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Studying Abroad in Prague

Newark, New Jersey
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Studying Abroad in Prague

Hello everyone. Next semester (September - December 2011) I will be studying abroad at Charles University in Prague. I have two main questions that I was hoping to get some help with.

1 - Will not speaking Czech be a problem? I will have a two week crash course at the beginning of the semester, but I will obviously not be fluent after that. My adviser said that about 70% or so of the population of Prague speak English, but I am concerned about the countryside. I really want to take advantage of the natural beauty in the Czech Republic (hiking, kayaking, etc.) so I was wondering if this would be possible if I have only a basic knowledge of the Czech language.

2 -Can anyone recommend some out of country weekend trips? As much as I know I'll love the Czech Republic, I'd really love to explore Europe more. I've been told to keep to east of the Czech Republic, as it is cheaper that way. However, I'm unsure of exactly what cities to visit, and how I can get there. I don't mind taking long train rides, as long as the place in interesting.

For these weekend trips, I'll probably just be by myself, as I usually prefer to travel long distances that way. My budget will be of a pretty average size...I can't spend massive amounts of money, but I am saving most of it for travel, so I think I should be able to afford some nice trips.

Thanks for your time and help, it is much appreciated.

Prague, Czech...
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1. Re: Studying Abroad in Prague

How well can you do with maps and intuition?

The hiking system is well-marked and well-mapped. (You can also see hiking trails by using mapy.cz) So really you just need to be able to buy train/bus tickets and order/buy food/drink.

One of the nicer hikes I've done is Krivoklat to Rakovnik. Not terribly strenuous, maybe like 16km. Places to stop for food/drink along the route.

Brno, Czech Republic
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2. Re: Studying Abroad in Prague

guardian.co.uk/travel/…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lklJMAUb7k

Edited: 18 April 2011, 15:16
Prague, Czech...
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3. Re: Studying Abroad in Prague

expats.cz

Berkshire, United...
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4. Re: Studying Abroad in Prague

I would not worry unduly with forward plans...you will meet other people on the course, more enjoyable to travel with others.

Prague, Czech...
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5. Re: Studying Abroad in Prague

As far as out-of-country trips...what do you seek? Krakow is a great weekend+ trip. Could spend months in SLovakia, seeing all the natural and man-made stuff there is to see. Dresden is great, the little German towns on the river between Decin and Dresden are also really charming and cool (well, some are -- some are full of t-shirt shops). You can bike/hike along the river. Or canoe.

Canoeing and kayaking are big in the Czech Republic. I'd advise making friends with Czech folks who are into it...it will be easier than trying to navigate it on your own. As I've said before, you can get buy with very little Czech, if everything goes perfectly. But if something happens - losing a paddle is the example I usually give - it's goin to be rough.

Newark, New Jersey
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6. Re: Studying Abroad in Prague

Thank you for all the help and suggestions, I'll be sure sure to look through those links thoroughly, as they seem very insightful.

As for the other comments, I'd definitely like to make friends with some Czech folk. The last thing I want to do is tour the country with all Americans, as the point of me doing this is to discover an other culture.

Also, one more question that I hope adventureadam or anyone can answer. I'm wondering if kayaking, hiking, etc. will be possible the time of year I will be there, from September until December. I know here, it is much too cold that time of year for outdoor activity, but maybe it's nicer over there? Thanks again for your help.

Berkshire, United...
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7. Re: Studying Abroad in Prague

Adam would know the best, but I think most water activities usually end at the end of September.....then it gets a bit too cold and uncomfortable.

Prague, Czech...
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8. Re: Studying Abroad in Prague

Canoeing is definitely out.

Hiking is possible, and can even be fun if you find a route with a village ever couple km, so you can stop and warm up. But when it's dark 18 hours a day...haha

Brno, Czech Republic
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9. Re: Studying Abroad in Prague

I have done walking around the caves in Blansko in the deep winter before, for example, and of course you can walk along the roads. However in the hillier regions it is easier to get around on cross-country skis - lots of people do that. Of course, as Adam says, you have to bear in mind the short days, but you can still get a lot done in September.

Saying that, though, in my experience, having also gone originally as a student in the late 1980s, you won't find a lot of time to get out of the city ;) A lot depends on who your friends are and their interests. Czech students tend to be very friendly and accommodating, and if you are lucky you might be invited to country cottages, skiing, cycling, etc - if you get in with a particular crown you will have no shortage of leisure-time activities and you will also pick the language up - in fact it is the best school, but nowadays a lot of young people speak English very well, which wasn't the case when I started out.

Good luck!

10. Re: Studying Abroad in Prague

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