Let me start by saying no photo can do this city justice. I cannot imagine a place ever being more beautiful than Prague. I knew Old Town Square and Charles Bridge would be breathtaking, but nobody tells you that every street is just as gorgeous. This first week was a lot of walking and getting lost, but the views make it so you don’t even mind.
The culture here is definitely an adjustment. Though the general demeanor in Europe is different from the States, social interactions in the Czech Republic are especially shifted. We’ve been told by many of our professors and program organizers that some of this may be attributed to their communist past, which I am interested to learn more about (especially when my comparative politics course starts next week). We’ve also been warned that Czech residents are generally more private individuals who don’t go out of their way to interact, and most likely won’t return our “fake American smiles.”
I also think this is a part of living in any urban environment- locals aren’t going to go out of their way to speak to a large group speaking English and blocking the sidewalk. Nonetheless, I’ve grown comfortable traveling by the extremely simple and efficient transportation system (to give you an idea, I can leave my dorm and get to class across the bridge by metro in under 15 minutes. This is faster than when I lived on campus in Amherst. I’ve also finished my first week of Czech class which has made basic interactions much easier. Hopefully I can shed my tourist image soon as I attempt to integrate myself into this beautiful city.