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7 posts categorized "Extracurricular"

05/18/2018

Spring 2018 Issue III

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Two Overnight excursions to Terezín&Auschwitz and Munich&Dachau - The Holocaust in the Films and Literature of Arnošt Lustig

Students of The Holocaust in the Films and Literature of Arnošt Lustig course, along with their Professor Josef (Pepi) Lustig, had a unique opportunity to travel and participate in specially designed overnight class excursions. Some of them have shared their trip experience with us.

'The best experience of Pepi Lustig’s class was the excursion in Munich, to the Dachau Concentration Camp. This experience was the most touching because it was the first trip we went on as a group, so we really got to bond as a class and with Professor Lustig. His knowledge about the history of the Holocaust is unlimited, and it was an honor to listen to him speak about Dachau and the atrocities committed there. All excursions were especially touching because our class truly got a different view of the Holocaust and the camps, which is why I think this class is so special and important.' - Gabriella Hagedorn, DePauw University

The first overnight excursion was to Munich and Dachau. The group of students visited Munich as the first stop of the excursion and had a guided tour of the historical Nazi parts of the city. The guide was very well prepared with multiple documents, pictures and maps which all helped students have an even better experience of visiting the historical places. A part of the excursion was also a visit of the Munich Documentation Centre for the History of National Socialism documenting and addressing the crimes of the Nazi dictatorship and their origins, manifestations and consequences right up to the present day. On the following day, the group led by professor Lustig visited the first concentration camp at Dachau. The Nazi government started the first concentration camp in Dachau, Germany, in March of 1933. It has been renovated and preserved as a memorial to those who suffered and died there between 1933 and its liberation in 1945. Dachau initially housed political prisoners; however, it eventually evolved into a death camp where thousands of Jews died from malnutrition, disease and overwork or were executed.

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Upon arriving in Dachau, the group was faced with weather that was all too fitting for the events that took place there in the past: with a fog so thick you could not see the building the group was walking to, cool breeze and sky so gloomy one could not help but feel the despair that still lingered in the air. Nevertheless, the students appreciated this weather even more since it gave them a very real glimpse into the suffering of the inmates that were once imprisoned there.

The second overnight excursion to Terezín and Auschwitz was pretty impressive as well. Students gained even more in depth knowledge about the Terezín work camp during a discussion with the Professor and also his aunt (on the day following the excursion). The next day in Auschwitz was full of moving adventures, from a visit of the Auschwitz concentration camp (where Professor Lustig's father himself was imprisoned for several years), walking around the Nazi Party headquarters to the visit of the concentration/extermination camp at Birkenau.

As students have said, visiting Dachau, Terezín and Auschwitz was an eye-opening experience in so many ways. For instance, Mrs. Hanna (Professor Lustig's aunt) provided our students with countless invaluable insights into what life in the camp was actually like since she had to endure the horrors of life in the camp herself. It is indispensable to visit the sites where these crimes against humanity were committed in order to understand the full extent of the Holocaust. All excursions with professor Lustig were a powerful experience.

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02/27/2018

SPRING 2018 Issue I

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Getting to know the Czech Republic

During the first weeks of Spring 2018 students' stay in the Czech Republic, CIEE Prague staff organized various different activities which enabled students to familiarize themselves with Czech culture, as it is crucial for students to learn about their host country so that they feel and can adapt better in terms of the culture shock.

Students had the opportunity to learn more about the Czech Republic in two lectures delivered by CIEE professors which were held during the on-site Orientation - Czech History Intro and Czech Republic Inside Out. Both of these lectures provided our students with the necessary background information in terms of Czech history and culture. For many students it was actually their very first time hearing about the creation of our country and our unique traditions and customs.

CIEE Prague staff also prepared an exceptional interactive competition for its students, as part of which they had the chance to test their knowledge related to the Czech Republic. An online orientation quiz was published at the end of the first week and students could compete against each other in terms of the facts covered during the Orientation. The winners received unique goodie bags full of Czech sweets and souvenirs.

