Just as the Spring Semester started up for every one at UMW, I headed off to grand ol’ Prague for the beginning of my very own European adventure! As I write this it’s technically Monday here in Prague (midnight) and NFL Sunday is well under way in the States….and everyone here is also enjoying the live streaming of the playoff games, its really great because it eases the homesickness that some (but not all) of us are feeling. My program is run by the University Studies Abroad Consortium (USAC) based in Las Vegas, Nevada which sounds insignificant, right? Wrong! The majority of universities in this consortium are based in the West/Midwest which means that when I arrived to Prague on Saturday afternoon I experienced culture shock on multiple levels. All of my classmates are American except for two girls from South Korea who go to Yonsei University (Yonsei is a USAC member) they hail mostly from like California, Iowa, and Idaho. There’s little….”ethnic” diversity among us….there’s little “ethnic” diversity in Prague….and since I’m Hispanic and heavily involved in activities at the James Farmer Multicultural Center throughout the year this diversity or lack thereof is a BIG deal to me and worth mentioning!

Onto first impressions on Prague itself, in two days I have walked around A LOT in the city, in the Old Towne Square area (ie, tourist central) the streets are small and winding and the sidewalks are made of cobblestone, its beautiful but I have been too tired to really enjoy it. Our program gives its students really great housing, I mean REALLY great housing and I would recommend this USAC program to anyone from UMW just on this fact alone. Our housing is apartments, so all the students live in 3 complexes all close to eachother, about a block from Metro, grocery store and a 15-minute walk to the Old Towne Square. The apartments have very spacious rooms, clean kitchens, and seperate shower and toilet, even a washer (no dryer though!)..it’s just a really great value for how much your paying and so far living in Czech feels very affordable.

Prague has been great on all accounts from what I have seen, however its weakest point for me has been the food! Czechs seem to like their food peppery, loaded with carbs, and LOVE their beer (beer capital of the world is what I’ve heard..and I’m not surprised). I’ve had two authenthic Czech meals: schnitzel (basically fried chicken) with fried cauliflower and something that looked like potato salad; the other meal consisted of a broccoli soup followed by beef in a gravy sauce with dumplings (tasted like mushy/soft bread) needless to say I hit the grocery store after our orientation and stocked up on all the fixings necessary for a sandwich, cereal, milk, and a little bit of fruit!

First day of school is today at 9 am and we’ll all be heading to bed after the excitement of NFL sunday winds down. Phew! It’s been an incredibly busy two days and I’ll be sure to share more as time goes on! I’ll post pictures at the end!

 

Fun Facts about Prague (that I’ve learned so far)
-urinating in public is not illegal
-beer is cheaper to buy than water