Reason you chose this program: I chose to go on the CIEE Prague program because I wanted to go somewhere with a rich, interesting history that is not the typical place to go abroad. It was also important for the program I chose to offer a wide range of classes, including Czech language.
Favorite classes: History of Jews in Central and Eastern Europe, Anthropology of Czech culture
Describe the housing situation: I lived in dorms with other Americans and Czechs only a ten minute walk to our study center (which was located on top of a giant fortress!). Other students lived in apartments and a few lived in homestays.
Best memory: Stepping into the Old Town Square for the first time. Pictures do not do it justice!
Biggest surprise: Communism still has a clear lingering effect on the Czech people and in Prague in general. Experiencing the aftermath was so interesting!
Greatest Challenge: Learning Czech. Czech is a very challenging language to learn, but knowing the basics can help a ton when you are figuring out how to get around. I volunteered at a pre-school once a week, and it was frustrating not being able to communicate with them through words.
Going abroad vs. staying on campus: There will always be another Little 500, homecoming and spring break. You will never get an opportunity to travel and learn in another country except now.
What I wish I knew before I left: Take advantage of every opportunity to immerse yourself in the culture! Studying abroad can completely change your outlook on life and the way you look at other cultures. There is so much to explore and so many people to meet in this world.
What you know now that you didn’t know before going abroad...History is not as far in the past as it can sometimes seem in a textbook. Living in Prague, which was thankfully left untouched during World War II, made me realize how connected the present is to the past.
Fact about your host country that you think people would be most surprised to learn: Even native Czechs who live in Prague get lost within the winding roads of the medieval city!
Advice to future study abroad participants: Walk everywhere! Sure, the trams and subways are an interesting experience, but you see so much more walking. Explore the neighborhoods outside the city center.