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7 posts categorized "Orientation"

10/10/2017

Fall 2017 ISSUE I

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A FRESH START IN PRAGUE!

The last August Monday has started the exciting one-semester-ride for students of the Film Studies and Global Architecture and Design Programs. Coming from great distances, all students were greeted at the airport, accommodated and the first week full of activities could commence! Although each program had its own Orientation week, some of the parts were interconnected between the two programs so that students could get to know each other.

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Besides the usual information on academics, student life and living in Prague, our students were also invited to the Welcome Get Together in the center of Prague. During this event, they had the opportunity to get to know each other better and hear the welcome speecch from the Center Director Jana Čemusová.

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Another fun activity was the weekend trip to the Karlštejn Castle for participants of both programs. A part of this weekend activity was a visit of the historic castle of Karlštejn, which is an important element in Czech history. In addition to that, our students could also taste the authentic Czech food and later on participate in the first Czech-in session in order to set their goals for the semester.

12/01/2016

FALL 2016, ISSUE II (FILM STUDIES)

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Greetings from Praha!

The second half of the CIEE Film Studies semester at FAMU has started and while our students are busy with developing their screenplays before the pitch (Screenwriting track) and shooting their 16mm feature film projects (Production track), we are back with some updates on their academic trips in Fall 2016.

Screenwriting track's Intensive Czech & Bonding trip

 

As a part of their Intensive Beginning Czech Language course, our Screenwriting track enrollees had a unique opportunity of joining their Czech teacher for a trip to Bohemia (as we mentioned in our first semester newsletter). During their 5 days in the beautiful nature of Stráž nad Nežárkou, they did not only spend 3 hours each day intensively learning Czech, but also bonding with each other and immersing themselves into the local culture (among others by spending time with their peers from Charles University) and the Czech concept of "turistika" (tourism)... they also got their own hands-on production experience! You can enjoy the results here:

Courtesy of Luděk Brouček (CIEE Czech professor), Adam Turkel, Clayton Davis, Joey Lieberman, Max Nelson, Liam Driscoll, and Melissa Heineman.

Academic overnight trip to Bohemia (Písek and Zvíkov)

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For the weekend of October 21-23, Film Studies Resident Director Ivana Skenderija planned an overnight trip to Písek and Zvíkov. The first two days were focused on the academic aspect while day 3 was dedicated to immersion. Since 1996, this beautiful bohemian town with second oldest stone bridge in Central Europe, has been hosting an International Student Film Festival (MFSF) annually and we had the pleasure of attending the 16th round. CIEE's Global Architecture and Design Program Coordinator (Film Studies interim) Olga Pexídrová was born in Písek, so she provided a guided tour of the city (including and old power plant which gave the city public lighting as early as in 1888!). We tasted local dishes and met with local film students (who joined us for dinner and showed our students around). We also visited FAMO film school, so students had a chance to compare the differences between two major film schools in the Czech Republic. Of course that the students were also given a fair share of free time to be able to explore independently. On Sunday, we continued with a short hike to the beautiful castle of Zvíkov with mysterious Hliza tower (connected with many myths and legends). Students took some amazing pictures inside the castle as well as in the gorgeous park/forrest surrounding it. The trip was ended by a guided tour of a small brewery in Zvíkov - the founder and current owner showed us around and students appreciated his passion. 

08/30/2016

Fall 2016 semester has started

The Fall 2016 semester if off to a successful start and the Film Studies students enrolled in both tracks (Production, Screenwriting) are safely on site. Last week was dedicated to orientation which has been shortened into 2 days of sessions and walks to ease up students' struggle with jet leg. This week, students have already started learning the basics of survival Czech language with their teachers Luděk Brouček and Tereza Štichová. CIEE also scheduled some advising sessions in the afternoons and Czech buddies planned a variety of interest groups activities. We hope to be back with some updates and pictures soon!