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1st place – Klea Kalia (Barnard College)

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2nd place – Mary Koontz (University of Massachusetts Amherst)

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3rd place – Sam Rosenthal (Ursinus College)

Another way of introducing students to the Czech Republic was through an active exploration. At the end of the second week of the on-site Orientation day excursions outside Prague, as part of which students visited other regions of the country, were organized. The Czech Republic is often called the "land of castles" since it has the most castles and chateaus per square mile in the world. It is something that Czechs are very proud of and they enjoy spending their free time visiting these spectacular buildings. On the other hand, breweries and beer industry in general are key constituents of the Czech economy and beer itself plays an important part in Czech culture as well. During the day excursions students thus visited one of our beautiful castles and also had a tour of a local brewery. During the castle tours, they learned how the aristocrats lived in the past and also discovered how beer is made and what role it plays in the Czech economy. There were two different destinations students could choose from - the Sychrov Castle and the Svijany Brewery or the Křivoklát Castle and the Krušovice Brewery.

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A lot more activities enabling students to learn more about the Czech Republic will be organized during the semester and CIEE Prague truly believes that students will consider the Czech Republic to be their second home by the end of their study abroad adventure.

 

12/15/2017

FALL 2017 ISSUE III

CIEE Christmas Party

On the evening of December 11, CIEE Prague hosted its annual Christmas Party for all its students, professors, buddies, homestay families and CIEE Prague staff.

With Czech Christmas carols being played in the background and the delicious smell of some of the most traditional Czech Christmas dishes lingering in the air, the event started with the arrival of St. Nicholas, the patron of children and magical bringer of gifts, who was accompanied by Krampus, the Christmas Devil, and the Christmas Angel as one of the oldest Czech Christmas traditions dictates.
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After having been gifted small gifts from them, our students were invited to taste the Czech Christmas menu – fried carp, schnitzels, potato salad, mushroom-groats risotto dish called "Kuba", Christmas cookies and the Christmas bread (including gluten-free and vegan options).

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Students could also give a go to various Czech Christmas traditions and customs, as there were 4 Czech Christmas DIY stations. The 4 activities were ginger bread decorating, making of paper snowflakes and paper chains and floating walnut shells, an activity that Czechs do to tell each others' fortune.

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Students from all our 4 programs (Central European Studies Program, Communication, New Media & Journalism Program, Film Studies Program as well as the Global Architecture & Design Program) attended the event and had a jolly good time with all the other guests!

11/02/2017

FALL 2017 ISSUE II

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Excursion to the Morava Region

CES, CNMJ, FS and GAD program students, along with Eva and Zuzana, all had a unique opportunity to participate in extraordinary extracurricular excursions at the beginning of the semester. CIEE Prague staff came up with two brand new destinations for the Fall'17 semester.

The first excursion was an overnight one focused on the Moravia region. The objective of this trip was to explore the Moravian culture and to learn about its traditions and customs by visiting multiple interesting places.

The first stop on this trip was the magnificent and largest karst area in Central Europe – the Moravian Karst. The group walked through the caves leading to the famous Macocha Abyss, some 452ft deep gorge surrounded by eerie myths and legends. The tour then continued to the Punkva Caves, where the group sailed along the subterranean river Punkva. The Moravian Karst is, without any doubt, one of the Czech Republic's natural wonders which will wow every visitor. Many students mentioned the Moravian Karst as the highlight of the trip in the excursion feedbacks. Later on, after having tasted local dishes, the group of students and trip leaders were transported to Mikulov, one of the most beautiful towns in the Moravia region.

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The historical town of Mikulov is located in the south of Moravia, just a few kilometers away from Brno near the Czech-Austrian border. Located on the Palava hills and surrounded by vineyards, it is well-known for wine tasting. Since wine-growing and wine-making are essential elements of Czech culture, the group was introduced to different types of wine and nibbles that go with wine-tasting by a professional wine connoisseur in the evening.

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Fall in the Czech Republic is a very colorful and beautiful season (if it isn’t raining, of course). Although it rained during our second day in Mikulov, the students still enjoyed the Mikulov guided tour very much.

