Studying abroad is overwhelming, it really is. Especially in my case where we traveled to so many places. Prague was a breath of fresh air to my culture-shocked self. Because Prague is a smaller city than many of the ones we visited, I didn’t have to worry about the hustle and bustle of a metro or carrying around a map of a huge city. Another huge plus for this city was that I felt safe in Prague. Walking with only a couple of other girls in the middle of the night is not something I would even do in my own city, but Prague had a very relaxed atmosphere.
Because I felt so comfortable in Prague, I truly enjoyed every second I was in the city. This place offered everything from a rich history to wild nights to a medieval performance.
Now that I have given you my emotional connection to Prague, I’ll give you my day to day experience with some advice for your future trip to the Czech Republic (because you should definitely go).
After our longer-than-expected train ride from Berlin, we arrived to the station in Prague. Taxis were waiting outside to bring us to our four star hotel (which was a palace compared to the hostels we had been staying in). It was dinner time by the time everyone had made it to the hotel, so the group walked around the corner to eat. We had a celebration dinner for our arrival in the new city. Although some of us celebrated more than enough at dinner, we called it a night after that because we had class early the next morning.
Class assembled in our professor’s suite each morning in Prague. Our first day, we headed into town for a bus/walking tour. By the time we made it there, we had missed the tour so we had to wait a few hours for the next one. Meanwhile, we explored. We shopped around Wencelas Square and visited one of Prague’s most popular markets Havelske trziste. Our bus tour took us through the old town, new town and little town of Prague (I know, I love the original names too). The walking tour began at the Prague castle. We weren’t able to go inside, but we did tour an amazing church right outside of the castle. Behind the castle was an amazing view of the whole city of Prague. The city isn’t huge, so I really enjoyed the walking tour because we were able to engage in the town while viewing many famous sites such as Prague’s astronomical clock and St. Nicholas Church.
That night was one of my favorites of the whole trip. We went to the largest club in Central Europe- Karlovy Lazne. The club was five stories tall, with one floor being an ice bar. Yes, the ice bar is just as it sounds. Everything is made of ice. The time in the ice bar is limited due to the extremely cold temperature, but we had the time our of lives for those twenty minutes. All of the other floors are separated by different music genres. We bounced around all of the floors that night having fun and meeting tons of new people. Our group dwindled down as the night went on. Eventually, the few of us left walked our way across town back to Hotel Suite Home.
Enjoying the ice bar
Our next day in Prague, we visited Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. We were truly honored to have the chance to visit this exclusive organization and have media professionals share their insight with us. We had taken taxis to the location, but when it was time to leave no taxis were around to pick us up. We questioned our professor, but this was just one of his many secret plans. He made it clear in the beginning of our trip that not only did he want us to learn about mass media, but also learn life lessons along our way. His challenge to us was to find our way home. Of course none of us paid attention to the route on our way there, so we were stumped. We found our way eventually, but this experience stuck with me because being independent in a foreign place is one of the many lessons that my professor taught me.
At night we had the most memorable dinner of our whole trip. We went to one of the oldest pubs in the city known as the Medieval Tavern. There we met three LSU graduates that currently live in Prague. Of course I questioned the PR graduate on her experience the whole time, but during our conversation we were accompanied by a performance we were not expecting. The show was extravagant. Our waiters were dressed as if they were from medieval times and would periodically play music and perform. First the belly dancer, then the swordsmen, then a nerve-wracking fire show by the both of them. This dinner was probably my favorite because I was not expecting the performance at all and I had the chance to meet the very helpful LSU grads who inspired me even more to pursue my traveling plans.
After a routine morning of breakfast and class, we visited the Kafka Museum on our last day in Prague . If you have never heard of Franz Kafka, I would suggest doing some research and reading some of his writings. He was an interesting man to say the very least. We had the rest of the day free to roam around the city, so my friends and I did some sightseeing. We visited the John Lennon wall, which is graffitied with his lyrics all over. We visited the first ever lock bridge, much like the well-known one in Paris. Lastly, we shopped along the main strip and then headed back to the hotel.
John Lennon Wall
My night ended watching the sunset with my roommates on our window sill. This was the best moment of my whole trip because I realized so much about myself as I sat there. It’s not an experience that I can really explain, but my time in Prague definitely helped shaped my new outlook on the world and my life.
Lastly, I’ll share with you something I wrote in my journal that night. In just a couple of sentences, my emotional experience is summarized…
“I cannot explain the emotions this city has brought me – joy, peace and believe it or not happiness. I can’t wait to come back here again one day.”