Bananas, but the good kind of bananas January 19, 2021

By (Middlebury College) - abroad from 09/10/0019 to 12/22/0019 with

CIEE: Prague - Central European Studies

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned a lot about the fall of communism and Central European history including its role in WWII, which is fascinating. I also somewhat learned the language and became more familiar with Czech literature.

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.

This is not a challenging program, but there are some cool academic opportunities to take advantage of and the building is beautiful. Take a Kafka class!

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

They were so kind! They picked me up from the airport and made sure I got checked into my building, and they were always responsive while there.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I had a beautiful, large two-bedroom apartment that I shared with one other girl. Full kitchen, two bathrooms, big living room and TV.

* Food:

Don't expect fresh food. Lots of soup and root veggies.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

People really don't speak English everywhere in Prague, so you'll use your Czech.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I came home sick from a trip once and could easily see the doctor with the CIEE health insurance.

* Safety:

It's pretty safe for women going to bars and clubs, but pickpocketing is a real threat for everybody. Almost everyone had something stolen at some point. My tram pass was taken from my pocket in a bar, but I never lost anything valuable like my phone or passport. Just be careful and it'll be fine.

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

I loved Prague, I loved the kids in my program and I loved CIEE. The classes introduced me to the culture and were rigorous enough that they didn't feel like wastes of time, but the program went out of its way to make sure we could travel and have fun. Lots of flexibility. Prague is cheap, fun, beautiful, has a fascinating history and is central to travel — what more could you want?


* 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)

This is a pretty cheap city. You could eat breakfast, lunch and dinner out and still spend less in a day than your friends in other cities who don't go out at all. Beers are literally cheaper than water.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $150
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Bring a flask with you when you go to bars and clubs.


* 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

Czech is necessary in Prague. You can't get around using 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? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? AP Spanish
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Use it when you go to restaurants and shops.

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
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?
  • Everything to do in the city!
  • The class content
  • The location on top of beautiful Vysherad
* What could be improved?
  • The pickpocketing levels
  • The tram will hit you if you don't get out of its way
  • Czech food is too heavy and not fresh
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had known that in Prague you're supposed to carry your passport everywhere. If you don't have it on you, the police can take you to jail. Quiet hours are from 10pm-6am, so you're legally not allowed to pregame after 10pm. The cops will come and ask for passports. On the up side, pregame culture doesn't exist in Prague because alcohol is so cheap that everyone just goes straight to bars early in the night instead.

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 Outright Urbanite
A social butterfly, you're happiest in bustling cities with hip people, and took advantage of all it had to offer. You enjoyed the nightlife, and had fun going out dancing, and socializing with friends. Fun-loving and dressed to the nines, you enjoyed discovering new restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars in your host country.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

CZEC 1001 PRAG Beginning Czech Language, I

Course Department: LANG
Instruction Language: Czech
Comments: This class was a little challenging because Czech is a very difficult language, but the professors want you to succeed. You also really need Czech to get around Prague, so it's necessary.
Credit Transfer Issues: I did not have trouble.
Course Name/Rating:

POLI 3006 PRAG Central European Politics

Course Department: PSCI
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This course was an average CIEE course in terms of difficulty. Based on exams for which the content is all reviewed and listed in review sessions beforehand, so the classes themselves aren't really necessary to get a good grade in the course.
Credit Transfer Issues: I did not have trouble.
Course Name/Rating:

ANTH 3001 PRAG Anthropology of Czech Society and Culture

Course Department: ANTH
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This class was absolutely fascinating and I wouldn't have gotten nearly as much out of my Czech experience if I hadn't taken it. You learn about Czech culture both pre- and post-communism and take a trip to the Museum of Communism. You also learn about racism, gender issues and domestic life in CZ.
Credit Transfer Issues: I did not have trouble.
Course Name/Rating:

HIST 3003 PRAG Tribal Myths and Traditions of the Czechs

Course Department: HIST
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This is a pretty wack class. It wasn't exactly challenging — the exams are easy — but the classes themselves are not particularly fun. EXCELLENT field trips though, including to the private rooms in the famous Klementinum library (look it up)!
Credit Transfer Issues: I did not have trouble.