Spring 2017, Issue II
Faculty-led and Custom programs are becoming increasingly popular and Prague has become one of the top travel destinations. In 2014, CIEE Study Centre in Prague hosted its first and only faculty let program of that year. The number of these short term programs has rapidly grown over the past two years and twelve programs are scheduled to take place in the capital of the Czech Republic in 2017.
The Faculty-led programs season of 2017 kicked off at the beginning of March with a one week program called “Macroeconomics and the legacy of Communism in the Czech Republic” for Marymount University. 18 students and 2 faculty members participated in the program.
As the group had only one week in Prague, the agenda was carefully planned to ensure they could see, learn and experience as much as possible. The entire group had the opportunity to visit unique organizations as well as to meet interesting members of the Czech society. Among the organizations our group visited was Libri Prohibiti, a library which has a unique collection of samizdat literature. During this site visit the group also met Jiří Guntorád, who is the founding member of this organization and who used to publish books that were forbidden by communist authorities and supported local writers during communism in the Czech Republic.
A big part of the program were guest lectures with local professors and scholars. The topics of these lectures mainly concentrated on political, historical and economical aspects of the Czechoslovakia during the communist era. Nonetheless, the guest lectures also included current topics, such as the Brexit.
The group also travelled outside of Prague to the small town of Příbram, where they visited the Vojna Lešetice Memorial – a former labor camp. They learned about the dark side of Czech history, when political prisoners were forced to work in uranium mines during the communist era. At the end of the trip the group also visited Svatá Hora, a beautiful Baroque monastery where pilgrims from all around the Czech Republic travel to as it is believed to have magical healing powers.
CIEE team also planned various extracurricular activities for Marymount students. One of them was a high culture event at the National Theatre. Students dressed up for the cultural evening and attended an opera performance, Die Kluge/Der Mond, which was based on the fairy tales of the Grimm brothers.
Another extracurricular activity which proved to be a great success was a cooking lesson. The event took place in the Study Center and all students, who were divided into smaller groups, learned to cook some of the traditional Czech meals. On the menu were delicious potato pancakes, potato salad, rum balls and open sandwiches. The group was joined by a local student from the Charles University who taught them to cook like a local. Students could not only learn to cook Czech specialties, but they also had the opportunity to interact with locals of their age.
The first faculty let program of 2017 has proven to be a great success and the Prague team is now preparing for a busy summer, eagerly awaiting the arrival of the next group of students.