The Imminent End

I have one week left in Prague and a million things are running through my mind. Am I going to have enough time to do and see everything? What about all the restaurants I never got to try? Will I be able to motivate myself to study when all I want to do is take advantage of the time I have left? What regrets will I have once I leave?

The fact that I have basically no time left has definitely left me stressed. I cannot believe how fast this semester flew by and how abruptly it’s all about to end. It’s weird because there were moments when I felt like I had all the time in the world in Prague, and other times where I felt like time was passing way too quickly. I guess all I can do is breathe, take it all in, and don’t let a single moment pass me by. The fact that I have finals all week is definitely tainting the whole “appreciate your last few days” approach, though. I’m hoping maybe I can stop by a couple new cafes to study (and eat dessert…). I can’t wait for Thursday when I’m all done with finals and I can live out my last weekend. It’s probably going to be super bittersweet.

This whole semester has been filled with different emotions. I’ve felt overwhelmed, especially in the beginning when I had to navigate my way through the city and figure out how the different parts connect, what tram to take, what the signs say, etc. Then there were the little things like what the labels on products read (e.g. the first time I tried to buy laundry detergent I actually bought fabric softener) or attempting to cook for the first time. I’ve felt extreme gratitude as I traveled and had the opportunity to see so many different parts of Europe. I think this is one of the first times in my life where I’ve truly felt young, like the world is my oyster. It’s been fun researching different cities, planning out activities, getting lost, trying new things and walking until my knees felt like they were about to give out. I’ve felt lonely at times, too. It’s hard being put into an environment full of new people, forced to quickly adapt and make friends while knowing that these relationships are temporary. It’s made me appreciate my friends and family at home, and reminded me how lucky I am to have them.

I can’t say whether or not this experience has changed me as a person, but I feel like I won’t know until I’m back in America and have had time to absorb everything. For now, I’ll try not to think about the end too much and enjoy my time. I just hope the stress of finals week doesn’t get to me too much.

See you in a week, America!

Tips and Tricks for Future Prague-ians: Part I

As my time in Prague comes to a close, I thought I’d write a series of blog posts for future students who are coming to Prague and are looking for some guidance. My first post will be about classes.

CLASSES:

This only applies to those who are in the CIEE Central European Studies program, so I apologize if you’re in a different program since this will be of little help to you. I remember when I was signing up for classes for this semester and I had no idea what to take, so here’s my take on some of the classes offered:

Do:

1. Take the cinema classes. There are a variety of them (Czech Cinema, East European Cinema, Hollywood in Europe), and although I’m enrolled in just Czech Cinema, from my understanding they are all quite interesting and easy. The movies are interesting for the most part and I really like the professor.

2. Take Collective Identity in a Totalitarian Regime. I’m in this class and it’s my favorite one. The professor is the only truly good one I’ve had this semester– she really knows what she’s talking about and is super enthusiastic about the course material. She’s also the only teacher I have that doesn’t have a Czech accent, which is a major plus when you’re surrounded by Czech accents 24/7. The course is about life under the communist regime in Czechoslovakia, and the style of the class is a mix of lectures and discussions about the readings. This class actually requires some work and effort, so if you don’t want any work I wouldn’t take it. But, if you’re willing to learn about something completely new and unique, then I would.

3. Take the classes offered at Charles University and FAMU. I did not sign up for any of them, but wish I did. They seem to be relatively easy, and you get to meet people from the other programs as well as other Czech students. It’s also nice to get out of the CIEE Study Center and walk through other parts of town, too.

4. Take Art and Architecture or Czech Architecture and Design. I’m in Art and Architecture and it’s one of my better classes. There is little work, the tests are easy (if you go over the material), and every week we go out on a walking tour to see first hand the art and architecture that we are learning about. I really enjoyed it because I saw parts of the city I would not have known about otherwise, and gained new knowledge about different styles of art that will be useful for the rest of my life. Czech Architecture and Design is a good alternative if A&A is full; apparently the teacher is quite nice.

5. Take Media Impact in Central Europe: My roommate is in it and says it’s her favorite class. The professor is really knowledgeable and has a lot of real world experience (worked at a radio station that broadcasted to communist nations during the regime) that makes the class interesting.

Don’t:

1. Take Interpretation of Czech Fairytales, European Environmental Studies, or the economics classes (unless you have to for credits). I’m not enrolled in any of these, but I haven’t heard many good things about them.

2. Take the psych classes. I’m in Psychoanalysis and Society, and although the material is interesting, the professor is horrible. He doesn’t teach and literally just reads off paragraphs of articles/books and blows through presentations without any in-depth explanation. He’s not very understanding or personable either. He teaches Psychoanalysis and Art as well. Best to avoid. [there’s also Third Force Psychology which doesn’t seem to be any good either]

I don’t know much about the history, literature or religion classes but that’s probably a good thing. No news is good news, right? Good luck choosing your classes and may the odds be ever in your favor 🙂