I always knew that I wanted to study abroad, but it wasn’t long before the date when I had to submit my study abroad application that I found out where I wanted to go. To me, Prague and the Czech Republic were largely off of the radar. I had only passed over the city in readings and knew little to nothing about its culture and history. I only decided to go because the CET program had no language requirement. It turned out that going to Prague; however, was one of the best decisions I’ve made.
The CET Central European Studies program was great. My classes not only taught me about the Czech Republic, but helped to foster a more nuanced understanding of all of Central Europe and ultimately the entire European continent, its history and its culture. In addition to the hisrory, which I really enjoyed, my classes introduced me to Czech Literature and authors such as Milan Kundera who I have continued to read since returning home. While academically stimulating, the classes were not too demanding either. This was good because it enabled me a great deal of free time to enjoy the city and also enough time to volunteer as an English instructor at a local children’s center, adding an important internship to my resume and providing an invaluable experience.
As for Prague and the Czech Republic itself, I don’t think that I could have picked a better location. Being centrally located within Europe, Prague makes it very easy for students to explore other parts of the continent. I was fortunate enough to independently visit Amsterdam, Italy, and even see family in several German cities. Other students on the program also went as far as Spain to the West and Turkey to the East. Many programs would not allow for such opportunities. The program itself also had a large travel component, so students who did not wish to travel independently were able to see many other countries along with the program. CET took us to Krakov in Poland, Budapest in Hungary, Vienna in Austria, and also several other picturesque Czech towns and cities. The cost of these trips were included in the program’s tuition, and this travel component ended up being one of my favorite aspects of the program. Still, even without travel, there is no reason to leave Prague, because the city itself is so wonderful. For a college student, Prague has everything you need: comprehensive and efficient public transit, a plethora of pubs on every block with ridiculously cheap and delicious beer, a vibrant and welcome local college aged population, music and museums, and much more. The only bad part of the Prague program was having to come home.
In addition to the courses and the city itself, the CET staff is very friendly and helpful. Going to another country for an extended period of time can be intimidating, and it is very helpful to have a support group who you are comfortable asking any questions and who really make it their obligation to ensure your comfort. This is exactly what I got. Overall, I couldn’t give the program any higher rating. I wish I was still in Prague and I hope to return soon!