Great place for exploring Europe and expanding horizons! Past Review

By (Wellesley College) - abroad from 09/11/2018 to 12/22/2018 with

CIEE: Prague - Central European Studies

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I feel really glad that I chose to study somewhere that was not in Western Europe. It gave me so much perspective on the legacy of the Soviet Union and the political environment in Central and Eastern Europe. It was absolutely the best city ever, and every time I traveled elsewhere I felt lucky to return to Prague after because it's so amazing.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The rigor was not as intense as Wellesley's, but I learned so much outside the classroom. Being abroad wasn't necessarily about having the same academics as Wellesley, it was about having the opportunity to have experiential learning and to take in your surroundings. I had several classes that I really loved and one class that I really hated. The classes that I loved had great professors and lots of opportunities to explore the city I was studying in.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The program was not super well-organized, so I had to figure out a lot of things independently. It definitely teaches you to take initiative.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I chose to live in CIEE-administered apartments, which was definitely the way to go. Everyone in my apartment building was from my program, so if I needed anything I could knock on their door (or go to the top floor where the RA's lived, although they were rarely there). I lived with one roommate in a relatively large apartment, and we had a lot of living space, a laundry machine, a dishwasher, and an oven. It was a really good living arrangement. Plus a cleaning service came every two weeks. The only complaint about the housing was our WiFi, which was terrible.

* Food:

Getting food is pretty cheap in Prague, so I ended up eating many of my meals out. I also cooked a lot, because groceries were affordable. I enjoyed cooking with my friends. Czech food is very hearty and comfort food-y, so I only had that occasionally or if someone was visiting me and wanted to try it.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The program was all American students, but I was glad that I lived in a neighborhood where I could see Czech people around and experience the culture a little more. I loved public transportation for this reason as well. I always tried to use my basic Czech when ordering in restaurants, although the wait staff would usually respond in English anyways. I would recommend taking a class at Charles University, which gave me the chance to explore the city a little more and see a different part of it while being actually enrolled at a Czech university. The classes offered by Charles to CIEE students are taught in English.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

The absences policy was very strict and didn't account for people being ill, so if you got sick your grade would definitely decrease. People for this reason felt pressured to go to class when they definitely should have stayed home.

* Safety:

Keep an eye out for pickpockets in major tourist areas, and stay alert when you have a drink in your hand. These are concerns I'd give to anyone anywhere, and other than that it is a very safe city.

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

There were a lot of programs in Prague, but not a lot of them were offered through Wellesley. I think I would choose CIEE again, not because it's the best program out there, but because I really liked its location and my professors. I met some great people through the program who I feel fortunate to have met. I'm glad I chose a larger program rather than a smaller one, because I met people from all over.


* 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)


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

If you took Czech as a language course, the encouraged you to use it when you could. But Prague is a very English-friendly city.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Beginner
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Duolingo.

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

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Professors: I really liked some of my professors and felt that I learned a lot from them.
  • Location: Both that of the program itself (the academic building was in one of Prague's oldest sections) and the location of Prague itself. I could travel by train almost anywhere for cheap.
* What could be improved?
  • Academic policies: The program is relatively easy overall in terms of academics, but they have weirdly strict rules about attendance. For example, someone I knew had to go home mid-program for a few days to attend a funeral, and they wouldn't excuse her absences. That seems crazy to me.
  • Communication: My RAs were so unhelpful with everything, and the administrative staff were pretty disconnected from the students. I didn't know who to go to if I had any questions about anything.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had known more about how to add money to my SIM card so I didn't get unnecessary charges--I wasted a lot of money when I didn't understand the plan I signed up for.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Czech Art in the Age of the Internet

Course Department:
Instructor: Bidlasová
Instruction Language: English
Comments: I would recommend this course to anyone looking to study modern art. There is also a modern art survey course offered, but this is much more interesting and you get a lot of the same background knowledge. I loved getting to learn about Czech artists specifically, and it gave me a lot of perspective of how the Soviet Union (and the rest of the Czech Republic's political history) affected the arts. There are so many great field trips and the professor is super kind and passionate about what she is teaching. I loved this course!
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Communism and Nazism Reflected in the Arts

Course Department:
Instructor: Pajerová
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Monika Pajerová is an amazing professor because she is one of the kindest people in the world as well as an incredible resource for international affairs information. She was one of the primary student leaders in the 1989 uprisings in Prague, which led to the fall of the Soviet Union. She has so many amazing stories about her time in the student resistance movement, and these stories made this course one of my favorites. The course material is relatively easy, but the films we watched were all really interesting. I would recommend this course for Monika alone. She is such a unique resource.
Credit Transfer Issues: