To this day, Prague remains one of my all-time favorite cities. This is, in large part, due to the hospitality and passion of the ESAC proprietors – Kristine and David.
They are dedicated teachers, observers, listeners, tour guides, and friends. They are well-connected into Czech culture and are dedicated to helping each student navigate an enriching experience.
The city – its standing in the world, its people, its development – is full of hesitancies, but also boldness. And thus, makes for a rich academic and cultural experience.
I attended this program the summer of 2005, so I anticipate there may be some improvements and changes since then. This review is based on my experience.
Each day started off with optional language and culture courses (should be mandatory and even a little longer). I enjoyed easing my way into the day with this course and it gave me the confidence I needed to navigate the city.
I was there on an independent study course for my master's degree in political science, so my experience was unique to the other students there working on undergrad degrees.
Kristine was supportive and attentive to my unique needs and challenges and served as a great mentor. I was able to attend classes, as my schedule allowed, but then was offered plenty of time for research and meetings with business and government officials.
The month-long program offered a great balance of academics and tourism, although I wish I had stayed an extra week to spend more time at some favorite spots away from the big group. For the most part, the program is setup to keep the group together for all activities. This is great for extroverts, but a little challenging for introverts who need some solo time to recharge.
The food is protein and carb heavy and a bit bland. As a vegetarian, I had to seek out produce and ended up buying groceries so I had healthier options. Finding time to eat a nutritious meal between all the scheduled activities was my biggest challenge.
The excursions were a lot of fun. It's helpful to have trusted mentors to help navigate your adventure. They know the best places to go, and when. And this makes sightseeing stress-free and absolutely delightful.
Overall, I'm still quite fond of my Prague academic adventure. I light up when someone mentions the city or asks about my experience. I can't imagine a more magical city to live in for one month and explore new academics and new culture.