The greatest 4 months of my life. June 06, 2016

By (Middlebury College) - abroad from 02/08/2016 to 05/21/2016 with

UPCES - Study Abroad in Prague (CERGE-EI, Charles University)

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned how to live on my complete own, half a world away from my family and friends. I also learned how to assimilate into a very different culture, and by doing so I learned a lot about myself as a person and what I like and don't like. It also gave me a chance to look at the United States from an outsider's perspective and get foreigners' opinions on America. All in all, this opportunity was very worthwhile to my growth as a young adult and also to my understanding of the world.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I learned a great deal in these classes

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

They were all awesome and helpful

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Most people spoke English but other than that I felt fully integrated to Czech culture

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

You will be fine in Prague. Nothing to worry about

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

I'm not sure why but the study abroad program in Prague has a certain negative stigma against it. It may be because people have heard that it is easy, or that only athletes go there, or that the city is famous for its nightlife. However, I can attest that class is still class and there is still homework. Some of the classes I took there were more worthwhile than any of the classes I've taken at Middlebury. I learned important history and important dynamics of European politics. Honestly, ANYONE would enjoy Prague. Don't pass up on the opportunity because you think Prague is only for a specific group of people. You'll visit and regret not going.

Finances

* 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)

Prague is insanely cheap compared to America. And the food is better

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $30
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Coins are extremely helpful in Prague, use them.

Language

* 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

They encouraged it but it wasn't really needed, and the program acknowledged that a lot of people spoke English.

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? High school Spanish... So no relation to Czech
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? Try your best to use it in restaurants, stores, etc. most people will answer you in English but they will appreciate the effort.

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
  • 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?
  • The classes
  • The people I met -- my fellow students and the local Czech people
  • The history of Prague
* What could be improved?
  • More program-organized trips around Prague!
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Czech people don't really like Americans as much as you would think. Also Old Town Square gets annoying after a few weeks. I would go out of my way to not walk through it by the end.

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:

European Integration

Course Department: Political Science
Instructor: Lucia Najslova
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This course was challenging mainly because I had no prior experience or knowledge of the European Union. However, I can honestly say I learned a great deal about it in this class. This class was the most comparable to a Middlebury class in terms of material and class discussions. Final grades were compromised of a mid term, a final, and a paper
Credit Transfer Issues:
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Prague As A Living History

Course Department: History
Instructor: Ondrej Skripnik
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Awesome class. You walk around different parts of Prague on different days. This is the exact class you wish would be offered if you were going to study abroad in a foreign city. You see everything and learn interesting things about the city.
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Europe in a Global Context

Course Department: Political Science
Instructor: Vlad Sobell
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This class was extremely insightful but just very boring and not that challenging. It was tough to pay attention the whole time (and I know the teacher is retiring).
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Intro to Czech Language

Course Department: Czech
Instructor: Petra Bulejcikova
Instruction Language: English/Czech
Comments: Czech is a very challenging language but this class was extremely helpful for navigating Prague. The teacher not only focused on the topics that would make it easier for us to communicate simple things with Czech people, but she also was very helpful if we were having other issues by explaining the norms of Czech culture and how to communicate about specific problems we were running into individually.
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Comprehending the Holocaust

Course Department: Sociology
Instructor: Michal Plzak
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Take this class. It was extremely informative and you learn a great deal about the Holocaust, even if you think you already know enough. The professor is extremely knowledgable on the subject and a very nice guy.
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