June 4, 2015

in Czech Republic, Europe, Stephanie Sartell, Summer 2015

What a cute apartment. What an awesome Czech flat mate (shout out to Bara). What nice roommates (shout out to Ashley and Kendall). What good food. What a nice atmosphere. What amazing views. What fun people.

Week one in Prague is coming to an end and so far I’m really impressed. My apartment is more modern than I thought it would be and its location is prime. The commute to class is quick and includes an uphill walk that feels like a short hike. The view from the top of the hill overlooking the city is worth the hike. There’s a park surrounding the building I study in. I’m planning to make great use of it during my daily lunch break.

My apartment is located on Zborovská, a street in the middle of all the action. I’m right in the city, 5 minutes away from downtown. Everything else is only 1-5 minutes away: food, shopping, tram stop, salon, and grocery store. Life on Zborovská is more ideal than I imagined it would be.

My apartment building is shared with about 20 other students from all over the US and a few around the world. It’s very social atmosphere that means there’s always something to do with someone. Never a moment for boredom.

The first week happened fast and slow at the same time. Slow because we were taking every moment in. Fast because there’s already only 3 more weeks left until the next session! Our first three days were for orientation, forth was for our first day of classes, and fifth included a field trip. A field trip already?! Yupp. CIEE is doing a great job making sure we stay busy and see as much as we can while were here (especially for those only staying for 3 more weeks).

My field trip was to Měchenice, a village about 20 minutes south from downtown. The train followed the Vltava River the whole ride. When my class arrived I noticed it looked exactly like northern Wisconsin; the hills, trees, and the river. My class wandered through the village, ate a delicious lunch at Fregatta (the villages largest restaurant), and hiked into the location of hidden cottages used for small vacation homes and weekend getaways for those living in _ and those outside. Lastly, we finished at the Tennis Club. The Tennis Club was basically a country club without the gulf or a pool. With inexpensive yearly membership, you can come socialize, play, and learn tennis with those of Měchenice.

A Few Things I’ve learned so far:

-Czech people do not smile on the street

-You cannot just walk up to anyone’s dog and pet it

-Dogs don’t do leashes here

-Restaurants want you to make reservations

-At restaurants, the customer is NOT always right

-In smaller businesses it is more likely to find people who do not speak English (unfortunately)

-Alcohol is cheaper than water

-Czech people can tell you’re American by the way you dress and the volume of your conversations

-The Czech rarely speak on public transportation

-If you make plans with a Czech person, you have to follow through. It’s extremely rude to cancel, especially last minute

-If you’re paying what converts to 6USD for a meal, you’re paying on the high side (unless it’s a fancy restaurant)

-So so so many people living here are from Slovakia. They come for education and tend to stay for the career opportunities that are here

-Police cars are Audis

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