1. Host institution and exact dates of semester abroad

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1 Erasmus Report Bratislava First Semester 2014/2015 University of Groningen Jan Edwin Meijer S A General report 1. Host institution and exact dates of semester abroad Comenius University Bratislava / Univerzita Komenského v Bratislave Faculty of Management Contact with home faculty, preparation and journey Contact with the University of Groningen The contact with my home faculty was good. The preparations were not difficult. The University of Groningen has a clear sign-up process for the study abroad part of your study. Everything can be done via internet, and if you don t understand something the student support desk is willing to help gladly. Also during my stay in Bratislava the contact with the home faculty was good. I had to change my learning agreement twice and this was done in only a few s. Preparations before going to Bratislava The preparation (i.e. the documents exchange with Bratislava) was not difficult either, only it took quite some time. They want you to send the application not only digital, but also by post. This takes quite some time to be delivered from Groningen to Bratislava. Also, 160 has to be transferred for the deposit of the dormitory (not required, but really recommended to live in the dormitory) and international student card (ISIC) which costs 16. Journey to Bratislava and journey back home For the journey we travelled from Rotterdam to Vienna by plane. Because of our flight times, we had to stay in a hostel for one night in Vienna. The next day we took the train ( 15 for a return ticket) to Bratislava, where someone from ESN was waiting to pick us up. When we went home we took a plane from Budapest (first two hours in a train from Bratislava) to Eindhoven. For Slovakia a VISA or residence permit is not necessary.

2 3. Residence abroad Dormitory I lived in the Atriaky dormitory, located in Stare Grunty 36. It is a small unofficial student village. Spread over multiple buildings, around students live in Atriaky and Sturak. All Erasmus students were put together in one building (Atriaky C block). I arranged the accommodation before I arrived through the website of the university. The rooms are not great, neither are the facilities. Almost all rooms are rooms for three people, but big enough to live in with three people. The rent is 47 a month, the rent for the whole period (6 months) has to be paid upon arrival. The kitchen was shared with the entire floor (around 20 rooms with 3 people each). It had 2 stoves, a sink and a table. Each floor had 2 showers and 4 toilets, equally separated for men and woman. On one hand, the dormitory wasn t really good because of the facilities, rooms with 3 people and most of the time it was quite dirty, yet on the other hand you will always have all your friends around you since all Erasmus live in 1 block. This makes for a nice atmosphere all the time. I would definitely recommend living in the dormitory. Dormitory area Around the dormitory there were a few restaurants, grocery stores, clubs and many more facilities. Inside the big building of the area (Sturak) there was a club, a bar, a restaurant, a shisha bar, a food shop and places to study. 4. Grant Erasmus grant amount By the time I m writing this review, I haven t received the remaining 30% of my Erasmus grant, so I can t name the exact amount of money that I will receive. I received 70% somewhere in November, because I failed to deliver a small part of one form. This was 450. Note: it s not exact 70% what you receive the first time. It is calculated afterwards by how many days one has spent abroad. Also one can swap the StudentenOV-kaart for another grant of 100 each month as long as one is studying abroad. Also, when studying abroad the studiefinanciering continues.

3 Spending money The daily life in Bratislava (and Slovakia in general) is a lot cheaper than in the Netherlands. However, because of this, I was spending money much easier on stuff for partying and traveling. Bratislava is great for traveling; it is very close with trains to Vienna, Budapest, Brno and Prague. 5. Study (general) For me the study was not difficult at all. The beginning of the courses with lectures and seminars were at September 20 and ended at December 19. The exams were hosted in the middle and end of January. I took a total of six courses at the university; Bond analysis, Investment analysis, Entrepreneurship, Money and banking, Project management and a Slovak language course. I will go into more detail about the courses in part B of this review. Also for me, the courses I attended didn t really matter for me and for the university. I study accountancy & controlling here in Groningen, the study doesn t have a minor included in the study program. Therefore, the Erasmus exchange was not a part of my study. Basically, I could pick any course that I liked in Bratislava, rather than matching it with my study program here in Groningen. Faculty I took all my courses except for one at the faculty of management. It is at the opposite side of the city from the dormitory, but a bus line goes there directly. The journey is around 20 minutes in normal traffic, but sometimes with traffic jams it can take up to 40 minutes, although the teachers are very lenient with not being on time due to traffic issues. I took one course at the faculty of philosophy, located near the main academy building. This faculty was more difficult to reach, since there was no direct bus connection. It took one bus transfer and 10 minutes of walking after that.

4 Language The people at the Comenius University have a sufficient level of English to give decent lectures and seminars. Level of study The level of study however is not comparable to Groningen. Comenius University is ranked the highest of the universities in Slovakia, but the level of study is not even close to Groningen. Confusion In the first two weeks, my schedule changed three times due to courses not being hosted, some others being changed and my own changes in the learning agreement. Also when the exams took place was a little confusing from time to time. 6. Other relevant info you want to share with future exchange students I would recommend to cook for yourselves or go to some (cheaper) restaurants for dinner rather than going to the canteen. The canteen is very cheap (maximum 1.80 for a meal) but the quality is really poor. Near the faculty of management and near the tram stations are Lidls where you can get groceries very cheap. For the most part the same products they sell at Lidl in the Netherlands, yet the price is even cheaper. Also, with the ISIC card one can get many discounts at many places. However, they won t ask for it. You have to know this yourself and show the ISIC card to get a discount. This can save quite some money on for example train rides. 7. Summary impression / advice, suggestions I have had an amazing time during my study abroad. I had a lot of good experiences, I saw a lot of Central Europe and I met a lot of nice people and met new friends. The experience is definitely enhanced by the lower quality of study, which gives you more time to travel, to have fun and to do nice things with other people. For me, education wasn t a priority, meeting new people is. If you re looking for something like that, definitely apply for Erasmus in Bratislava

