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21 posts categorized "Cultural Immersion"

09/15/2016

Fall 2016, Issue I

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Welcome Communication, New Media and Journalism Program in Prague!

We have twenty-four new students who arrived from universities from all over the US to study abroad in Prague in Fall 2016. CNMJ students and six Czech students from the Charles University enjoyed fancy dinner and sunny cruise on Vltava River after first day of orientation. Charles University students so called „buddies“ live with US students and help them better immerse into the Czech culture.

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Czech students presented various extracurricular activities they prepared for the students this semester during CIEE EXPO. The activities include cooking classes, sport activities, visiting local museums and monuments, sport events, etc.

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All students learned how to blend in as much as possible by learning basic Czech phrases. Most of the students learned how to say: „Dobrý den, jsem tady na pohovor“ (Hello, I am here for an interview) in Czech to impress the company they may end up working for. While being in a foreign country all CNMJ students have to do internships in local companies to complement their learning about Czech business and international work environment.

CIEE organized first meet up event to allow students from other CIEE programs to meet and get to know each other. Bowling is popular in the Czech Republic and our students enjoyed the game as well.  

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05/10/2016

Spring 2016. Issue III

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CNMJ students are finishing their internships in Prague and saying goodbye to everyone they worked with as their study abroad experience is coming to an end. This semester we had a group of six students creating instructional videos for the National Technical Library. The videos helped to improve their skills in not only operating a camera, but also editing and sound mixing.  Also, the videos they produced for the library not only benefited the interns themselves, but the library since producing content in the visual medium will make it much easier for students of all background to understand key library concepts like registration and borrowing books.

Here are examples of their videos:

 

 

 

Also, we had two students in Locus Workspace in Prague that is a coworking space or a “shared office” where freelancers, location independent workers and entrepreneurs come to get their work done (a trend proven to be more effective than working from home) while simultaneously building a diverse community. Jana (CES program) and Sola worked in Locus over the course of semester in Prague. Check out the promotional video they made and learn about Sola´s motivation to intern with this company:

 

These videos represent just a few examples of some of our interns´work while studying abroad in Prague.    

Thank you all CNMJ students for your commitment and hard work!

10/19/2015

Fall 2015, Issue II

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Jáchymov: A Painful History Hidden Between Scenic Hills

by Ruth Douglas

It’s 6:40 on the first bitterly cold Saturday morning of the season, and instead of sleeping in, I am using every ounce of mental strength I have to will myself out of bed. Today, I am heading to Jáchymov, a quiet spa town just minutes from the German border. I can’t say I’m exactly excited about this trip—spas are unfortunately not on today’s itinerary. Rather than letting my worries melt away in the beautifully lush hills, I will be learning about the ills of the communist era while carefully maneuvering my way through an old, dark mine. I’m not exactly thrilled. But by the time I step on the bus to return to Prague, I am simply grateful for the life I have.

Aside from my limited knowledge about the United States’ involvement with the Soviet Union—the first and second Red Scare, the Cold War—I really had no idea how devastating communism was to so many people. It took that trip to Jáchymov to truly understand the effects communism had on people who lived under its rule.

Our tour was led by an 85-year-old former prisoner who was sentenced to work in several uranium mines in Jáchymov during his six years of imprisonment. The man, who used a cane to walk but otherwise appeared to be in good health, was apologetic about his slower pace. He explained having to walk two kilometers daily, tightly packed and arm in arm with the other prisoners, for 365 days a year to get to and from the uranium mine. “My knees are not so good because of this,” the professor on the trip translated to us. I was amazed at how humble the man was, and how willing he was to share his traumatic story with me and my peers.

Jáchymov

Hidden in the beautiful hills of Jáchymov is a painful history, one full of suffering in freezing mines or hazardous uranium sorting facilities. Though this trip was not entirely pleasant, it was certainly one of the most memorable and eye-opening experiences I’ve had in a very long time.

