Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Greetings from Praha! (Prague)

Ahoj Everyone! My name is Caitlin Stelben. I will be going into my third year at Drexel University. I am a Design and Merchandising major, with a minor in business administration. I am going on Co-op this Fall/Winter cycle, so I am so excited to have an educational “vacation” in Prague this summer before I start working full time.

Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. It has become a popular tourist destination since the Velvet Revolution in 1989. It is a beautiful city, located on the Vltava River, in an area of the country known as Central Bohemia. Luckily, much of the city’s historic architecture and cobble stone streets have remained intact throughout the past century, so the city has an old renaissance appeal to it.

This study abroad program is an option for sophomores, pre-juniors, and juniors at Drexel University, and any major is eligible to apply. What is unique about this particular international program is that it is in conjunction with the University of New Orleans, so we will be taking classes and being instructed with students and staff members affiliated with the UNO (University of New Orleans). The educational program of this trip is four weeks long. We will be taking classes at the historic Charles University, however we will be residing at Czech Technical Institute.

I just arrived in Prague a few days ago, and have already begun exploring the city. It is quite easy to get lost, but as long as you have a map and can ask “Mluvite anglisky?” (Do you speak English?) chances are you will find your way sooner than later.

As a part of the Prague study abroad program, Drexel requires that we take a three week long introduction to Czech language and culture class. Our instructor was Kathy Dettmer, who is fluent in Czech and very familiar with Czech Republic, since she was a stationed here when she was a member of the Peace Corps. She provided us with an introduction to Czech language that will come into use for basic conversations with people, as well as for pub/restaurant environments. We also were given a glimpse into the history of the Czech Republic, from its foundation as a country, to the artistic culture of its people, and its duration under communism. We read multiple short stories ranging from Czech fairy tales, to information about the beer served in Prague, as well as a speech by the Czech Republic’s first president Havel.

Since arriving in Prague, I am very appreciative of all that we were taught in those short three weeks. There are many activities planned for us this upcoming week, as well as our first day of classes. Shortly, we have a planned group dinner at a local pub called the Pod Loubim.




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