This newsletter is written in a welcoming mood and shall reflect on the major events, which occurred during the first days of the Spring 2016 semester.
New CES orientation
Arrivals were as always thrilling and thankfully successful. As per usual some students encountered certain issues with their luggage on the way, but at the moment everyone is comfortably housed in their respective accommodations.
First day was opened by CIEE’s Academic Director Dr. Richard Stock, Dr. Zdeňka Pražáková from Charles University and Katie Ford from ECES, these representatives have delivered welcome speeches at the Philosophical faculty of CU and afterwards the first 4 sessions of orientation were conducted (How to Stay Safe, Academics, Student Life and Housing)
Second day the students were shown the CIEE Study Center at Vyšehrad and bystander training was delivered. The day was topped off by welcome dinner which was held at the Municipal House, an Art Nouveau building.
During the weekend break only a walk with the buddies was scheduled otherwise the students had free time to explore the city.
Third and the last day of orientation was composed of EXPO – a market of extracurricular activities, volunteering positions and staff meet & greet, where students had the opportunity to meet CIEE staff face to face.
In comparison with previous semesters, the orientation was significantly shortened, keeping only the most important sessions and allowing students to have as much time for exploring Prague as possible.
Students enjoyed the orientation- see their feedback below.
“I really liked both sessions and thought they were beneficial, informative, and engaging.“
“Great. Very informational and eye opening. “
“Useful and entertaining. “
New CNMJ orientation
CNMJ students arrived two days prior to the CES students and had separate orientation this semester. There were 37 students as opposed to 25 CNMJ students in previous semester. In spite of several delayed flights, all students arrived safely in Prague. One of the main features of the new CNMJ orientation were two free days that students have to visit local companies and be interviewed for the internship. All CNMJ students have mandatory internships as a part of their program.
The orientation was shortened drastically from the past semesters and lasted 2 days. Also, students visited Dobříš as a part of their Intensive Czech on Saturday, Feb 3. This trip was a half-day trip and the relevance of this trip was implied by the significant difference between Prague and the rest of the Republic. Since Prague is two and half times larger than the next largest city in Czech Republic, one can realize that the Prague environment will be severely different from the rest of the Czech lands. The trip to city not that far from Prague provide a diverse perspective on Czech culture, explore the folklore of non-Prague citizens and lets you expand your comprehension of the country.
Due to the Film Studies program specifics such as its size (maximum of 22 students – 16 in Production track and 6 in the Screenwriting track), Film and TV school of Academy of Performing Arts (FAMU https://www.famu.cz/eng) in Prague’s selectivity (which brings us hard-working and motivated young individuals), the orientation is slightly extended (3 days) in comparison with other Prague programs. In addition to traditional orientation sessions (Health and Safety, Bystander Intervention, Housing, Academics), we include few extra sessions (How to navigate Prague, How to deal with bureaucrats, How to survive in the Czech Republic, Goals for your semester abroad, Extracurricular opportunities, and two survival Czech language sessions) with the embedded intercultural training. With a smaller group of students, each session can be interactive, and there is plenty of space for Q and A.
And this seems to be working well for the Film Studies students – see feedback they shared with us:
“All info for today seemed very helpful and practical.”
“Very satisfied, wish the survival in the Czech Republic was longer.”
“Everything was great and helpful.”
“I really like how you guys organize the information and schedule for us.”
“Handbook will be very helpful.”
“I know so little Czech, but I will get there. Studuju češtinu!”
Students even asked for an additional session: Czech Republic in a Nutshell (Minorities, Genders, Czech History and Current issues), so we added a discussion over a brunch on these topics.
Each afternoon of the 3 day orientation is dedicated to orientation walks: one with Czech buddies, another is a scavenger hunt and the third one is a guided walk of the city.
After a free weekend, students start a 2-week intensive Czech language course – the vocabulary is focused on survival words and phrases as well as film language. In addition, immersive component is implemented in the curriculum. In Spring 2016 semester, students had an opportunity to attend ballet performance “Valmont” (http://www.narodni-divadlo.cz/en/show/7444) at the Estates Theatre (where W.A. Mozart had many of his premieres). They also had a half-day out-of-Prague excursion organized by Charles University’s Institute for Language and Preparatory Studies (UJOP) to the beautiful Dobříš chateau (http://www.zamekdobris.cz/en/) and its English park. Czech language teacher Luděk took students for the afternoon walk and a lunch (which they ordered solely in Czech) as well as to Žižkov television tower (http://towerpark.cz/en/) with its magnificent view of Prague and famous David Černý’s “Babies” sculptures. And he even managed to offer a unique opportunity: Jan Švankmajer’s (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0840905/) exhibition visit!
As a part of the orientation in the morning of 22nd January, four students of the Global Architecture and Design, together with faculty members departed to Třeboň for an adventure that would enrich their knowledge and broaden their horizons.
Mainly though, they hoped to discover the site that will be utilised as a semester project.
Třeboň is a town in the region of South Bohemia with rich and intriguing past that goes as far back as to the 12th century. The town's cultural life is as lively as its history, so it comes as no surprise that it will be hosting ANIFILM festival -- an international festival of animated films that will gather participants from all over the world. A group of our brave students set of to the beginnings of their journey, as they will be contributing to the event that takes place from 3rd to 8th May this year.
Despite the cold weather and rather not anticipated amount of snow, the students have enjoyed walking around the city, they paid a visit to Museum of Nature, where they found out not only about the nature of Třeboň and its surroundings, but its human-tied roots.