04/09/2015

An eclectic mix

  By Nikki Horowitz, University of Michigan

Wine tasting CNMJ trip
Cable car CNMJ trip

#Moravia brno Czech Republic cz Czech cave vine wine vineyard

David Cerny

#david cerny art prague sculpture Prague trams

 

Old Jewish Cemetery Prague

#jew Jewish memorial Jewish quarter prague jewishgirl praha trinity synagogue Valencia Spain

#Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias Artes y las Ciencias City of Arts and Sciences Valencia spain Alicante Spain
#Alicante spain espana




10/10/2014

Me, Myself, and Prague

By Jake Weeks, Roger Williams University

I can’t say I haven’t had the time to write, because that would be a blatant lie, but look I’m here now. Writing. Writing about Prague. Which is now where I live. Crazy. 

I’ve tried four times to write this blog post, but every time I try I get distracted, and my mind wanders off to different places. I suppose the best excuse that I can come up with right now is that I’ve just turned 20 and I’m moody and I’m trying to acclimate myself to this foreign place and establish a home for myself here and I want to explore and grow and experience wonderful things. So now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk Prague.

I’ve been to many European cities, but never before have I been to a place this magical. Prague is a serious dream. Every time I walk by the river at night and look out at the glistening Prague Castle, I feel like I’ve been thrown into a Disney movie. It’s that good. 

There’s also an absurd amount of historical value here. From the ancient cobblestone to the communist regime, so much has happened here. And you feel that energy everywhere you go. 

I’ve been here since September 2, but classes haven’t officially started until this week. So what did I do the entire month of September? Well. Here’s a list, in bulleted form, of everything I’ve done that’s worth mentioning: 

  • Saw one of the most famous Czech operas, “The Bartered Bride”, at the National Theater

  • Took an Intensive Czech course during Orientation that lasted two weeks, and despite how ridiculously challenging the Czech language can be, I actually learned more Czech in two weeks than I have in my two years of German classes 

  • Went on a semi-grueling 7 1/2 mile hike through the Bohemian mountains

  • Spent a day at Kutna Hora, a UNESCO world heritage site, and toured a beautiful gothic cathedral 

  • Took part in a 5+ hour scavenger hunt around the city of Prague (and won) 

  • Celebrated my birthday in a lavish karaoke bar where I sang iconic songs like “Dancing Queen” and Beyoncé’s “Drunk In Love” 

  • Had an inspiring time at the World Press Photo Exhibition

  • Got an Internship at International Study Programs where I help research and construct academic and cultural programs in European and African nations 

  • Experienced what being blind would be like at the Invisible Exhibition, where I was led through a series of simulated situations in total darkness by the blind

  • Had a religious awakening after I tried fried cheese for the first time

  • Rented a paddle boat on the Vltava River and was one with the swans that inhabit it 

But more importantly: I’ve tripped and nearly rolled my ankle multiple times on the cobblestone, gotten waaaay lost and had to find my way home at questionable hours in the morning, and had to find a way to contact the US Fraud Agency after my debit card was flagged and I had no more money. Honorable mention: Teaching myself to cook/ finding a replacement for my snack addiction (Goldfish, Doritos, and ranch dressing do not exist here). 

I miss my family very much. I miss my friends, too. And I think about you all often (I even miss my mentally ill cat who drools and spits everywhere). But I’m very happy and excited to be here in Prague, and can’t wait for more adventures. Happy October!

Jake weeks

Student Retreat

By Jelani Spencer-Joe, Susquehanna University

Jelani on retreat

From Thursday to Saturday night, I was invited by Denisa to go to a weekend action with the school of humanities in Lichovy- Prosaz! An action is basically a retreat for students in the woods and there are lectures for them to go to with professors as well as other activities.

At first, it was a little scary because the only Americans were me and Alex and although everyone spoke English, I was worried that people would be too embarrassed of their English to speak to us. One of the things I did was take a picture of all of the foods I ate over the weekend because I thought it would be fun to see what kind of “retreat food” the kitchen staff would serve us (post below)! It was nice to be out of the city for a bit and be around people I don’t really know since I feel like I’m always surrounded by people in my program. I couldn’t go to any lectures so I ended up sleeping, talking/ meeting new people, going for hikes, eating (obviously), and just relaxing (something I needed to do more than I thought)!

I feel like I have SO many things to still write about so I’m going to try and be more present on this blog for November and write about even the little things that happen… wish me luck!

