Datum: 6. 12. 2016
Julia is an exchanges students from the USA, spending her year abroad in the Czech Republic. She's enjoying life with her host family, school activities and even learning Czech! Read her story, which she has originally published in September on her personal blog.
"Prague wasn't very crowded compared to NYC...."
As I get more and more settled the need, for me, to write such frequent posts is lowering. Less and less makes me think "wow this is really strange I should write home about it" and stuff like that. In the time since my last post, not a whole lot has happened. I visited Prague about three times which was nice. It's a beautiful town with really pretty buildings (which I'm a sucker for) and for me it wasn't very crowded (compared to my trips to NYC). Ate some candy that's illegal in the US. I also had my first two days of school, that was weird, I'm not sure if I like it or not. Ate a lot of ice cream. Last night there was a cook out to 'honor' people who participated in a triathlon the sport club my host dad owns, I think.
"I loved just walking around and seeing the buildings and people..."
So, Prague, it's a very pretty city and a very old one as well. For me, the architecture and beauty of things in this city/country is one of the reasons I decided to come here. I'll put a bunch of photos under for you to look at. I went three times, twice for language classes and once with my host sister Misa to just walk around. The language classes, I don't have much to say about them; we sat in a room and learned stuff, no sightseeing involved. So let's focus on the trip with Misa. It was very interesting because 1- I'm horrible with public transportation and especially with directions/info in another language and 2- Misa also isn't good with directions so we got lost, a lot. We ended up being able to find Charles Bridge which was super super super pretty, I really liked it and we visited a university but the name is evading be right now. Besides those two locations we kinda just wandered around and hoped for the best. I think she felt bad we didn't see more 'big' things but I really enjoyed it because I loved just walking around and seeing the buildings and just the people. The subway is way nicer than NYC, it was super clean, like really really clean. I was talking with my host dad about how the buildings were so nice and how we didn't have anything like that back in the US and his immediate answer was, "because you have no history." I got a huge laugh out of that and well, it's true.
"Illegal candy was just a Kinder Surprise Egg..."
The illegal candy bit was just a Kinder Surprise egg. They're illegal in the US because I guess they thing kids will try to eat the plastic but the plastic egg is pretty big and very obviously not food. The chocolate was good but not as crazy good as people make it seem. My host family had a lot of laughs over the fact that it's illegal. Okay, so now let's talk about my school. I go to a school that was named after a famous Czech writer and it's a pretty tiny school. There's like 300 kids in the entire school and compared to the 300+ in my grade back in CO, very small. I told my friends/family here that my school in CO has 1.2k people and is considered small and they thought that was crazy. I also showed them my school on Google maps and they think just the student parking lot is huge. In my school, I'm in one class and those kids and I have everything together. We travel as a group from room to room and I'm pretty sure they've all been in the same class together for a few years. There's around 25 kids in my class and the majority of them are girls. I don't really do anything in class because it's all in Czech, I mostly just sit and play with my pen or talk to the kids next to me. For me, it's hard to not do anything in class because I'm used to contributing a lot in classes and being a 'smart kid'. The kids in my class are like teenagers anywhere but they're generally nice. The school system works completely different so it's super confusing for me; I normally just follow someone around and hope for the best. I have to take a public bus to and from school, which I haven't done yet, so we'll see how that goes on Monday.
"They dedicated some American English songs to me..."
The ice cream here is amazing. There's a nice ice cream shack right outside the town square that we go to often. My favorite flavor is chocolate, obviously, but I've had mascarpone (weird) and pineapple (also weird) there; I give credit to the owners though because the flavors taste exactly like what's advertised. There's just something about the ice cream that's better here. Now, let's talk about last night. So before I came to the town, there was a triathlon that, I think, the sports club hosted. I'm pretty sure last night, the barbecue was to say 'thank you' to the people who participated in it. It was mostly older men and women and then some really young kids. My whole host family was there though, and their kids alone are a lot. There was some live music, but it just reminded me of country music and Texas. They dedicated some "American/English" songs to me which I thought were really funny, sweet, I just got a kick out of it. The best part though, was the food. They had a pig leg and a giant turkey going over a big fire, like a huge rotisserie. It was a fun night. Tomorrow, I'm going to Karlovy Vary which my area rep. Her sister lives there so we're taking a trip to visit and we'll be going on a tour through a castle. I don't know what else we'll be doing but I'm guessing it'll be fun. It'll also be nice to just get out of the house for a day.
- The food is super cheap here, especially for me. $1 is equal to 24.15 czk and I've had full meals for under $10.
- They don't have screens on the windows so bugs and moths always fly in. The first night I absolutely hated and loathed it but now I'm more tolerant when I see the buggies.
- Everyone smokes, classmates, adults, etc. For some reason though, the smoke doesn't smell as nasty as it does in the US. I've had smoke in my face and I wasn't dying.
Julia, exchange student from the U.S. to the Czech Rep. 2016/17