The group then visited one of Europe's most remarkable – the Lednice chateau, built in the English Neo-Gothic style. The chateau tour was a great experience, especially thanks to the guide. The Lednice chateau is not only about the splendid interiors and architecture, but the French-style garden with its palm tree greenhouse, the Masonic wall and the chateau grounds freely blending into the open countryside are also worth a look.

Excursion to Bohemian Switzerland

The other brand new excursion was a hike to the Pravčická Brána. This excursion was the most successful one out of all Fall'17 excursions – a waitlist for students who did not manage to sign up on time actually had to be created due to the immense interest. Despite the bad weather at the departure from Prague, everyone was full of hope that it would be sunny in the Bohemian Switzerland region, which it was when the group arrived at the destination.

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Since the excursion was actually a hike, it allowed us to explore more than just the Pravčická Brána, since the region offers a lot more landmarks and beautiful views. Having put on our hiking shoes, we set off on the marked trails to explore more of the region's beauty. We passed the romantic Hřensko gorges and the Gabriela's Trail, where you can see unusual sandstone rock formations.

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The Pravčická Brána indeed has a fairytale atmosphere, which is evidenced by the fact that the famous Danish fairytale author Hans Christian Andersen wrote part of his “Snow Queen” fairytale here. The landmark has also charmed Holywood filmmakers, as several scenes of the Narnia Chronicles were shot here.

02/10/2017

Spring 2017, Issue I

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Helping the local community

CIEE Prague Study Center has organized a Charity Date Auction as part of the Graduation Ball event for all study programs, in which all participants were Fall 2016 students. It was the second Date Auction in CIEE Prague’s history and it was a well-anticipated charity get together event.

The main goal of the Auction was to collect money to support the Život dětem Foundation (Life to Children Foundation), a non-profit organization established in 2000. After a discussion with the director of the Život dětem Foundation, CIEE has decided to hand over the raised amount of money to Karolínka. This 9 year-old girl was a victim of a very bad car accident six years ago, after which she became incontinent and had several back injuries. Unfortunately, these injuries were so serious that Karolínka can´t feel her legs. The collected money (4 600 CZK) from the Date Auction went to Karolínka's new wheelchair.

CIEE Study Center Director and Program Coordinator handed over the money to the Director of the Život dětem Foundation and obtained a certificate about having donated. This meeting has also been a great success in relation to a new project called “Kolíbanky” (Lullabies) which will be a part of the volunteering program. Students will get the chance to write a short story about the place where they live and send their region's typical lullaby to the radio where Kolíbanky will be promoted to kids. Or students can come right to the radio and record their lullaby on site.

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All CIEE Prague staff is involved in helping the local community continually throughout the year: some design volunteering programs and events, such as the Treasure Hunt for children from local orphanages and disadvantaged families, others support local businesses employing disabled or socially disadvantaged individuals by organizing program events in these cafes and restaurants. Apart from these long-term commitments, we also organize much bigger events to involve students, professors, buddies and staff. More people involved allows to collect much larger sums of money, which we can then use to help those who really need our support. It always warms our hearts to see that our efforts, no matter how big, make a real difference and brighten the lives of the less fortunate and motivates us to continue helping the local community.

11/12/2014

Fall 2014, Issue II

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Extracurricular programs

One of the goals of CIEE Study Center in Prague is to provide its students with as many opportunities as possible to get immersed in the Czech society. These immersion projects are organized in cooperation with local students and families who have a strong interest in the American culture. Two examples of these successful projects are Tandems and Meet Czech Families.

 Tandems

One of the extracurricular programs that our students can join is Tandems. This program started in Fall 2011 and it grew out of one of our programs One on One Teaching.

For tandems, students of all programs can sign up during orientation or at the Expo. (Expo is an extracurricular fair that is held during one afternoon of the second week of the intensive Czech language. This afternoon is dedicated to all extracurricular opportunities that students can join.)

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How does it work?

