The value of earning an American degree in Prague

When I’m speaking about what I do, I’m often simply asked “What’s the value of the SUNY Empire State College degree in Prague (or any location outside the United States)”?  Why would any student want to commit to all that work and a longer completion time? The SUNY ESC degree takes four years instead of the three years that the European degree takes—what happens in that extra year?  These important questions take on even more urgency in a time when we are all critical consumers: what is the immediate, and long-term, return on that extra investment?  Just how much is that American degree worth?

Students earning the SUNY Empire State College degree in Prague are part of something big—as well as something very personal.  They’ve taken the ethos, “Think globally, act locally” to heart.  State University of New York is the largest public university system in the United States—that means that if you’re earning your degree in Prague this June, you’ll be joined by 96,000 other graduates.  Last year alone, the SUNY system spent $1.2 billion on research.  ESC is one of 64 institutions across New York State. These numbers are staggering, and so too is the quality of the education we deliver (check out for even more SUNY data).  Empire State College has been educating students outside the U.S. since 1972—almost fifty years! We’ve been proud partners with University of New York Prague for  more than twenty years.  But how does all this translate to the student experience in Prague?  How does SUNY in New York really impact you? 

We’re united in a commitment to bringing the ESC degree to you: the motivated student, no matter where you live, or what your background might be. 

We care about our students in ways that are part of our mission, part of how we think, and certainly, how we teach.  We bring the collective name recognition and history of SUNY to you.  Every ESC student works hand-in-hand with a faculty mentor.  The mentor is more than an academic advisor who checks over your course schedule and makes sure that your GPA is above 2.0.  The ESC mentor is a guide, a trusted partner in your education—someone who cares about your life in school and your goals for life after you earn your degree.  Our faculty are as diverse as the United States itself: there is no single professional profile or research pedigree we value more than another—excellence in teaching is the common ground. 

We’re unique because we’re united in a commitment to bringing the ESC degree to you: the motivated student, no matter where you live, or what your background might be.  Our team of faculty travels from New York, Maryland, Israel, and sometimes even the Caribbean to meet students in Prague every term.  Faculty teach on-site, meet mentees at coffee shops to chat about research and hold special group discussions and lectures.  We don’t see distance as an obstacle but as a teachable moment: what job in 2019 doesn’t require remote communication, cross-cultural skills and the ability to flexibly, seamlessly respond to demands in another time zone?  Our students do all this during the course of one semester, and we believe that it prepares you for the global work force. 

We also believe in the power of good preparation across all areas of learning.  The general education requirements for each student span the Humanities, Arts, Natural Science, Other World Civilizations, Foreign Languages, Communication, Mathematics, American History and Western Civilization. At SUNY ESC, no graduate leaves our institution without the demonstrated ability to think critically and learn across a wide range of areas.  We know that you are the center of creative thought and academic inquiry that matters, and we value your own perspective and opinions. Our courses require project- based learning and high-level group exchanges.  This makes the way we teach different, and adds value to our graduates. Simply stated, a European finance major who speaks five languages, has a solid grounding in history, collaboratively engages with a team, and knows how to communicate effectively with people across the globe will be much more likely to land her first job.  That same graduate will also advance in her career and will possess the competitive advantage to transition across multiple industries over time, with ease. If you’re looking to move on to a graduate degree and wonder if the SUNY ESC degree will translate to entrance into U.S. and Canadian schools, as well as universities across Europe like London School of Economics, just ask an alum.  Our graduates are resilient leaders who are the best global ambassadors for our program.   I encourage you to stop into the ESC office, make an appointment with Dr. Aird and explore how you too might be a part of something big, an education that will challenge you to think, to act, and to grow.   

Written by: Francesca A. Cichello

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