Thoughts from a foreigner in PragueNázory
Prague; city of culture, beautiful buildings and architecture, cheap beer and good times – fantastic! Oh, and I nearly forgot, I’m supposed to be here to study! Just under a year ago, my tutor at University of Plymouth in the UK asked if I’d like to study in Prague for the spring semester 2003. Without really giving it much thought, I said “Sure, why not?” Why not indeed! Now, I’m actually here.
Prague; city of culture, beautiful buildings and architecture, cheap beer and good times – fantastic! Oh, and I nearly forgot, I’m supposed to be here to study!
Just under a year ago, my tutor at University of Plymouth in the UK asked if I’d like to study in Prague for the spring semester 2003. Without really giving it much thought, I said “Sure, why not?” Why not indeed! Now, I’m actually here, the studies have begun, copius amounts of cheap beer have been consumed and I feel as though I’ve been here forever. But what did I think when I first came to Prague?
Myself and my room mate Velina, arrived on a cold Saturday night, excited and nervous and were met by our new Czech ‘buddies’. After taking us for something to eat, they escorted us to our new ‘home’ for the next three and half months – Jarov B dorms. Now you have to remember that we’ve had a beer or two, have been travelling for about twelve hours and we’re a bit on the tired side – get the picture? Everything that went through our minds as we entered the building, can be summed up in just three words – “Oh my God!”
Now I have never been inside a prison, but I’m guessing that they must look something similar on the inside. We had to present ourselves to a lady who was hidden inside a little cubicle, no smile, just barked orders in Czech. Thank goodness for our buddies; (whoever came up with that scheme, quite frankly deserves a medal). We climbed three flights of stone stairs and arrived in a stark corridor, with row upon row of little doors. Then we entered our room – good grief could this get more depressing? OK, so we had beds and bedding, but why no pots and pans, surely the last students to live here must have had some, so where did they go? Why aren’t they still here? Does every new occupant have to buy again? There wasn’t even any toilet paper (should have thought about that one Sally!) Too tired to care at this point, we went to bed and fell into an exhausted sleep. The next morning, things didn’t look quite so bad – the morning especially improved when my buddy was spotted walking up the corridor with a flask of coffee – my hero! Now? Well, we’ve got our pots and pans, and put up our personal bits and pieces, even bought a house plant, so our little room feels quite homely.
What about the studying you may be asking? Well that’s OK, the courses that I’m taking are excellent, although obviously I can’t account for others and their choices. My only problem was understanding the lecturers, but now my ear is tuned into their accents, I’m doing OK. The one thing I do like about the Czech system, is that you have two weeks to decide whether or not you like the courses you’ve chosen – a sort of ‘try before you buy’ option. Wish they had that at home!!! The only thing I’m not too happy about is the student card I was issued with – I’m almost positive that they’ve morphed my picture – I guess after producing a couple of hundred of these things, they thought they’d have fun and make a some of us look very bizarre indeed – I look like a soccer ball on a neck! Apart from that, everything in the VSE is good (I’m not going to mention the food in the canteen – I’d be here all day, survice to say it’s edible on occasions and at the end of the day it’s cheap!)
Am I glad I came? Of course. Would I recommend it to others? Definitely. The good thing about all of this, is the fact that I’ve meeting some great, nice and not so nice people, learning things that I wouldn’t otherwise have done and even getting to grips with another culture and language. Will I miss it when I go home? You bet I will!
studentka výměnného programu