One of our Czech flat buddies Zuzana Špoutilová shared with us her experience how it is to live with American students:
This is my second semester as a flat buddy and I can’t be happier. Two years ago, I was sitting in a classroom as a second-year student of political science and I was listening to my professor of comparative politics. Suddenly, a student who worked for CIEE entered our classroom and gave us a presentation on the Flat Buddy Program. That presentation caught my attention and I thought it could be a cool and interesting experience to live with American students. A year later when I was studying in Paris as an exchange student I realised that I would really appreciate having a French flat buddy to show me secret Parisian places or help me to understand French culture more, or simply I would like to have someone with whom I can talk to when I felt a bit lost or homesick. Therefore, I applied for the Flat Buddy Program and I was very happy when I received an email saying that I was accepted into the program. I got in touch with my future flatmates immediately when I received their emails. We had tried to find out what we liked before we met. And it really paid off when students arrived in January we weren’t shy or nervous to talk to each other and we discovered that we shared the same interests.
We have started going to the galleries together, cinemas and coffeeshops together. Our first stop was the National Gallery of Prague. We decided to see an exhibition about art groups which were active during the First Czechoslovak Republic. A few days later we went for a drink to a bar within the well-known cinema, Světozor. As we were having wine one film director came to us and we chatted with him about films over an hour. A week after we went to the cinema again to see the Favourite and I purposely chose one of the smallest cinemas in Prague. I really want students to see new spots which they might be interesting for them.
From the beginning of their stay in Prague, I tried to show them the Czech culture and explain things which they could find a bit weird or confusing. Therefore, we talked a lot about Czech customs and traditions which seemed to be bizarre for them, for example, Saint Nicolas Day or Easter Monday.
We have spent a lot of time together and every week we try to go out and explore new places in Prague. I am happy that we have become friends and that we want to spend time together. Of course, there are some differences between us because we come from different backgrounds. But in the end, it is not important at all as long as we talk about things we can solve any problem or misunderstanding.