Prague is a spectacular city that has weathered more than 1000 years of turbulent history, including the Nazi and Soviet domination of the 20th century. Located behind the “Iron Curtin”, for forty years the city was more or less off-limits to Westerners. Following the Velvet Revolution of 1989, the city emerged once again as the capital of a sovereign, democratic nation. The city of Prague has a rich musical heritage, varied cultural activities and numerous sites of architectural beauty. Escaping the destruction of 20th century bombings, the urban design of Prague remains much as it looked in the 15th century. “The City of a Hundred Spires," Prague offers a wide selection of Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque, Neo-Renaissance, Art Nouveau, Cubist and Socialist-Realist architecture. Study abroad students have a unique opportunity to enjoy the social and cultural amenities offered by a modern, dynamic city of approximately 1.2 million, while also exploring the many castles and historic sites throughout the Czech countryside.
This program is based at Charles University, the oldest university in Central Europe, founded in 1348. Charles University has a student population of over 40,000 Czech and European students at both graduate and undergraduate levels. The program through HWS is delivered by the “Undergraduate Program in Central European Studies” (UPCES), which is affiliated with Charles University’s Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education. Each study abroad student is assigned to a Czech ‘student buddy’ upon arrival to help with social and cultural integration. Approximately 50-70 study abroad students attend the program each semester from a wide range of U.S. colleges and universities. UPCES encourages its students to spend the semester in Prague really immersing themselves in Czech life and culture and thus recommends that students limit their travel within the wider Europe to the beginning or end of the program.
All students participating in the program will be required to take a total of FIVE classes, one of which is the mandatory “Introduction to Czech Language” that begins during orientation and for which students will receive credit. Students will choose their other four classes from a rich menu of options. Many classes are comprised of a mix of study abroad students and Czech and other European students. Class size is small, facilitating true exchange and sharing of different worldviews.
Some sample course titles include:
Economics of Transition
Prague as a Living History: Anatomy of a European Capital
Multiculturalism, Ethnicity and Collective Memory in Eastern Europe
Czechs, Germans and Jews in Bohemian Lands
Literature and Society: Central European Writers
Ideas Behind Politics: Communism, Post-Communism and Civil Society
Czechs, Americans and Central Europeans –Cultural Contrasts and Common Ground
Central European Philosophy
Comprehending the Holocaust
Environmental Economics in the Central European Context
Gothic, Baroque, Modern: Arts in Bohemia
Film as a Mirror of Communism
Gender and Minorities in Post-Socialist Europe
Click here for a comprehensive list of course titles and descriptions.
This program will be particularly appropriate for students in anthropology, architectural studies, economics, European Studies, English and comparative literature, international relations, history, politics, religious studies, sociology and those interested in multicultural issues.
This program is open to juniors and seniors in good academic and social standing with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Due to the challenging nature of study abroad, student academic and disciplinary records will be carefully screened.
All students spend the first week at an area hotel while they seek local, fully-furnished apartments in Prague with the assistance of the local program coordinators. Students will live in small groups in these apartments for the remainder of the semester.
A variety of excursions are included as part of this program. There will be a 3-night excursion to a major Central European capital (typically Krakow, Poland or Budapest, Hungary), an overnight to Cesky Krumlov (a UNESCO World Heritage site in Southern Bohemia), and day trips to Dresden, Germany and Litomerice in the northern Czech Republic. Students will also have the opportunity to participate in cultural events and activities within the city of Prague, including concerts and plays as well as visits to museums and historical sites.
Students will be charged standard HWS tuition and fees and a $550 administrative fee. This will cover credit for a five-course semester, on-site orientation program, excursions and housing for the first week. Note that no room or board charge is included. Students will pay rent directly to area landlords upon securing a shared apartment and should bring money with them to cover the cost of meals. We estimate that $4800—5000 will be sufficient to cover room and board costs for the semester for students who prepare their own meals. Additional expenses not covered include airfare, books and other course related materials, and personal expenses (laundry, entertainment, some local ground transportation and independent travel). We estimate airfare for this program at approximately $1000—$1200 from the East Coast, and books and course-related materials at $250. It is difficult to give an accurate estimate of personal expenses because student spending habits differ considerably. We would suggest a minimum of $1500 above and beyond meal and accommodation expenses. However, students on a tight budget should be able to manage with less. If you are concerned about finances, we strongly encourage you to talk to the CGE staff who can offer information and advice based on your specific situation.
NOTE: This information is subject to change. Please see the CGE for more information.