My First Week in Prague

St. Vitus Cathedral in the Prague Castle

Dobry Den! It’s hard to believe I’ve already been living here for over two weeks! After an exhausting flight from Sioux Falls,South Dakota to Chicago to London to Prague, it was hard to imagine the day when I would call Prague my home! Prague has been a truly amazing experience so far although I am still experiencing some culture shock, which I have to remind myself, is only natural.

The Czech culture is more reserved than the American culture. It’s not easy to strike up a conversation with a total stranger about the weather or their weekend plans, in fact, that conversation would probably leave me with strange stares. That’s not to say that a Czech person will not help you in a time of need like the time I was wandering aimlessly in hopes of finding my flat. Note to self: Do not just follow the “big” tower in hopes of going the right way… I am a little embarrassed to admit that I have absolutely no sense of direction in this city or sense of time. It all adds to the adventure, I suppose.

I don’t want to bore you so let me fill you in on some of my adventures week by week before I get lost talking about the other time I was lost…

Week One: We had our first roommate dinner at an Italian restaurant, conveniently located below our apartment; this all started my obsession with pizza in Europe. We came on this journey across the world as complete strangers and now I feel as if we have been friends for years. It’s surreal how quickly lifelong friends can be made within a few short days. There are so many different cafes around every corner with foods from all over the world. Don’t get me started on the food, it’s delicious. We had our first experience at a Czech grocery store, which was amusing trying to figure out what we were buying. Thankfully we had our Czech teacher Magda to help us learn the basics of a buying the necessities so hopefully I won’t be buying any sour milk.

Prague Castle
Looking through an archway in the Prague Castle

I also did a lot of the “touristy” activities that are essential when visiting Prague. ISA set up a guided tour of the Prague castle and the views were honestly inexplicably beautiful. The red rooftops and castle overlooking the Vltava River were right out of fairy tale. The culture and history in Prague is so rich, my pictures will have to do the explaining because my words simply will not suffice.

A beautiful view of Prague from the castle

Our first ISA excursion was to Kutna Hora, a city in Bohemia. The landscape was open and picturesque. It was a silver mining town in medieval times, we even had the opportunity to tour the mine. The highlight of Kutna Hora is the Gothic church of St. Barbara and there was even a wedding going on, so beautiful! Week two was filled with Intensive Czech language class everyday. We even went to eat a traditional Czech meal with our professor and ordered in Czech. I ordered smazeny syr a hranolky: “fried cheese with potatoes.” It is a Czech and Slovak cheese-based dish and is a mouthful to say and to eat.

Smazeny syr a hranolky: "fried cheese with potatoes"

For the weekend, I booked a bus to Budapest with a few friends. Budapest is probably one of my favorite cities but of course I am biased about Prague. It is similar to Prague but the architecture is much different. I met friends from Spain, Italy, Turkey, and all over Europe in Hungary. My adventures are just beginning and I can’t wait to share more as the weeks go by. Na shledanou!

A Czech wedding taking place outside of St. Barbara Cathedral in Kutna Hora

By Kaitlin Christenson

Author: International Studies Abroad (ISA)

Since 1987, International Studies Abroad (ISA) has provided college students in the United States and Canada the opportunity to explore the world. ISA offers a wide variety of study abroad programs at accredited schools and universities in 73 program locations throughout the world.

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