Name: Eric Klappholz Email: Eric.email@example.com Studied Abroad in: Prague, Czech Republic Program: CET Jewish Studies Program Details: • One Semester (September to December/ January to May) • Courses in Jewish History, Central European history and politics, as well as Czech literature and art. • Classes mostly fulfilled JS requirements. Some can also fulfill Political Science, English, as well as AXLE requirements. • Live in an apartment with 4-‐6 American students and usually one Czech buddy. • All courses taught by Czechs fluent in English. • It is a small program with about 10 students and it was integrated with the Central European Program with about 15 students. Also, there was some crossover with the film program with about 50 students. • Courses open to students across the county. • A weeklong travel seminar to Krakow, Auschwitz, and Warsaw. Other weekend trips to Budapest, to the well preserved village of Cesky Krumlov, and the concentration camp of Terezin. • Metro pass included in the program allow you to explore all of Prague on the metros, trams, and buses. Courses Taken • Czech Language (beginners) • Jewish History • Czech Literature • Cultural history of Prague, Vienna, Budapest • Anti-‐ Semitism in the Czech Republic Other Courses Offered • Central European Politics • Nationalism, minorities, and migration in Europe • Holocaust and its legacy • Resistance and dissent • Central European Film • Prague art and architecture • Czech Republic in transition Favorite Parts of Program: • Classes located on Wenceslas Square at the heart of old and new Prague. Minutes away from Old Town Square, The Jewish Quarter, and the main shopping districts.
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Czech Professors are knowledgeable and offer many first hand stories about life in Central Europe. Large apartments located near the metro with most of the amenities that any dorm room in America offers. The Jewish Quarter is remarkably intact. There is no better place to learn about past and present Jewish life than in Prague. The program takes us to Shabbat services in Prague, Krakow, and Budapest. This offers a remarkable insight into Jewish life that most tourists do not experience. Interactions with the Jewish communities in every city we visit. Community service project in a Jewish school in Warsaw. This was a great way to learn and give back. Guided tour of Terezin by a Holocaust survivor that was imprisoned in Terezin. Meeting Polish students in the town of Oswiecim near the Auschwitz concentration camps. Many classes are conducted in local cafes and not in the classroom. The Resident Directors are always helpful and willing to help you get accustomed to Czech life. Going to a Czech soccer match and hockey game were great ways to experience Czech culture.
Least Favorite Parts of the Program: • There is no spring break, rather there is the weeklong travelling seminar in Poland. • I had classes at 9am from Monday to Thursday. • There are no microwaves or dryers in the apartments. • The classes were either an hour and a half or three hours long. • Classes were mostly lecture based. • Czech neighbors do not like a lot of noise in the apartment buildings, so you always have to be careful with how loud you talk. • The metro stops running at midnight. Best Sights in Prague • There are a lot of parks and open space in Prague that are great for reading, studying and relaxing. • There are great museums dedicated to the history of the Czech Republic, Jewish life, and the most famous Czech, Franz Kafka. • A smaller Eiffel tower is located on Petrin Hill and offers a great view of Prague. • Prague Castle has some of the city’s oldest buildings, but is still the heart of the Czech government.
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Charles Bridge, a main tourist attraction in Prague, is the main bridge over the Vltava and offers great views of the city, the castle, and the river. Vyshrad, Prague Castle’s sister castle, is a hidden gem in the city. It has an old church, a lot of open space, and is less crowded than Prague Castle. Old Town Square is the heart of Prague’s culture, and especially Prague nightlife. Climb the clock tower to get your bearing in the city. Pariska Street offers some high class window-‐shopping. Billa Hora is a rural park with an old villa located in the center.
Things you should know about Prague and the Czech Republic • While not terribly common, there are still a few pickpockets in Prague. • Outside the main tourist areas of Prague, most people do not speak English. • Restaurants and grocery stores prefer you pay with cash instead of credit card. • People do not check your ticket every time you go on the metro, but there are random checkers that are intimidating at first. • There are two bus stations in Prague, make sure you check where your bus leaves out of before travel. • The Czech Crown is difficult to do conversions in your head. • Even though Prague may seem like a haunted city at times, it is actually a very safe and bright city. • The best beers in the Czech Republic are Budvar, Pilsner, and Gambrinus in that order. • Dumplings are a Czech staple but are not very good. • Most cab drivers speak English, but make sure you agree on a price before getting in. • While it is tempting to travel every nation in Europe, some of your best memories will be the time you spent in Prague!!