemistry and Technology Prague, Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague and Academy of Performing Arts in Prague

Study In Prague covid test UK Karlova Universita
Administering Covid tests at Charles University.

In the absence of a traditional experience, leaders from the universities that comprise Study in Prague say the pandemic has created hands-on learning opportunities with a far-reaching global impact.

“What’s really remarkable isn’t just that students are rising to the challenge of distance learning,” said Erika Lahka, Internationalization Project Manager at CTU in Prague, “but that they are contributing solutions to the COVID crisis while getting an education.”

Study in Prague has proven an important hub over the past year for international students who want to know their options by keeping them updated on application deadlines and extensions, visa processes, distance learning protocol, and the Czech Republic’s anti-Covid restrictions.

From 3D masks to mobile apps, students innovated Covid solutions

From the start of the pandemic through its subsequent waves Study in Prague's international student communities were involved, alongside Czech students, with important work that continues to aid the detection, and prevention of Covid.

The Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague designed a protective mask printed on a 3D printer, produced its own disinfection, and launched a unique AGROPRACE portal, which served to replace missing labor in the agricultural and food sector during the pandemic.

Czech Technical University in Prague developed (in collaboration with the COVMASK working group) 30,000 full-face masks for front-line physicians, as well as a completely new prototype of 3D printed CIIRC RP95 respirator and CoroVent, an open-source lung ventilator.

Online hackathon with students from Czech Technical University, photo via Study in Prague
Online hackathon with students from Czech Technical University, photo via Study in Prague.

The Faculty of Information Technology at CTU together with other partners co-organized the first student hackathon, UniHack, which also covered healthcare themes.

Students from the Center for Artificial Intelligence of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering of the Czech Technical University fought against coronavirus infection by launching the FreMEn contra Covid project. Its output is the unique Nebojsa application, which advises people when to avoid queues in shops or crowded parks.

At the Faculty of Nuclear Sciences and Physical Engineering, international students were involved in the production of more than 110,000 liters of anti-Covid disinfection at the beginning of the pandemic, which was later distributed to public-benefit organizations.

From the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, Charles University offered its laboratories to help with testing the coronavirus samples; CU also contributed to creating a Covid-19 mobile app and researchers from the 1st Medical Faculty of Charles University together with the private sector firms developed a rapid test for distinguishing flu from Covid-19.

The medical students of Charles University are still being called upon to help in Czech hospitals and testing centers at a time when such facilities were reaching critical capacities, while the students of pedagogy help voluntarily to take care of the children of the nurses and doctors who are in the frontline in fighting the pandemic.

Researchers from the University of Chemical Technology, Prague have developed, in cooperation with the Prague Water Supply and Sewage utility (PVK), a new analytical method for determining the amount of Covid dispersed in wastewater which enables early detection of epidemic outbreaks and makes it possible to monitor the spread of new mutations.

It wasn't just the sciences that found solutions to the Covid crisis. HAMU, the Music and Dance Faculty of Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, in cooperation with CESNET were awarded the European Prize for Cultural Heritage Europa Nostra 2020 for creating technology enabling musicians to play together over long distances with just a few milliseconds delay.

Student concert of the AMU Music and Dance Faculty
Student concert of the HAMU Music and Dance Faculty.

Students of UMPRUM art school devoted their free time to sewing 19,000 masks and creating protective shields. Students also created protective shields for paramedics and pioneered unique shields to fit smaller-featured women using skills learned in their 3D printing and a laser workshop. 

Prague will remain an evergreen city for students

Hana Šťastná, head of public relations at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague believes that, no matter what lies ahead, the Czech capital will remain a popular study destination for foreigners.

"Prague is a student-friendly city, local universities are distinguished and internationally recognized. The university study programs in English are high quality, but in comparison with other European countries they are also affordable.” 

Students at the Prague University of Economics and Business
Students at the Prague University of Economics and Business.

Šťastná believes that the academic quality of the institutions that make up the Study In Prague project is on par with respected institutions in Great Britain, Germany or France -- with a much lower price tag.

As Prague's universities and its students adapt to the new world of virtual open days and enrollment, and online lectures, and hybrid learning, Study in Prague will remain a vital resource for important updates, tips, and recommendations about the benefits of getting an education in the Czech capital.

This article was written in association with Study in Prague a consortium of seven elite universities in the Czech capital offering a wide range of study programs in international business, mathematics, food, agriculture, art, film, photography, design, architecture, journalism, medicine, sociology, and much more. Many of the individual faculties offer financial support for students from abroad. Read more about our partner content policies see here.

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