You can study for FREE in the Czech Republic. Here’s how

Words by

Digital Reporter

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart had Joseph Haydn. Marilyn Monroe had Ella Fitzgerald. Matt Damon has Ben Affleck. And Jose Rizal found a BFF in Ferdinand Blumenttrit. Though the two only met briefly during Rizal’s studies in Europe and most of their correspondences have been through letters, he found in the Prague‑born gentleman a lifelong advisor, confidant and friend.

And who knows? Maybe you’ll find your BFF (if you haven’t already) in the Czech Republic, which has opened many of its universities to Filipinos students. Five of its universities took part in the one‑day 2017 European Higher Education Fair (EHEF) last October 18 at Shangri‑la Plaza: Czech University of Life Sciences PragueMasaryk UniversityMendel University in BrnoUniversity of Chemistry and Technology Prague, and University of West Bohemia. If you weren’t there, don’t worry. SparkUp spoke to the highest representative of the Czech Republic in the Philippines, Ambassador Jaroslav Olša, Jr., on what makes their country a great place to study for Filipinos.

“For us, the Philippines is an important country. We want to have more students and more exchanges,” Amb. Olša told SparkUp. Most of the exchanges, he explained, happens in the field of life sciences—agriculture, botany and zoology. “Philippines is one of the rare countries with real diversity, and the Czech universities are interested in studying this diversity and also helping local universities to create their technical possibilities.”

Life sciences may be the prime focus of Philippine‑Czech educational exchanges, but their universities also offer various courses in the humanities, mathematics, history, and the like. According to the ambassador, our Southeast Asian neighbours, the Malysians, have been sending several medicine students to the Czech Republic because they found out that studying there is cheaper than in the United Kingdom or in the United States but with the same quality of education.

Amb. Olša added that there are currently several programs between Czech universities and Philippine universities, including Ateneo de Manila, University of the Philippines, Ateneo de Naga, University of St. La Salle in Bacolod, and the Visayas State University.

The Czech Republic’s highest ranking diplomat to the Philippines (both literally and figuratively, as he is very tall) gave three main advantages to choosing his country as your next study destination: a long tradition of university education, low cost of living, and the glory of living in the historic heart of Europe. The Czech Republic’s highest ranking diplomat to the Philippines (both literally and figuratively, as he is very tall) gave three main advantages to choosing his country as your next study destination: a long tradition of university education, low cost of living, and the glory of living in the historic heart of Europe.




In education, Amb. Olša cited the Charles University in Prague, the first university in Central Europe, which was established in the 14th Century. “Our universities have very good quality education traditionally,” he said.

As for the costs, Amb. Olša said that the cost of living in Central Europe in general is lower in comparison to more popular European destinations like Germany, the United Kingdom and France. “There is an even more interesting advantage,” he added, with an extra glint in his smile. “If a student invests in a one‑year intensive course in Czech (the language), and you take your studies in Czech, then even if you are a Filipino you can study free‑of‑charge. You have to invest and learn the language. If you learn the language then you don’t have to pay a fee in any course.” He was quick to add that Czech universities also offer courses taught in English, but those won’t be for free.

“Third, I would say quite a big advantage is the beauty of our country,” Amb. Olša said. “Prague and the Czech Republic is the historic heart of Europe. We have beautiful medieval castles, wonderful Baroque churches, we have the Sto. Niño of Prague. And there are so many beautiful things that you can enjoy on your spare time on weekends.”

He also cited the results of the 2016 Global Peace Index which ranked the Czech Republic as the sixth safest place to live in. And while he did not cite the country’s reputation for excellent beer (why else would Pilsen be named after a Czech city in the Western Bohemia region) and being the birthplace of robots (early 20th century writer Karel Ćapek first used the term in his play Rossum’s Universal Robots), a quick visit to the Czech Embassy in Manila’s Facebook page will tell you more.

Despite the many differences between our countries—the climate, the culture, the people—the core of our cultures has one key similarity: Christianity. “Our history has intertwined many times,” he said. “There’s quite a big group of Czech Jesuit missionaries came to Manila and the Philippines during the 17th and 18th century. Another connection is you know the best friend of Jose Rizal was Fernand Blumentritt. He was from a small city one hour by car from Prague. There are many things which connects us and also there’s an increasing group of Filipinos living in our country.”


For more information on how to study in the Czech Republic, check out the official website of the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Manila. You can also get a head start on studying the Czech language with “Wika at Kulturang Tsek Para sa Mga Pilipino,” a free e-book that you can download from the Embassy website.



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