09/17/2015

First Impressions: Prague and it’s People

by Corey Palermo, Rice University - CIEE FAMU Film Studies Production track

 August 31, 2015

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Arriving in Prague, I could not help but feel a bit overwhelmed by the age of this city. Everything in America is pretty young, and even the oldest buildings are only about 200 years old. Many of Prague’s medieval buildings are over 600 years old, including the Charles Bridge, which was started in 1357. As time has past, the architecture has developed to reflect both old and new tastes, making Prague a cosmopolitan metropolis as well as a sort of “crown jewel” for the old Europe.

Prague has seen much in the past century. Occupied by both the Nazis and the Soviets, the Czech people have learned to be skeptical, and as a people they are generally more withdrawn than Americans. Czechs are often quite reserved and rarely initiate conversation with strangers. They also tend to avoid direct confrontation. If, for example, they go to a restaurant and receive bad service, they will quietly complain amongst themselves but it is extremely rare for them to complain to the waiter or manager. However, when choosing between honesty and “saving face,” Czechs will choose honesty. This means that if you ask a Czech how he or she is, that person will respond honestly and directly. This is radically different from America, where we are expected to remain “pleasant” or “nice.”

As time goes on in the next few months, I look forward to hanging out with more Czechs and getting out of the American “bubble.” I will share my most interesting experiences on this blog, and I’m thankful to all who would choose to read it.

Until next time!

-Corey

09/10/2014

Fall 2014 semester has begun!

Summer holidays are over and CIEE Prague has new group of students on site. James Cashman from Seattle University was kind enough to share his first video blog post - enjoy the student's view on his first days in Prague (orientation sessions and walks, Prague Castle Tour, welcome dinner and more!).

 

03/27/2014

Bytes of Bohemia

By Griff Jones, Whitman College

January 21, 2014: En Route

I’m currently sitting in the Chicago airport, two hours away from my first solo international flight to Frankfurt.  I’ve never been to Europe, but later today that won’t be true.  Until May 16th I’ll be studying and making film in Prague, and then I’ll be taking a two week trip around Europe.  So at 4 a.m. my time, 11 a.m. their time, I’ll be landing in my new home.

I hope to use this blog as a venue for friends and family to keep up to date with what I’m doing, but also to ruminate upon and digest my experiences.  I’ll be getting a look at a culture I have little familiarity with and visiting places that I expect will broaden my horizons, so I’m sure there will be plenty to write about!  The program I’m in is a film production intensive at FAMU, the oldest film school in Europe.  The first two weeks I’ll be learning Czech, then take eight weeks of classes on everything and anything to do with making movies, and then end the semester with six weeks spent making a movie with one or two fellow classmates.

The first thing I realized despite the nerves and excitement as I sat in Springfield’s airport earlier, was that I don’t really miss anyone.  I don’t mean this maliciously, of course, I just wonder if the nature of missing loved ones or friends has changed these days.  I said goodbye to my parents, but I’ll be sending them an email or wifi text in a couple of days.  My friends back home are all reachable even though they’re an ocean away.  I understand that I should miss them, but when I can still talk to them and know I’ll be seeing them in a few months, it takes the weightiness of their absence away.  I’m reading The Unbearable Lightness of Being, a classic Czech novel, and Milan Kundera opens the book by arguing the merits of heaviness and lightness as opposite ways of viewing the world.  If I understand correctly, heaviness lends importance to any given situation as an event that is unrepeatable and therefore worthwhile; lightness makes life less serious, as everything will happen as it will and life goes on.  I’m not certain which perspective I subscribe to or prefer, but I think that relationships are made lighter with the connections that the modern world provides us.  Yes, I miss my friends and family, but I know I’ll see them again in a few months, and if I really miss them, I’m not separated from them really.  I wonder how much harder it was to miss a loved one, how much heavier parting and absence was, before the internet.  Which is so strange to think about: never having lived without the internet I feel so young and naive!

So, while you can reach me in any number of ways with the wonderful internet, I plan to live presently for this experience.  So I’ll probably avoid social media and excessive communication back home.  Prague, here and now (there and tomorrow, rather), is an important, once in a lifetime opportunity.  I’m excited to live heavily.

I’ll also be quite embarrassed if I’m misinterpreting Kundera!

