Now when you got accepted these are the most important things you might want to know. There may be more attractive scholarships, but as a Robitschek scholar you will never be on your own. Whatever problem you might have there will always be people on hand to help you solve them. Don’t worry you are in good hands.
- Where to look for help?
- University of Nebraska
- Lincoln & the Midwest
- U.S. Visa
There are dozens of people you can turn to when you run into problems. Of course former scholars (more than 30 people) can be of help. Also the people who administer the program (Larry, Alan, Jake) can be very helpful. Czech Komensky Club and especially Mila Saskova-Pierce will be more than happy to give an advice. Staff at the International Affairs can be quite helpfull as well.
TIP: don’t forget to mention you are Czech quite often. You will be surprised how many people will love to talk to somebody from the land of their parents.
The University of Nebraska in Lincoln (UNL) is a very good university. Although it is not as old as for example Charles University its worldwide ranking is very high. It belongs among top 100 universities in the U.S. according to U.S. & World Report 2006 .
Regardless of what one might think about ranking systems some courses are better than others. UNL agriculture courses are on the top worldwide. Journalism school has a good reputation and in 2004 a collaborative student project was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Professor of English Ted Koser won the Pulitzer for his poetry book in 2005.
Famous alumni you might have heard of were for example: Warren Buffet (now 2nd richest man), Johny Carson (former host of The Tonight Show on NBC) or general John Pershing (the only man with George Washington to be awarded General of the Armies rank).
Lincoln is a small college town right in the middle of the U.S. Although it has population above 200 000 it feels much smaller. It definitely feels smaller than Hradec Kralove or even Liberec for example. This does not mean that there is nothing to do, but you should not expect Lincoln to be booming metropolitan city. It does have a special village feeling when cargo trains squeek throughout the night and it feels very empty when students leave for vacation.
On the bright side you will quickly get to known all the local venues and will feel as a local after a very short period of time. Whenever hanging out you will almost always run into people you know.
If you are interested in how most of Americans live and what they value then Lincoln is the place to be. This is the true heartland of America. Being in Lincoln enables you to learn things that even many Americans from large cities don’t understand.
You might think that its position right in the middle of the country makes it a great base for traveling. Distances are huge and air-transport is prefered way of travel. Unfortunately neither Lincoln or Omaha offer too many cheap flights.
You will need to apply for the visa at the U.S. Embassy in Prague. Your visa will be J-1 category and not F as you might expect. This means you will not qualify for simplified student procedure and will need to go through slower process. However J-1 visa is more flexible in terms of getting an internship of up to 1 year after you finish your studies in Nebraska.
The steps for the visa application are described in Czech at the Embassy’s website.
Before you start applying you need to wait for forms from the University. Nobody can guarantee you will get the visa, but since the scholarship covers almost everything you should not worry about not getting it.
Your visa will be initially valid for 12 months, but you under certain circumstances this can be easily extended to up to 24 months. See Questions section for more details.
If you have not done so already, check what courses are available. The great tool called NU Schedule is available at the university website. You may want to check Undergraduate Bulletin if you need more details on a particular course.
Once you do this it helps to get in touch with professors in your field of study. Let them know who you are and that you are coming. Ask them for their advice on what courses you should take etc. You will be surprised how teachers will be willing to help you.
Some classes you want to enroll in may be full already or may have some extra requirements. Don’t worry about this too much. Whoever teaches the course can give you an override. In which case they fill-in a form and you deliver this form to the registration office.
Great resource is the University Housing website. Students in the past lived in Selleck Halls. There is usually very good mix of international and US students in these halls. It is centrally located and the main dining hall is in the building. Not so pleasant might be the fact that bathrooms and toilets are shared.
You should receive an application for accommodation from the university automatically. Fill it and return it as soon as you can. You can select single room, but most likely you will have to share a room with one other person. It happened before that they placed two Czech students in one room. So in case you do not want this put this in big black letters on the application, because once you get to Nebraska Residence Halls are not very flexible changing rooms during first couple of weeks.
You will be provided with a meal plan which enables you to eat as much as you like in any dining hall on campus. Generally the food is fairly good, but there will be times where you will have had enough of it and will dream of the food your mummy cooked for you back home:)
TIP: There is a cafeteria for athletes in the Memorial Stadium – Lewis Training Table where food tends to be better quality. Although you can still eat there with your plan your card will be blocked for other cafeterias till next meal time.
Reservations is required here (log-in with My.UNL account).
Once you get to Lincoln there will be an orientation which will help you answer many questions you may still have at that time. Besides that you will be able to meet many students who will become your friends. The schedule for the orientation will be available online.