Retreat treats by jelani

I decided to take a picture of all the “retreat food” I ate this weekend at Lichovy-Prosaz just because I thought it would be interesting for everyone to see since I know that in America, when I think of retreat food I think of bagged lunches consisting of dry, sandwiches and a piece of fruit. Here’s what I had, in order from left to right:

1) rice with beef and vegetables, mozzarella cheese sprinkled on top and pickles on the side (favorite meal)

2) noodles and chicken in a mystery sauce that looked cheesy but it was more like broth and it didn’t really taste like cheese at all.

3) pork meatloaf with vegetables and boiled potatoes

4) jelly filled donut and then we had the option of getting a roll to put the spreadable cheese, butter, or pate on.

5) chicken(?), potato dumplings, cabbage, (least favorite meal)

6) potato soup with basil, rye and mushrooms

7) chips that taste like bacon (amazing)

8) rice cakes with chocolate on top

Complete: Week 1 and 2 of Prague

By Jelani Spencer-Joe, Susquehanna University

Week 1:

It’s officially been one week in Prague and it feels like a lifetime. It’s hard to believe that this time last week, I was anxiously trying to sleep while wondering what my first day of orientation at CIEE would be like.

There are 3 different emphasis’ at CIEE and my emphasis is the smallest with less than 20 kids. We’re a small bunch, but we like to stick together and we don’t really interact with too many of the others because they stick together just as much as we do. I’ve made friends with the owners of the restaurant up the block and been to the opening party. I’ve gotten drinks on the river and watched the sun set with some of my roommates. I’ve been to the Prague castle, Charles University, Kutna Hora (Bone Cathedral), the Old Town Square, Charles Bridge, all three metro lines and the tram, and the supermarket to shop for food… like a real adult. This week, I started my Czech language intensive course and I’m comfortable asking my professor, Ludek (who I like to call Ludacris in my head), questions and I’m pretty sure I’ll do well, I’ve figured out my class schedule and although I’m not taking classes at Charles University, I LOVE my schedule. I’ve used the phrases ahoj, dobrý den and děkuji more times than I can count!

Prague is an amazing city and I’m falling more in love with it each day. I can’t wait to explore more and see what this next week has to offer.

Week 2:

I just finished two weeks of my (5 hours a day, 4 days a week) intensive Czech class and I’ve never been so excited. As some (most) of you know, when it comes to languages… I suck. I’ve never been good at learning languages and when I knew I would have a two week intensive, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to grasp the basics or be conversational in a language that I would spend most of my time hearing. 

My assumptions were wrong. I learned how to speak Czech and I learned how to speak it well, in two weeks. My intensive class had 7 other people in it and my teacher was great. I felt confident enough to ask questions in class and when I was called on and it took a few tries to pronounce something, I wasn’t embarrassed when I got it wrong. My first real sentence was how to ask for directions, specifically where a street is. I know the numbers 1-1000, how to order in a restaurant, various getting to know you phrases, and many other basic things. I understand more of what’s happening in the world around me and I can’t wait until I’m able to say more than just phrases and I can have a real conversation with someone. Plus, I got an A on my oral and written Czech Intensive final so I’m pretty sure my professor’s doing something right!

All things prague by jelani

04/08/2014

To Brno and Back

By Lizzie Maasen, Drake University

Well, it’s been a while. As I was titling my post, I about had a heart attack. MARCH 26TH?!? My semester in Prague is already halfway over? Yes, yes it is. I’ve already had to think about life after Prague, and I am really, really not ready for that day to come.

On Friday morning, the CNMJ program (myself included) left for a weekend trip to Brno, Czech Republic. Brno is the second largest city in the Czech Republic, and known for its’ wine and “student culture”. We first stopped at Radio R which is a student-run radio station in Brno. We talked to students about their radio station, and then were interviewed for a segment. I may or may not have taken part in a rendition of “Candy Shop” by 50 cent and it may or may not have been the most uncomfortable and awkward decision I’ve made while being in the Czech Republic. Seriously, why do I do these things? We spent the rest of the day lounging around, and in the evening we went to see “The Great Night” at the One World film festival.

On Saturday, we spent the day eating well and drinking even better. CIEE took us to the Velke Bilovice vineyard in Moravia. Moravia is known for its fabulous white wine, and after sampling around 15 wines in less than 40 minutes, I’d have to say the same. In fact, I even bought a bottle to commemorate the event. Naturally, I thought I would bring it home with me…think again Lizzie, think again. Our little group spent the rest of the afternoon chillin’ in a park together and learning some tai chi (spelling?) from strangers. Obviously, I was the worst.

