My semester has officially begun. This week was the start of my CIEE courses. After some switching around throughout the week, I ended up with 5 classes: Collective Identity in a Totalitarian Regime, Psychoanalysis and Society, Czech Cinema, Art & Architecture, and Czech Language.
Collective Identity in a Totalitarian Regime sounds like it’s going to be really interesting. It focuses on the ordinary citizens during the communist era rather than on the leaders or political dissidents. The teacher is really enthusiastic and is a lot of fun to listen to, so I’m pretty excited for her lectures. What’s also cool is that she lived in the Czech Republic during the communist regime so she can give us first-hand examples of the things that she talks about. It makes everything a lot more tangible.
Psychoanalysis and Society focuses on the basic understanding and concept of different psychoanalytic theories and their relation to the Czech Republic. I know close to nothing about psychoanalysis, so I’m excited to learn about it. I think it’ll also help explain a lot about the Czech Republic’s historical and contemporary issues, which is cool. However, the class seems to have a lot of reading which I’m not too thrilled about.
Art & Architecture is mainly about Prague’s architecture and urban development. On Mondays we have a lecture about whatever topic we’re covering that week such as Roman art, Gothic architecture, etc. Then on Wednesdays we go out for a tour and the teacher shows us examples of the art and architecture around the city. It’s cool because although I’m technically at school, it doesn’t really feel like it since I’m basically getting a free tour of different areas of the city. I feel like I’ll get a lot out of this class so I’m excited. It’s pretty rare that you get to experience and see first-hand the different styles you learn in class.
Czech Cinema is all about Czech films from the 1960s onward. I don’t know if it’s a well-known fact that there are quite a few Czech directors and films out there, but I wasn’t aware of this before I applied to the program. Once I learned of this, I really wanted to take a film class to see what they’re like so I’m glad I get to take this class. We’re going to be discussing movies like “Happy End,” “Daisies,” and “Firemen’s Ball.” In all we’ll be watching ten movies I believe. This is my first ever class about films, so I’m eager to see how I like it.
This week I also had an interview with the Bohuslav Martinu Institute, which is an educational center for the Czech composer Bohuslav Martinu. Basically, anyone who is interested in Martinu or would like to read about him, get his manuscripts, photographs, etc can come to the institute or go to their webpage and get access to all things Martinu. They have offices in Prague, Switzerland and Japan… which is where I come in. They are currently trying to increase promotional efforts of Martinu in Japan. I suppose the director saw on my resume that I have Japanese background and thought it would be a good match. So, today I met with their social media manager and talked about what I would be doing. Apparently classical music is huge in Japan (something I was unaware of), so they are looking for ways to expand awareness and appreciation of Martinu by reaching out to various key players in the classical music world via social media. Along with using social media to increase Martinu’s presence in Japan, my job is also to develop a new social media strategy and come up with new ways to increase awareness. Going into the interview I thought that this internship would mainly be proofreading their newsletters and such, so I was pleasantly surprised to hear that they had an entirely different plan for me. As an aspiring public relations professional, this seems like an amazing opportunity to improve my skills and learn more about the public relations world. This is also the first time that my Japanese has proved useful outside of a Japanese context, which is really cool. I always thought that the only time my Japanese would be utilized would be in Japan or at a Japanese company/organization, so the fact that I’m in the Czech Republic and have the opportunity to use Japanese is so exciting.
I’m definitely looking forward to the coming semester as I learn about Czech history and culture through my classes and internship and I can’t wait to get started.