Off to Prague

On February 2, 2020, I boarded a plane to Prague with one suitcase and very little knowledge of the city that I was about to live in. I had been told numerous times that Prague was a beautiful city, and that was enough to convince me to study abroad there. Upon arrival, I quickly discovered that Prague is more than just a beautiful city. With endless must-see sights, quaint cafes, and vibrant nightlife, Prague is a true European treasure.

Taken by Kelly Kingston on the Charles Bridge

Prague College, an International College

Within this treasure lies Prague College, a gem of its own, where I, along with eight other IFSA students, had the opportunity to study. Because Prague College is an international university, we were constantly meeting new students from all over the world. One of my classes only had seven students in it, but those seven students represented six different countries. Coming from American universities lacking diversity, Prague College’s culture was a huge benefit for my whole IFSA group. Madison Thomas, when reflecting on a group project where they analyzed different marketing techniques at a local Czech restaurant, said, “It was a lot of fun getting to know new people while sharing a delicious meal. We all have different ideas or viewpoints that make a conversation interesting and unique. I will forever be grateful for the memories made through Prague College and their diverse culture.”

Madison Thomas, enjoying a traditional Czech meal with students from Prague College.

Interaction With Professors

Andrew Gast and Kelly Kingston exploring Old Town Square.

Along with being incredibly diverse, Prague College employs quality professors that encourage student collaboration and care about the well-being of every student. Because my IFSA group was sent home mid-semester due to Covid-19, we experienced our professors’ willingness to work with us on a whole new level. Our professors went out of their way to record lectures, change class times, and extend deadlines, all for the sake of aiding us in our transition back to America.
Andrew Gast, when reflecting on his educational experience at Prague College, stated that, “Prague College pushed me to meet and work with a number of new people, and consistently kept me intrigued in lectures with new information. The professors were very willing to help on a personal level and this is something that carried over online, even with all the new challenges presented. I’m really satisfied with how much I learned in my short time in Prague and at Prague College, and I continue to see myself growing as a result.”

Staying Connected

In addition to supporting students in the classroom, Prague College offers a variety of extracurriculars to keep students connected and engaged. At the beginning of the semester, the university hosted a welcome week to help new students acclimate to the school and meet other students. Welcome week events, along with other events throughout the semester, were very beneficial in helping me and the other IFSA students maintain a social life in a new environment. A fellow student, Erika Lu, participated in Prague College’s art auction called Art for Australia to fundraise for Australian wildfire relief. Erika explained, “I created four paintings to auction and volunteered at the event. It was an extraordinary experience for me because I’m a computer science major back at my home college, but I got to live the experience of being a fine arts student promoting and selling my work for charity.”

Erika Lu’s paintings

Even after switching to the Digital Campus, Prague College remained committed to keeping students connected. The university hosted a variety of online events, such as pub quizzes, concerts, and a career fair. Because of all of the opportunities for engagement, even after returning to America, I still felt connected to the university.

Reflecting and Returning

Though Prague College’s Digital Campus kept me connected, returning to America was one of the most difficult moments of my life. I was not ready to leave the city that I had fallen in love with. Because of Prague College, the incredible friends that I had made, and the endless adventures that the city had to offer, I was devastated that I had to leave. Kelly Kingston experienced similar feelings, and she is already planning her return to Prague. When discussing her time abroad, Kelly stated, “On top of the hundreds of reasons I am so glad I chose Prague, one of the most valuable ones was the location of the country. The Czech Republic sits in the very center of Europe which makes weekend travels to other countries so much easier. During my time there, I took two trips to Austria and one to Germany. I was happy that the time to get to other countries was fairly short so that I could see as much as possible on a weekend away.”

Kelly Kingston in front of Prague’s famous “Dancing House”

Though Prague is ideally located for traveling through Europe, you very well may find yourself not wanting to leave. With all that Prague has to offer, there is truly no better place for a college student to live. The many coffee shops, the abundance of nightclubs, and the ease with which you can travel the city on public transportation are comparable to none other. The distinctive culture, the delicious food, and the magical aura have travelers entranced within their first day in the city. Anyone that has lived in Prague can attest to the fact that it is more than just a beautiful city, and I am truly blessed to have had the opportunity to discover this European treasure.

Prague, thank you from the bottom of my heart, for the best five weeks of my life.

Madison Burgett is a Marketing, Entrepreneurship and Innovation major at Butler University and studied abroad with IFSA’s Reimagining Europe program in Prague, Czech Republic in Spring 2020.