Last Sunday (or technically Monday, I guess) I arrived in Prague for a semester abroad. I’ll be studying abroad here for about 4 months. I took a six-hour flight to Dublin and from there, took about a two-hour flight to Prague. It was crazy to finally end up here because I have literally been planning this trip for what feels like forever.
After stepping out of the airport I immediately knew that Prague fell nothing short of what I expected. The whole city looks like a fairytale land and leaves no room for complaints at all.
After arriving at the airport we immediately were driven to the dorms that we would be staying in for the semester. I am living in Kolej Komenského, which is one of the two international dormitories. As far as the living spaces go, they are okay. Each room is equipt with a lil’ kitchen that contains a fridge, hotplate, and counter space/cabinets, two bedrooms, and a bathroom. I am living in a single room, and share my “suite” with another person who is in a single room as well. I won’t lie, the outsides of the dorms are a bit dingy, but the bedrooms themselves do the job just fine. I finally purchased a rug, and a plant to make my room feel a bit more “homey” and it helped a ton.
The dorms come with bedding and towels but kitchen utensils and pots/pans, etc. can be found in the community room. You can basically take whatever you need from the massive surplus in the “community room”. You just have to return the dishes after you use them. This isn’t a bad deal at all, as I was expecting to purchase all of my own pots and pans when I first arrived to my room.
Our dorm rooms are also extremely close to two different tram stops. Prague is essentially a walking city. However, destinations further along can be easily accessible through the public transportation tram system. I’m still trying to get the hang of the routes for these trams, but so far they have been extremely helpful for navigating the city.
Although I have only been in Praha (that’s Czech for Prague by the way) for 1 week, I definitely feel a bit more connected to the city already. Last week Rob and I spent almost every day exploring the “ins and outs” of the city and it has helped a lot. After a night of walking, we found out that our dorm building is a 5-10 minute walk from the Prague Castle, and Charles Bridge. I’m looking forward to warmer weather, so I can run down to the city center every morning and get some good ol’ fresh air!
Last week we also started our intensive Czech language course. Here, we learn the basics of the language and some important cultural aspects that the Czechs follow. What have I learned so far? First of all, Czech is a HARD language. I spent 10 hours (each day of class is 5 hours) in class, and one of the only vocabulary words I retained was Pes (the Czech word for dog). I also learned that Czech people don’t like to smile or make small talk.
In other words, you typically don’t ask a Czech person how they are doing, you don’t smile at a Czech person, and you don’t say hello to any Czech person whom you don’t know. I find all of this a bit tough, as I am used to making small talk with strangers in places as simple as the grocery store at home, BUT I guess this is something that I will become accustomed to eventually.
Another important aspect of the Czech culture is beer, or Pivo (wow, I’m surprising myself with the remembrance of this vocabulary word). Most Czech people have beer with almost every meal. I’ve noticed that it isn’t uncommon to see a Czech person causally drinking a beer during their lunch break. Beers are sold on the streets, in cafes, in restaurants, and even at McDonalds.
So far, Prague has treated me very nicely. I am looking forward to seeing what the rest of the semester has in store for me! Have you ever been to Prague? What did you think?!