Past Review

By (Cinema and Media Studies, Economics, Wellesley College) for

CET Film Production at FAMU

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
My experience abroad made me even more interested to work in film, especially production. I learned some Czech and a lot about the culture, and overall I had an amazing time and met great people.

Personal Information

If you took classes at multiple universities, list those universities here: FAMU
How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The teaching methods were different from the US, in the sense that Czech professors definitely did not sugar-coat their criticisms. The classes were completely lecture-based, and very few professors offered a syllabus or stuck to it. But they seemed interested in what they were teaching and ready to help. The workload is very different from a traditional institution simply because our main assignment was to make a movie. We were free to work however little we wanted, but we did have to present our story twice a week, and develop it each time. The two weeks before shooting began were very intense, but once again, we were free to divide the work however we wanted.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The program was great in leaving us alone if we wanted it to and yet being there when we needed help. The program is run by both Czech and American people, so they had both a knowledge of Czech culture and of American higher education. They were very helpful with everything, though it was sometimes necessary to nudge them a couple of times before things got done. The program was pretty small, 55 students total, 35 in film. The size was just great because it was small enough that we could all hang out if we felt like it, but I still got to meet people until the very end. My expectations were met.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Praha 2, steps away from Karlovo Namesti. I shared a room with another girl, and the apartment with her and 3 guys who shared a room. The apartment had a living room, small kitchen, bathroom, entry way, and 2 bedrooms. Clean and well thought-out, although somewhat bare. The landlord was great, and everyone in the building was young and fun. The neighborhood was great, with access to numerous trams and to the subway, and walking distance from the center. <br /><br /> The neighborhood was great, with affordable restaurants, not far from the center of Prague and great nightlife, and walking distance from our school. The apartment had a living room, small kitchen, bathroom, entry way, and 2 bedrooms. Clean and well thought-out, although somewhat bare. I didn't need to buy anything.

* Food:

We bought and cooked our own food.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The nighlife is amazing, even though there is a lot of Americans and tourists. There is art everywhere, in countless museums but also in the form of sculptures throughout the city. There is a real cafe culture, and just sitting around with friends, or reading a book and doing work is fun. The program organized a mandatory trip to Cesky Krumlov, and free trips to Kutna Hora and Terezin, among others. They were fun.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

The city is pretty safe, if you stay out of the bad areas, as in every city. The program made sure we had an insurance card and a list of English-speaking doctors, but I don't think anyone had any use of them. The local healthcare is certainly better than in the US, in the sense that they won't turn you out if you don't have insurance in the Czech Republic. I did not need specific vaccines to study abroad in the Czech Republic.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I didn't keep track exactly, but about $10-$20 a day, depending where I hate and where I was going out that night. A few students on the program made a point on living on $10 or less a day, and they were fine. Life is cheaper in the Czech Republic, esp. if one cooks, but we all went out a lot and it added up.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? None.


How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? If a student is trying to make a film, this is a great program, because it enables one to do just though while still experiencing the city and have fun. But we did have way more work than most study abroad programs, did not have spring break, and were not able to travel as much as most people. But it was really fun, I learned a lot, and I would do it again any time.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Film Technology and Practice

Course Department: FP 510
Instructor: various
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This course comprehend different classes: directing & scriptwriting, screenplay writing, camera tools, camera technology, acting, sound, and editing, taught by different professors. Overall, it gave us a broad knowledge of filmmaking and proved very useful in preparing us to shoot our short films. The classes depended on the professor, but overall, I found them eager to help and knowledgeable, though because of the language barrier it was sometimes difficult to follow everything that was going on. I also wish we had learned more about lighting.
Credit Transfer Issues: No.
Course Name/Rating:

Central European Cinema

Course Department: N/A
Instructor: Daniel Duta
Instruction Language: English
Comments: The course offered an overview of Central European Cinemas, incl. Czech, Hungarian, Romanian, Slovak, Polish cinemas. The workload wasn't especially demanding, but Prof. Duta was very knowledgeable and kept the lectures entertaining. He choose entertaining but representative films for the screenings.
Credit Transfer Issues: No.
Course Name/Rating:

Practical Analysis: Directing

Course Department: N/A
Instructor: Pavel Marek
Instruction Language: English
Comments: We watched feature-length and short films from a different director each week, both American and European, and commented on their directing style. The choice of directors was interesting. The workload was very manageable.
Credit Transfer Issues: Yes. Wellesley credit but not for Cinema and Media Studies major. Issue not resolved yet.
Course Name/Rating:

CE 100

Course Department: Czech Language and Culture
Instructor: Ilona Koranova
Instruction Language: English/Czech
Comments: The course, which comprehend a week of intensive Czech and then a few hours of Czech a week was very helpful in giving me the basics to interact with locals. It was a pretty fun class, and not very demanding.
Credit Transfer Issues: No.