 At the “tandem gathering”, held at a local pub, CIEE invites local people interested in tandems. The tandem gathering is a lot of fun! It is done in the style of speed dating so everyone gets to talk to each person for a couple of minutes. Students then turn in a sheet at the end with a few preferences for tandem partners listed. CIEE then matches students up based on this and they receive their partner contact information by email.

It is expected that students spend about 30 percent of the meeting talking/practicing Czech, the rest can be done in English.

If students would like to receive up to 10% extra credit towards their Czech language grade, they meet at least 4x during the semester with their tandem partner and turn in a JOURNAL or ESSAY to CIEE by the end of semester. If not, they can just enjoy the tandem.

What do our students say?

“I gained a really close Czech friend. She is my closest Czech friend. I also got to see cool places that are actually where Czech people go. She helped me avoid tourist traps. She was great! I feel like we had a lot in common and we got along extremely well. This was one of my favorite parts about CIEE.”

“I gained a new Czech friend! I learned a lot about the differences in teenage culture and also about differences in what our families do for holidays.”

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Meet Czech Families

Another program that we offer for our students is Meet Czech Families. CIEE cooperates with several Czech families who are interested in meeting people from other cultures! Meeting local people is an important part of our students´ stay if they want to be more than just a tourist but may be too difficult to do on their own. Family plays an important part in the lives of Czech people and it is quite hard to penetrate the Czech culture without experiencing the family life. Family visits are a great opportunity for Czech kids to meet someone from a different culture and for the adults to show you a piece of their culture. Entering a Czech household and being part of a Czech family is an opportunity that many non-Czechs wish to have.

Students can sign up during orientation or at the Expo. Students who are interested in this program fill in a motivation letter, so do all the families. Then, they are matched up by CIEE based on their preferences.

 What do our students say?

 

“Meeting with a Czech family was one of the most worthwhile experiences I had in Prague. Getting to know a family from a different background (cultural, political, socioeconomic, spiritual) gave me a real idea what the „Czech“ perspective is. Not to mention IT WAS A BLAST! It was like having younger brothers all over again. The best part of spending time with my family was that they walked me home, with their dog, after every visit. They also cooked dinner for me every time I visited. I would like to give everyone one piece of advice, DON’T BE AFRAID TO CALL THE FAMILIES. These families are waiting for your call and are filled to the brim with excitement to meet you.”

 

 

“Well, my start of Czech family program was same as everyone: I called and made appointment and then Zuzana gave me a map and directions. I brought flower, and felt a bit nervous before ringing the bell, but the fear soon disappeared after huge smile & cookies welcomed me:). We talked general things such as "why you chose Czech Republic" "what is the population of Tokyo" "What Czech food did you eat ", etc. and it was so much fun because they (mother and 10years old boy) can’t speak English well therefore we used a lot of body language, guessing, simple words such as 'good' or 'bad' which I knew in Czech, so no matter what topic we were talking, it became an "achievement" and we felt satisfied when we reached conclusion.”

 

 

“My family visited them when they came to Prague, it was amazing to see my mom talking with my Czech mother, dad with Czech grandpa, and all of the people ate my grandma's special dishes.”

 

 

Experience of a Czech family:

 

Dear CIEE,

 

Meeting with CIEE students is a very pleasent and useful activity. I have welcomed the possibility to hear native speakers again and to be able to improve my verbal skills. My student spoke slower taking into consideration my ability to understand each word. Through discussion with her, I also found out many things from life of Americans, quite a bit of American facts and, I believe, that she also found out some details about life in the Czech Republic. I was not bored at any of our activities. Both sided exchange of experiences was very interesting. I would like to thank CIEE for this chance.

 

I am again interested in this program next semester. I consider meeting of people from other countries beneficial. Thank you for everything.

 

This is translation from feedback email to CIEE on the Czech Families program….

 

 

 

05/23/2014

Spring 2014, Issue III

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CIEE Prague Highlights 2014!

 

Central European Studies (CES)

 

 

Film Studies (FS)

 

 

Communication, New Media + Journalism (CNMJ)

 

 

Global Architecture and Design (GAD)