On Sunday, the group got up a little earlier to make a trip to the Moravsky Kras caves! Being from Missouri (Meramac Caverns s/o holllaaa), I’ve seen a fair share of caves in my day, but this was hands down the coolest cave visit ever. Best part? Part of the tour was on a boat. In the cave. I mean yeah, it was pretty cool.

CNMJ Trip Lunch

This was taken at our lunch spot on the first day in Brno (don’t remember the name, whoops). A train brought us our drinks straight from the kitchen!

 

Velke Bilovice Vineyards

A view from the vineyard. The Czech Republic countryside ain’t bad y’all.

CNMJ Group

Most of our small but mighty CNMJ program! S/o to Grace B. for the photo.

CNMJ Trip Caves

This was taken on the boat inside the cave!! Photo cred to Maya B.

02/27/2014

Is this reality?

By Lizzie Maasen, Drake University

There have been too many times this week when I have to stop myself and ask, “Am I really living in Prague right now”? I cannot believe that I’m on my 4th week of living in the Czech Republic! My daily living seems so normal to me at this point yet I still find myself constantly making new observations about this city, the people, and this experience.

This week was my second and final week of my intensive Czech language class! It really is nice to be able to atleast order food in Czech and say a few fun phrases. My favorites so far are “Nazdravi” which means cheers and “Na Shledanou” which means goodbye! While sitting in a classroom for almost 5 hours a day learning a difficult language doesn’t sound like the most fun time, I grew to appreciate the ample amount of time that I was given to adapt to the culture.

It’s now Sunday at 10:20 p.m. and it’s safe to say I’m exhausted from a fun-filled weekend. From being shoved around in a mosh-pit (I didn’t last too long, let’s be real) to celebrating the end of winter Czech style, I definetly celebrated the “orientation” portion of the program being over.

While my entire weekend was kickin’, I have to admit that my favorite parts of the week tend to be those small moments. While I acknowledge the fact that I’m annoying for saying cheesy things, the little moments truly are the best. From walking home along the Charles Bridge to wearing groutfits and running to catch a tram with my friends, I want to make sure I’m remembering the small moments that made this experience that much better.

Classes officially start tomorrow, and I can’t decide whether I’m excited, terrified, or sad.

Estates Theater

This is the gorgeous Estates Theatre in which we had our own box to see Don Giovanni!!

Masopust

Some weird people with weird masks at a weird traditional Czech festival. Awesome.

 

Times Flies

By Lizzie Maasen, Drake University

Time files when you’re studying abroad in Prague. I cannot believe that today marks the second week that I’ve been living in this beautiful city! Although I’m pretty much settled in at this point, it still feels like a vacation. This may be due to the fact that I have yet to start any classes besides my Intensive Czech class. If you’re wondering what it’s like to speak Czech, don’t because it’s a ridiculously difficult language. Czech people amaze me with their ability to make an insane language sound so fluid and beautiful. Besides that, my Czech teacher’s name is Ludek and is the most bouncy male adult I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing.

Besides my Czech language class, this week I started to run errands and prepare to actually make a home for myself. While doing so, I’ve begun to notice some very interesting things about this country and its people.

Observations

1) Dogs. They are everywhere. People take them on the trams, in grocery stores, and on their daily walks. They’re usually not on leashes, yet somehow never stray from their owner. As Ludek says, “They’re not dogs, they’re people”.

2) Grocery stores are small and scarce. You have to pay five korunas to use a cart instead of just using a basket. I’m still trying to figure out what people really eat here…

3) No one likes to talk on public transportation. If you want to fit in, don’t talk on the trams. Czech people are very warm and friendly but are very quiet compared to Americans.

4) Sweatpants are not an option. I have yet to see a single person look slightly casual. Czechs look very put together while I tend to wear groutfits on a daily basis.

I’m obviously still getting used to the Czech way of life, but I’m feeling more and more comfortable everyday. I’ve used the trams by myself several times and I now know how to order my favorite beer in Czech. I’ll add a few of my favorite pictures so far to the bottom of the post!

Na Shledanou (Bye!)

John Lennon Wall

Me in front of the John Lennon Wall!

Prague view
The most beautiful place in the world.

My side of the riverA gorgeous view of my side of the city and the Charles bridge!