I have noticed several similarities and differences between classes here in Prague compared to classes back at University of Northern Colorado. First thing that I noticed was when I was registering for classes. The classes are split into a lecture portion and a seminar portion. The class lengths are the same as they are back home but you have more flexibility when scheduling. Another big difference I noticed was in class participation. It is very rare for people to raise their hands and participate in classes. Many Czech students told me that traditionally there education has not been very participation oriented but has been switching over to a more American approach recently. Most of the teachers I have try very hard to make their seminars more participative and group oriented so it’s very familiar to me but not the Czech students. Also I have been told by the local students that the classes without Americans usually have very low participation and discussion involved in them for many cultural reasons.
Sunday, October 14
Last weekend I traveled to Vienna, Austria! My friends and I experienced many amazing things while we were there. There was an awesome market outside of our hostel that sold a variety of different thing from delicious food, to clothes, to antiques and random junk. We decided to stop at a restaurant inside the market and we all experienced some of the best goulash we have ever had. The hostel we stayed at had a free tour Saturday morning and took us to all the main sites in the city. If you are ever going to stay in a hostel in Vienna I highly recommend The Wombat. It is by far the cleanest and most up to date hostel I have been in yet. Anyway on our free tour we saw many cool sites such as the Parliament, massive cathedrals, an art school that kicked Hitler out, and many others. One of the Cathedrals we went into had a stairway all the way to the top of it so you could have a view of the entire city. It was breathtaking. Climbing to the top of the cathedral also gave you an up close view of all the hand painted artwork on the dome of Cathedral. I have definitely never seen anything like that in the United States. We also went to Schonbrunn Palace. Sadly it was raining the day we went but it still was amazing. The palace was huge and it had magnificent gardens outside surrounding it that went on for as far as the eye could see.
Thursday, October 4
Last weekend I had the opportunity to venture to Budapest, Hungary! My two friends and I decided to go last minute so we didn't make any definite plans before we left. We arrived at our hostel Friday night at 11:00 pm. We were exhausted from the 7 hour bus ride so we decided to have a relaxing night at a pub outside our hostel. The next morning we woke up and immediately began discovering the city. We went adventuring all over the city on Saturday seeing many of the sights that Budapest is known for. Just a few of the amazing spots we went was the Mathias Church, Budapest Castle, the Grand Market Hall and The Parliament. The Parliament's and the Mathias Church's architecture was especially breathtaking. That night our hostel had planned a cruise on the Danube River and we all thought this would be a great way to see Budapest at night. That night the view of the architecture with the lights hitting it so majestically was something you couldn't pull your eyes away from. There is definitely nothing like it in the United States. The next morning we got up and wanted to do something relaxing so we went to the thermal baths which is one of the things Hungary is known for. After relaxing there for three or four hours we went back to sight-seeing. We went to see Vajdahunyad Castle, Heroes Square, and The Citadel. While we were walking from the Castle to the Citadel that day we ran into a girl on her bachelorette party. Apparently it was tradition in her family for the woman to go out and draw pictures of random people and to ask them to pay as much as they thought it was worth. So she came up to our group and asked me if I was interested in having my picture drawn. I gave her permission and next thing I knew a band came out of nowhere and started playing music while she drew me. Budapest was definitely a trip that I won’t forget sometime soon.