5 B Specific Report Bond Analysis Comenius University, until No lectures, no seminars and no given literature. This course was organized in a way we re not used to in Groningen. We got an two weeks after the semester started (at first they told us this course wasn t hosted at all) that we had to write four papers on topics related to bonds. Hand it in before the semester ends and that was the whole course. 2 Basic topics on bonds and 2 topics in more advanced topics about bonds. We had to look for the literature ourselves. Not particularly lecture related, but the four papers we had to write was 100% of our grade for the course. Since I do the bachelor Accountancy & Controlling, none of the courses I took here were directly relevant for my study program. Yet, bonds and other finance courses are related to accountancy, so in that way this course was somewhat relevant to my study here in Groningen. In total, I spent around 20 hours writing the four papers. This course is worth 3 ECTS. The teacher for this course was Natalia Zoldakova, however I have never met her because there were no lectures, only contact through . The coordinator of this course was Mr. Šturc.

6 Investment Analysis Comenius University, until This course hosted two hours of lectures and two hours of seminars each week. The lectures started in the first week of study, the week of September 20, as well as the seminars. During the course, we discussed trending topics, because we had no recommended literature. The course was about investment, portfolios and other relevant topics to investing and banking. The lecturer had worked at a Swiss bank for several years, he told us many things about what he did at the bank. We had to make a portfolio at the start of the course, spend a virtual 1 million euro on stocks, bonds or resources. At the end of the course period in the week of December 19, we had to review our portfolios and determine if we had made a profit during the course weeks. Since I do the bachelor Accountancy & Controlling, none of the courses I took here were directly relevant for my study program. Yet, bonds and other finance courses are related to accountancy, so in that way this course was somewhat relevant to my study here in Groningen. We did not have any preparations for the lectures or seminars, so during the class weeks it was just the four hours each week. This course is worth 6 ECTS. The lecturer and coordinator for this course was Mr. Šlahor.

7 Entrepreneurship Comenius University, until This course had two hours of lectures and two hours of seminars each week. First the lecture was hosted, and directly after that the seminar. The literature for this course was: Small Business Management and Entrepreneurship, by David Stokes and Nick Wilson. The lectures started in the first week of study, the week of September 20, as well as the seminars. They ended in the last week of study, the week of December 19. The lectures covered the various topics about setting up a company, to customer orientation. It was a mix between company set-up and marketing. In the first week, we had to make teams in which we would make all the assignments for the course. We had to start a fictional company in the teams. Each week we had to present about our progression and what we did with the company. Some topics were for example a LEAN Canvas model and customer segmentation. None Preparations for the seminars and attending the lectures and seminars took me approximately 8 hours each week. This course is worth 5 ECTS. The lecturers were Mr. Holienka, Mr. Rehák and Mr. Mrva.

8 Money and Banking Comenius University, until This course had two hours of lectures and two hours of seminars each week. First the lecture was hosted, and directly after that the seminar. The lecturer did not give us any literature. What we had to study for this course were the PowerPoint slides he provided. The first few weeks focused on the history of money. After that the topic of the difference between money and currency was taught to us. To finish, the creation of money by banks was taught to us. We had to give a presentation about our National Bank. Every group had to talk about their National Bank, so in the end you know something about almost every National Bank throughout Europe. The grade was made out of the presentation and the final exam. As mentioned before, the presentation was lecture related. Aside to that it was the same setup as Investment Analysis (also the same lecturer) during the seminars, we discussed trending topics, because we had no recommended literature. Since I do the bachelor Accountancy & Controlling, none of the courses I took here were directly relevant for my study program. Yet, bonds and other finance courses are related to accountancy, so in that way this course was somewhat relevant to my study here in Groningen. Around five hours each week, of which four were the lecture and seminar. This course is worth 5 ECTS. The lecturer and coordinator for this course was Mr. Šlahor.

9 Slovak Language Course Comenius University, until This course hosted two lectures/seminars each week. Literature was Krazim Krazom, available at all levels. Since this was the beginners course, we had the A1 version of the book. This book learns beginners Slovak in a childish way, but since I didn t know any Slovak at all, I think this was a good way of learning Slovak. During the introduction week, September 15 to September 20, this class was hosted every day for 4 hours in the morning. After that, we had ten more classes of two hours each. In total it was 40 hours of Slovak Language Course, which ended with the exam early in November. This book contained the very basics of Slovak, illustrated by many pictures. It was taught to us by vocabulary, grammar and sentences for everyday life. All we had to do was prepare the next class with a few assignments, yet this did not take much time each week. Not relevant for me. Four hours each week in lectures/seminars, half an hour of making assignments every week. The lecturer for this course was Zuzana Hargasová, this course is worth 5 ECTS.

10 Project Management Comenius University, until Back to back lectures and seminar for four hours straight. The literature was distributed online through the university online learning environment. For this course, we had to do an exam, write a report and host a presentation. The exam was about the theory of the book. We were allowed to bring the literature with us (book & notes) during the exam. The practical part was about setting up your own project in a team. The written report was about a topic linked to project management, the teacher assigned these topics random to the students. This course contained the basics of project management and working with Microsoft Project Manager (Office). We had no preparations for the classes every week. Though we did have to prepare the report and the presentation for the date you picked. The teacher let us pick ourselves a date when we wanted to present or hand in the report. Not relevant for me. Five hours each week in total, working on assignments, attending lectures and seminars. The lecturer for this course was Michal Gregus, this course is worth 5 ECTS

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