Throughout the semester, you will have the opportunity to hear from NYU Prague alumni to gain their firsthand insight and tips.
Today, meet Katherine, who studied in Prague in Fall 2015.
Major: Finance & Economics
What is your favorite memory about your time abroad? My favorite memory from my time abroad was going to an FC Barcelona game while I was in Barcelona for fall break. I am a huge soccer fan, and being in that stadium was an absolute dream come true. Everything felt surreal, because I never thought I’d be able to go to a Barca game and see Messi, Suarez, and Neymar play, and the atmosphere during the game was incredible.
What was the most interesting course you took and why? The most interesting course I took was Modern Dissent taught by Jan Urban. Professor Urban played an extremely important role in the expelling of communist rule from the Czech Republic and he has so many personal stories that he tells in class and relates to the readings that you do. Additionally, my parents are from Ukraine and they lived there while it was a part of the Soviet Union, so it was extremely interesting to hear about how communist life was different in Prague versus in Kiev.
What two things do you wish you had packed? I wish that I had packed more pairs of shorts and clothing meant for warm weather. When I went abroad, it was unusually warm throughout the entire semester and I had packed expecting for it to be much colder much faster. I also wish that I had packed more clothing that was appropriate for going out at night. I made do with jeans and somewhat fancy shirts, but I ended up going out much more often than I thought I would when I left for Prague (don’t bring heels though, you will not be able to walk through the streets).
Name two things you should not have packed. I packed way too many notebooks for class. You obviously need school supplies, but you can buy them in Prague very cheaply or just pack one or two notebooks and read notes that are online. I ended up having to leave many of my notebooks in Prague because my suitcase weighed too much when I was coming home. I also realized that I shouldn’t have brought my entire suit for Org Comm I thought the class presentations would be much more formal than they actually were, and I ended up never having to wear my full suit during my time in Prague.
What do you miss most? I miss the food and just the atmosphere of Prague the most. I would go to Bageterie Boulevard almost every day – it was essentially a healthy fast food place because they sold sandwiches – and I would go to a kebab place in Mustek before class a few times a week. Kebabs were everywhere all over Europe, but they’re so difficult to find around here. Prague itself is a beautiful city, and walking through it is just so different than walking through Manhattan; it’s a very nice change of pace.
What advice would you give about housing? Don’t be afraid to have a random roommate assignment. When I went to Prague, I didn’t have any close girl friends going who I could room with, and I was worried about ending up with terrible roommates. I actually loved my roommates and I ended up traveling with them quite a lot. Some of my suitemates from Prague are actually my best friends now.
One good way to get to know locals is: Talk to your RAs. They are locals, so they know what you could do to get involved and meet other people. I didn’t do a crazy amount of mingling with people from Prague, but I was definitely friends with many of the RAs, and hearing their perspectives as Czechs was always extremely interesting.
If there’s one thing students should know about Prague, it is: Quiet hours start at 10pm. You don’t want to be the obnoxious Americans walking down the street and yelling while it is absolutely dead silent. When I say it is silent, I mean that you could hear a pin drop during quiet hours. Additionally, when you talk, everything echoes. So you may think that you’re being quiet, but in actuality, people three blocks away can hear you.
If you could go back in time and do one thing differently, what would it be? I would go to Sweden to see the Northern Lights. I didn’t go because I thought it would be too expensive, but I realize now that I should’ve just spent the money because it would have been an amazing experience.