Hi everyone! My name is Caroline Conquergood and I am a junior at Boston College, studying abroad this semester at Charles University through the ECES program in Prague, Czech Republic! I’m double majoring in Applied Psych and History, with a minor in Medical Humanities. I grew up outside of Boston, and while I traveled in high school, I have never been to Europe!
I arrived in Prague two days ago with a group of girls from both BC and other schools in the US! We arrived in our dorm across the bridge from the city center and were greeted by the wonderful ECES staff. I live in a room with three other girls and we have a communal kitchen and lounge that we share with the rest of the program! Our first few days were full with tours of Prague, welcome meetings, and ice skating under the TV tower. Everyone here has been so welcoming, and it is great that ECES has many people to teach us history, give us recs, and teach us about the culture here.
Then we had two days of day trips where we got to choose different places to visit in the Czech Republic. The first day of trips was heavier, and the second was lighter. The first day I visited Pribram, where we visited a communist labor camp and learned about the history of the mining town and the prison. We then traveled to the Svata Hora Monastery and walked up the whole 365 steps to the top! The paintings inside told various stories and they were all absolutely stunning. The second day of day trips was to Kutna Hora where we visited many wonderful churches, including the church of bones (Sedlec Ossuary) and also St Barbara’s church! We also went to the Italian Court and former royal mint, where we got to learn how to make our own coins.
Our first weekend in Prague was spent exploring new bars, restaurants, and cafes! We have been eating many traditional meals in the Czech Republic including schnitzel, fried cheese, and goulash! Beer is a large part of Czech culture as well and I can’t wait to travel to different breweries when the weather gets warmer!
Our second week here we started our Czech intensive course, where we study Czech and Czech culture for two weeks. I studied Mandarin in high school, so learning Czech has been a very new experience for me! Thankfully I have a great professor and classmates and am learning so much! It has been super helpful in adjusting to a new place, and Czech people really appreciate it when you speak to them in Czech, even if it is just Dobry Den (hello)! One of the wonderful staff members, Imogen, gave us an amazing night tour of Prague Castle, which is definitely a highlight of the trip so far.
One of the biggest adjustments (in a good way) coming to Prague has been the public transportation system. It takes you anywhere in the city! Another adjustment has been the unfortunate lack of sun. While the temperature is not that different from Boston, the sun did not make an appearance until our second week! Hopefully it is here to stay.