The city can't be beat, the program can Past Review

By (Brandeis University) - abroad from 01/29/2019 to 05/12/2019 with

CIEE: Prague - Central European Studies

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I became way more independent, adaptable, and resilient. I gained valuable travel skills and an amazing, humbling perspective on my place in the world as an American. Prague was full of exciting, affordable cultural experiences and was perfectly situated for travel. I learned a lot about European history, Czech history and the role of communism in world history.

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.

Academics were easy compared to my home school and were certainly not the main focus for many students. However, all of my professors were very friendly and approachable and I really enjoyed the class material. The program's Central European Studies program was a really unique, valuable addition to my time abroad.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The administration was pretty lax and not overly helpful.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My actual apartment was spacious, in a great location and modern. However, the program seemed to put absolutely no thought into housing. I had nothing in common with my roommates and my living arrangement was difficult to navigate.

* Food:

I was cooking for myself in my apartment.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Coming from a small liberal arts school, the students on this program were very different than those at home. They cared little about cultural immersion and experiencing new things. Czech people are also difficult to meet, so I did not make any Czech friends besides my Czech Buddy roommate.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I only went to a doctor once, which was easy because I had a Czech roommate who made the appointment for me. Although the program requires you to pick up their insurance, I had to pay for services out of pocket then try to bill my home insurance first. My paperwork to bill my home insurance got lost during my move home so I still haven't finished the process or gotten reimbursed. The process is a bit complicated.

* Safety:

Many people wouldn't expect it but Prague is an incredibly safe city! I never had an issue and usually felt more safe than in cities I know well back home.

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

It's hard to know, since my school only approved two programs in Prague. I know the other program had similar difficulties. I would have done another program if there was one in Prague that had a more likeminded student body, built in travel and more support for cultural immersion.


* 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)

In terms of European cities, you cannot get more bang for your buck than Prague. I had so much more purchasing power than my friends in other cities. I could never afford the lifestyle I had in Prague back in the states, it was amazing!


* 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

We took Survival Czech during orientation but barely anyone used it.

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? None
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? None
How many hours per day did you use the language?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
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?
  • The city
  • The Central European studies
  • The locations of apartments and the school
* What could be improved?
  • Administration
  • Housing
  • Travel breaks or built in travel
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That the program revolves around students who don't care about the culture or education; that there was no built in travel or spring breaks; that it was an unusually short program

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 Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'