3 Classes I Took on CIEE's Central European Studies Program in Prague

Programs for this blog post

Central European Studies

By: Summer Ellis

When going abroad, a general stereotype that I heard from so many past students was how classes might be easy and uninteresting. Instead, the sole reason for going abroad is the incredible travel and cultural immersion opportunities you will have. Having heard this over and over, I was ready for this to be my reality abroad, but excited nevertheless. Yet when I first began my classes in Prague, I was taken aback by how different my experience was from these so-called myths. 

I studied abroad in the fall of 2023 in The Czech Republic through the CIEE Central European Studies program. I made it a goal to take classes that related to the region where I could learn in the classroom and then see with my own eyes. Now after returning, I recommend this path to everyone who goes abroad. 

One class I took, Cold War Confrontation, became a center point of my thoughts abroad. I was constantly intrigued by the depth of information in the region I chose! I was able to experience landmarks through a field trip highlighting all the communist focal points and resistance movements in Prague. Additionally, when I traveled to the Balkan Countries, Slovakia, and Hungary, I found myself finding places that related to the materials we discussed. These discoveries energized my travels and left me in greater wonder. 

Another class I took, a politics class at Charles University, highlighted the different political regimes in Eastern Europe. The differences between the Czech Republic and other countries in the region began to appear more and more as I traveled. This class provided the context for me to appreciate my surroundings. 

Lastly, my school required that I take a Czech class while I was abroad. Being my only required class, I went into it with the expectation to go through the motions. This ended up being one of my favorite classes as many laughs and smiles encompassed the experience of learning the Czech culture. I could get by in my local coffee shop, talk with Czech friends, and learn to appreciate the country so much more. 

All in all, be ready to be surprised when you go abroad. Some things you believe you won’t enjoy may be the best experience of it all. Be open to the shock of the beautiful world, you never know what you may find!