Do all the Erasmus students stay at the same dormitory?
Most of the foreign and Erasmus students are usually accommodated together in a student dormitory ŠD 3 at Tajovského street 51, Banská Bystrica, 97401.
When can a foreign student check-in into the dormitory?
The checking-in for winter semester (beginning on the 1st of September each year) starts on the 2.9., while for the summer semester you can come anytime during January. Also, when it comes to the summer semester which starts in February, it is advisable for the foreign students to come at the beginning of February, since it happened a few times that we had problems with accommodating new incoming students. There were still some students from the previous semester who wanted to stay as long as possible. Just don´t forget to tell your buddy the exact date of your arrival (when you will already know it), as it will be the person to help you with accommodation, administration and many other issues.
When does the semester start and finish?
For the academic year 2016/2017, the winter semester starts on Monday 19th of September 2016. Lectures are given till 17th December 2016. The exam period starts officially on the 2.1.2017 and the whole semester ends on the 4.2.2017, when the exam period also ends, but sometimes it is possible to finish all the exams even before Christmas. In the summer semester, the lectures are given from Monday the 6th of February 2017 until the 6th of May 2017. The exam period starts on the 22.5. and lasts until 24.6.2017.
What types of rooms are available and how much do they cost?
There are either single bed rooms, which cost 61€ per month or 3-bed rooms, which cost 54€ per month. One single room and one 3-beds room share a bathroom and a toilet.
Will I get a single room when I ask for it?
There are single bed rooms and 3beds rooms available in the dormitory, but demand for single bed rooms is much higher than the actual number of available single bed rooms. It can happen that you will be sharing a room with two other people even though you have asked for single bed room in application. Unfortunately, we cannot assure which type of room you will get.
Shall we pay for accommodation in advance?
No. You will pay in cash after you check-in with the dormitory supervisor. You will pay for the first 4 months (Sep - Dec) at once. For single bed room it is 244€ and for 3-bed room it is 216€. For January in winter semester and June in summer semester you wil pay only if you decide to stay. Students staying for the whole year will pay the other 5 months (Jan - May) in February, again, at once. For checking-in bring also 2 photos of your face in a passport format for a dormitory card. It does not matter when during the month will you come, you will be asked to pay for the whole month.
Are there any additional fees?
If you bring with you any electrical appliances, such as a laptop, a kettle, a toaster, etc. you will be asked to pay during the semester (usually October). For laptop you will pay around 1,50 € per month. Usage of your hairdryer or iron is free of charge. It is srictly forbiden to use your own electric heaters or cookers in your room, only because the wiring of the building is old and could cause a short circuit.
What is the equipment of the room?
There is a bed, a wardrobe, a shelf, a table and a chair for each student in the room. Everyone will get a pillow, a duvet and beddings as well when checking in. If you want to, you can even get a reading lamp and an additional blanket. Each room has a balcony as well. There is a socket for internet connection in each room but that means you need to bring your own LAN cable as there is no wi-fi in the dormitory rooms.
What about bathrooms?
Four people share a bathroom and a toilet. Shampoos, shower gels, toillet paper, etc. are not provided. Cleaning ladies clean the bathrooms as well as your room once a week.
Is there a kitchen in the dormitory? How it is equipped?
Yes, each floor has its own, that is, about 16 people share one kitchen. You will find that there is a table, chairs, a fridge with little freezer, a sink, a cupboard and a cooker. There are no pots, plates, cups, cutlery, etc.
Can I wash my clothes anywhere?
There are two washing mashines in the dormitory that students can use. For usual washing programme you will pay 2€ but you have to pay this price in 50 cent coins. That is the reason why 50 cent coins have a special value for our foreign students :) Instructions say that you do not need to use your washing powder, it will be added automatically.
Is there an internet connection in the rooms and dormitory? What about computers?
Yes, you have internet in your room, though you will need a LAN cable to connect. You will need to set up the network options in your computer (the instructions are in Slovak here https://lms2.umb.sk/course/view.php?id=58 below the bright yellow notice – it depends on which OS are you using). You will also need a login and a password, which you will be given by your Erasmus coordinator here at UMB once they set up your account in our Academic Information system (AIS). There is a WiFi connection on the main corridor of the dormitory and in the buildings of all the faculties, for which you will use the same login and a password from the AIS. You can always ask a buddy that lives in the dormitory to set it all up for you. Also, you will find common computers for students in corridors of faculties and in the main library that is located in the building at Tajovského 51 (on the way to the dormitory).
What are the options for eating? Is there a canteen?
Yes, right on the opposite of the dormitory building is another building in which you will find a big hall – that is the canteen where you can get a lunch or a dinner for 1,74 €! Welcome to the low-cost Slovakia! If you want to use the canteen you will need to get issued a special card for it or a Slovak ISIC.
Is an ISIC from my home country valid in Slovakia?
Yes, but only for ISIC discounts. State discounts for travelling and other functions of university ISIC issued in Slovakia can be provided only for multifunctional chip card issued by a university. ISIC issued in other country (not in Slovakia) does not have a chip, so it is not possible to use it for buses and trains, but you still can get ISIC discounts in shops, ski resorts etc. We strongly recommend you to buy a Slovak ISIC issued by the university because it will make your life much easier and you will have the same advantages as Slovak students. You will get a 50% discount for travelling, free travelling by train around the whole Slovakia (there are certain conditions, but basically – it´s FREE!), you can use it as a bus card, a canteen card, as a library card, etc. :)
How much will I pay for a Slovak ISIC with a chip?
If you already have an ISIC from your home country, it will cost you 13 €, because you already have an ISIC license. If you do not have an ISIC from your home country, it will cost you around 20€.
Will I get a buddy?
Of course, every student will be assigned a buddy. Buddy is a Slovak student who will help you before, during and after your mobility. If you did not get one by the time you arrive in Slovakia, contact ESN UMB on firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is the weather like in Banská Bystrica?
You can experience everything in Banská Bystrica when it comes to weather (and not weather only) – hot as well as cold days. The beginning of winter semester and end of summer semester can be really hot. Autumn is usually rainy, windy and foggy, as the city is located in a valley. There are lot of mountains around. On average, the temperature oscillates around 10°C. Snow in December is not always guaranteed, but in January and February you will enjoy a lot of it for sure. Temperatures usualy change from freezing -10°C to warmer +5°C. Sometimes it rains and snows at the same time and on other occasions it just rains. The spring starts in the end of March and it means the weather varies from nice sunny 12°C to colder rainy days, but the temperatures increase gradually with the months. In May, the weather is usually already stable and can be quite hot.
What are some prices for the basic groceries?
bread 1kg - 1 €
butter 250g - 2,50 €
milk 1l - 0,60 €
tomatoes 1kg - 0,80 €
apples 1kg - 0,70 €
beer 0,5l - 1€ in a pub, from 0,5 € to 0,7 € in a grocery store (That´s something, isn´t it? Cheaper than water, as they say.)
Taxi - from 1,50€ for shorter distances to 5€ in whole city
Prices of clothes, drugstore or electronics are similar to western Europe.
You can also try http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/comparison.jsp for comparing the costs of living.
If you have any other questions, do not hesitate to ask your buddy :)