Prague through artists' eyes
"Everyone's passion and imagination seems to elevate mine with each conversation I have" - Addison K.
From the start, the group bonded quickly at JFK. Students jumped right, in showing each other pictures of their art and passion projects, debated best and worst books from high school English class, and chatted about Czech foods they planned to try. While the 7+ hour flight to Prague was certainly long, students kept an atmosphere of positivity. And, the biggest accomplishment: no misplaced passports or luggage!
Kamila, our Program Coordinator, greeted us happily at the airport with water, snacks, and a van to take us to our "apartment" hotel. After a quick hour break, students mustered the energy for orientation, a neighborhood walk, and our first of many group dinners. The apartment hotel is comfortable and in a great location. Students are mainly rooming as pairs or trios, and there is one group of four.
There is something quite special about traveling with students who have a love for appreciating the details. An outsider watching our group of 30 navigate through the streets of Prague may notice students with film cameras, creative outfits, lots of chatty conversation, and students always looking UP to admire the detail in buildings.
Here are some things we've noticed in our first 24 hours:
- "People care about their plants! It is so cool. There are so many great plants and gardens around." - Biz
- "Streets and squares are very people conscious and pedestrian accessible (for the able bodied)." - Paige
- "Everything is so detailed here and there's so much beautiful greenery!" - Ava
- "There are fewer trash cans compared to America" - Ngoc
- Customer service is not the same! "I had an experience at the corner store this morning when a lady was rude when I pressed the wrong button for my credit card" - Ella
- People stare: A group of 4 students went on a morning jog (impressive on the first jet-lagged morning!) and noticed that people were curiously observing
Tastes of Prague
Our group had an overwhelmingly positive consensus that we thouroughly enjoyed our first group dinner. Menu options included corn-fed chicken and risotto, beef roll, grilled pork neck, salad with smoked tenderloin, and pan-fried and battered cauliflower. And, we will not soon forget the delicious desserts. We will be dining together for lunch daily at a local spot near the students' classroom site. At the beginning of each week, students complete a form indicating their meal preference for each lunch. There are a wide variety of options to try, including Czech soups! Dinners will vary between student choice in small groups and group dinner reservations planned by Kamila.
Week 1: Painting
This morning, we are enthusiastically beginning our first topic of the week: painting. Guided by three Czech instructors, students have been prompted not to view art as "that", or one specific idea, but to view art as LIFE. All students recieved a canvas and will first develop an abstract piece, followed by a portrait painting that uses the initial abstract work as a backdrop. The excitement in the room was palpable as students admired the art on the walls in their classroom, chose their canvas's orientation, and chatted about their previous experience with painting.
We look forward to 3 weeks full of the opportunity to view art and that which we notice around us as life, more chances to try great Czech food, and of course, wonderful friendships.