 

January 26, 2014

It’s our first day off today, and we’re fully taking advantage of being lazy in my apartment.  Today is my fifth day in Prague… I think?  It feels like way longer, honestly.  It’s been an amazing week; the city is incredible and we’re getting more familiar with our area daily, and the people I’m with are wonderful.  I live with two guys, one is my roommate and the other has a single, and we live in a pretty nice apartment on the fourth floor of an incredibly central building.  As in the most touristy sites in the city are literally a ten minute walk and our school is five minutes away.  We cross the street to get to the national theater and are a block away from the river.  It’s crazy how lucky we are to be here.  There’s no end to the bars and restaurants and cafes in our neighborhood, and we’re discovering just how close and easy everywhere else is to get to via trams and metro.  It’s a totally new experience for me; the only other city I’ve lived in now was LA.  Which is completely different, as cities and culture goes.  No surprise there, though..

The people in my group are awesome.  Unfortunately, I’ve only met twelve of them, as the last three won’t be arriving until February due to visa issues.  When I heard that, while I sympathize because that’s awful, I definitely counted my blessings for getting here without any issues.  The number of people who warned me about lost baggage made me almost more than half expect to not have my suitcase waiting for me here.  But I’m here without a hitch!  

The first few days were spent familiarizing ourselves with the general plan for the semester and cultural studies, as well as some basic language.  We had two walking tours to the places that we need to be able to get to, and yesterday had a tour of the Hrad, the main castle from an energetic Czech woman who was a fount of local knowledge.  She even pointed us to the location of a headless ghost that’s supposed to appear at midnight, so there may be an excursion there at some point…  The castle itself, as well as St. Vitus Cathedral, were incredibly beautiful.  St. Vitus is the first cathedral I’ve ever been in, actually.  I acknowledge that I myself am a tourist, but the amount of tourists there detracted from any semblance of spirituality there, in my opinion.  Regardless it was beautiful and I plan to return before too long.  

The cultural differences are somewhat striking for me.  The Czechs LOVE their beers, which I can appreciate myself, but there is also a lot of smoking here.  I’ve resigned myself to the fact that all of my clothes are going to smell like cigarettes at the end of the semester, unfortunately.  

So today, after almost a week of exploring the city and seeing the sites, we’re finally getting some downtime.  Naturally, we’re going to go explore the city some more!  But slowly.  We were out until 3:30 a.m. last night, experiencing some of the Prague nightlife, and it was so much fun.  

This week we start our full time Czech classes, and it’s going to be really nice to be better equipped to communicate with people.  Czech is hard to pronounce though.  Our street, V jirchářích, is pronounced “veer-ha-jeek,” and we’re still struggling with it sometimes, but luckily it’s supposed to be one of the more difficult things we’ll have to pronounce.  Oh, also, the other Whitties are joining us in Prague tomorrow, so it’ll be really great to see them!

I just can’t believe how little time we’ve been here.  I’m so, so excited for the rest of the semester knowing that this incredible week was only a tiny scratch at the surface and there’s so much more to do and experience.  And with such incredible people.  I can’t emphasize that enough.  

02/28/2014

Spring 2014, Issue I

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Greetings from Prague, Study Abroad Advisors!

We are back with some information on New Academic Developments of CIEE Study Center in Prague.

Central European Studies (CES)

The Central European Studies Program has grown recently in terms of the number of participating students as well as in a greater variety of offered courses and provision of academics.  The current offer of courses provides a complex understanding of the process and challenges of recreating a democratic government in a former communist country, and brings an insider perspective on its current challenges (including human rights, minority and gender issues, globalization, as well as social, economic, and political challenges connected to the EU). New courses include e.g.: Anthropological Perspective on the Czech and Slovak Roma, Economy of the EU, Journalism in the Facebook Era, 3rd Force Psychology in CE, and many others.

Introduced changes aim also at deep cultural and social immersion within the academic part of the program. All courses offer an in-class part and out-class activities. These include site visits, research projects, and many other activities that allow students to develop their knowledge and academic skills.

Academic MeetingCES and CNMJ students at the “Academic Meeting”: an open house of CIEE courses with professors

At the same time the program keeps its strong thematic accent in art and design, exploring the extraordinary architecture of Prague and other unique sites. Offered courses foster the understanding of the historical context of Central Europe including communism, nazism, the Holocaust and other important periods and figures from Czech and European history.

