Interested in studying abroad in Prague? Alicia, who just got back from spending her fall semester there, gives the rundown on why Prague is so awesome — especially when you study abroad there with AIFS. As a Student Vlogger, she captured all of this on film. Give it a watch below for some solid advice and inspiration!
First, I just have to brag about how beautiful the city of Prague is. It’s one of the most incredible places I’ve ever been. Before I went, people told me it looked like a fairytale… it does! The river, the Charles bridge, the castle… everything is just gorgeous.
One of the biggest reasons I chose Prague was actually because it was the most out of my comfort zone. I was between a few places but Prague stood out because, first of all, I didn’t speak the language and I didn’t really know anything about the Czech Republic. I didn’t have much knowledge of central Europe in general, actually, so it honestly feels like my relationship with the city is even more special because of the lack of knowledge I had about it going in the program.
I also chose Prague because it has to do with my interests and majors back in my home university. I am a double-major in Film & Media Studies and Religious Studies. In terms of Religious Studies, Prague is great because it has a really fascinating Catholic past and there are lots of ancient churches and cathedrals to look at. But, at the same time, it’s currently one of the most atheistic places in the world.
In terms of film, Prague is also one of the film centers of the world. One of my professors at Charles University was also a professor at FAMU, which is one of the best film schools in the world — and it’s right there in Prague.
Regarding more specific things like housing, I really liked the housing we were in. It was called Masarykova Kolej and it’s like a part hostel, part hotel, part dorm type building. The location was great because we were only a few metro stops away from Old Town, which is the city center, and from our school. There is a metro stop right outside of our dorm and there’s also a tram stop. In terms of the inside of the room, it’s suite-style so you have two double rooms conjoined and there’s a kitchenette and bathroom in the middle. I really liked the suite-style set up because I ended up making friends right off the bat. The people in my suite became some of my best friends. I’m just so grateful that there was a kitchenette because otherwise I would have to eat out all the time and I don’t have the money to do that. So, it was nice getting to cook for myself.
Also the rooms have an infinite amount of storage so I never had any trouble figuring out where to put my also infinite amount of stuff. There’s a park right outside the dorm. Lots of old people walking their dogs over there. There is also a farmer’s market within walking distance that was open every week. It was great because we could get all our produce there for cheaper than at the grocery store. There was also a grocery store and a drugstore within walking distance of the dorm, and lots of other places to eat.
Public transport is incredible. It’s the best public transport I’ve ever used in my life and probably ever will. The metro is super easy to understand. There’s only three lines, so we got a hang of the system really quickly and I never had a metro train come late… ever. The tram system is a little bit more hard understand. When I first got there, I just was too lazy to figure it out and didn’t really use it. But the metro only runs until midnight, so if you’re out later then it’s good to use the tram, because you don’t want to pay for Über. So, once we just figured out the tram system it was actually incredibly convenient and easy-to-use.
Also, something that I cannot stress enough about how great AIFS is, is they give you a free pass for all public transportation.
So, I would be using the trams, metro, etc. every single day to get to class, eat out, do stuff with friends. And you have a single pass that lets you get on to any of that transportation for free. There were some people at school who weren’t in our program who had to pay for their own transportation which I couldn’t even imagine because I use it so frequently. So, yeah that’s definitely something to consider.
So, a lot of people that I talk to about going abroad come back and say that their academics were either crazy hard or “a joke.” My classes were great. They weren’t too hard or too easy. They were hard enough for me to be intellectually challenged but didn’t eat up all my time, so I still had a ton of free time to go do stuff with friends and explore the city. I was actually kind of pleasantly surprised by the fact that my courses were one of my favorite parts of studying in Prague. For example, I love history but I struggle with learning it depending on the teaching style. And through my film classes I was able to learn a pretty thorough history of the Czech Republic solely through watching and talking about movies which is what I love to do.
Also I really recommend taking the Czech language course because, first of all, it’s just kind of fun and, second of all, it just really made me feel like I had a stronger relationship with Prague and it helped me survive daily life. Every time you learn a new language it’s like learning an entirely new way of thinking, and I think that’s honestly a pretty integral part of learning about the culture in the Czech Republic.
Overall, I think I value my classes so much because they directly related to my everyday life in Prague.
I also think it’s important to talk about the kind of recreational nightlife part of Prague because that’s sort of what it’s known for. Prague is such a historical city that I think sometimes people forget how hip and artsy it is. Prague has some of the weirdest statues I’ve ever seen in my life and I really recommend trying to see as many of those you can, especially the ones by David Tierney. Also, during the day, there is an endless list of historical sites to go to. I also really love their museums. The Museum of Communism and the Mucha Museum were some of my favorites.
Prague also has some of the weirdest and coolest bars I’ve ever seen. There is an anonymous bar where people are walking running around in Guy Fawkes masks. There is an underground bar with huge Irish wolfhounds walking around. It was also really fun learning about the pub culture in Prague. In the Czech Republic, pubs are kind of used as a place for intellectual conversation like when Clinton came to visit he and Václav Havel, Madeleine Albright and this famous author named Bohumil Hrabal all hung out at a pub and drank beer.
Overall, that was my experience in Prague. I was kind of between a couple of places when I was trying to figure out where to study abroad and I have no regrets about choosing Prague. I can guarantee you that it will be one of the most unique places you ever go and it will become a very unique part of you as well. Anyways, thanks for watching and I hope you choose Prague.”