Last but not least, Eva Janebová, Ph.D., who has been working as the liaison of Charles University in the CIEE Study Center in Prague, has newly become the CES Resident Director overseeing the quality of academics. She provides faculty trainings and individual coaching to the faculty in order to align interactive teaching styles and rigorous academic standards. She has also introduced a new format to the academic meetings and works with individual faculty on responding to the needs of students provided in student feedbacks.

Eva Janebová
Eva Janebová, CES Resident Director

Film Studies (FS)

The Film Studies Program in Prague has been offered since Fall 2008. All classes are taught solely at the Film Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts (FAMU) and core classes are designed specifically for CIEE students so the benefits of mentor-apprentice style of teaching are maintained. FAMU has been awarded the best European (and 7th in the world) film school according to the Hollywood Reporter in 2011. The school, founded in 1946, is one of the oldest in the world (5th).

In 2008, we started with the Production Track in which students develop 5-10 minute-long 16 mm feature film in production groups of 2-3. During the past few semesters, students have occasionally struggled with finding the best way of forming their production teams. The question was whether teams should be formed based on similar perspectives on filmmaking or around specific screenplays. Either way, starting to shape the team within first weeks of classes was rather time consuming. Starting this semester, the FS Academic Advisor Mary Angiolillo and Film Studies Coordinator Ivana Skenderija came up with a new idea. Production students had a couple of meetings during their Czech intensive and pitched their ideas. Students with similar perspectives were matched and the first week of core classes was already dedicated to screenplay development. On Friday, February 28th, they had their official pitch for all the mentors, and they received feedback on their projects. After the pitch, a production meeting on realistic expectations followed.

Pitch students FS students vividly pitching their project proposal

Pitch profsFAMU mentors David Jařab, Jaromír Šofr and Jan Fleischer providing their feedback and tips on improvement

Since Spring 2011, we were able to add the Screenwriting Track to the selection in which students develop a first draft of a half feature-length screenplay  (appx. 60 pages). This track is rather selective as CIEE/FAMU would not accept more than the 6 best applicants. Even though their curriculum strongly emphasizes writing scripts, students from past semesters have been demanding some production experience as well. And since Fall 2013, their requests have been partially fulfilled. Not only are they present at the production pitch and write a reflection with their tips on improvement as a part of their Script Analysis class, but they also partake in the production as actors and crew members. And of course, they will again have their “grand finale” just like the production students have the final screening. Final screenplay presentations are not only just a reading of the script, but also a dialogue presentation by real actors they learn how to direct!

Communication, New Media + Journalism (CNMJ) – New program from Spring 2013!

The Communication, New Media + Journalism (CNMJ) is a new niche program which started in Spring 2013. This program caters to majors of media, journalism, marketing, and communication studies; it focuses on providing students with hands-on experience through media and/or journalism-focused internships and provides students with coursework relevant to their field.

In terms of academics, students are allowed to choose at CIEE from an array of communication, media, and journalism courses taught by local and international media experts and renowned journalists, but they can also choose from specially-selected courses at FAMU and the Institute of Communication and Journalism Studies at Charles University’s Faculty of Social Sciences.

Additionally, with an internship for credit, students polish their professional skills and gain invaluable experience working in a local company or non-profit organization. CIEE helps CNMJ students with the entire process from setting up interviews to placements in prestigious organizations to monitoring students’ progress throughout the semester. Another integral part of the internship program is the internship seminar, where students have a chance to discuss their experiences, to make sense of cultural differences, and to learn how to market these experiences to future employers.

Since this program’s inception in Spring 2013, it has grown significantly. This semester we have 17 participants!

  CNMJ Orientation

Spring 2014 CNMJ students getting ready for their orientation walk with their buddy

Global Architecture and Design (GAD) – Brand new program since Spring 2014!

The Global Architecture and Design program connects in its concept three beautiful European cities: Barcelona, Berlin and Prague.

The program concentrates not only on history and culture of the host city, but also explores current and future social, economic, and technological trends. Cities today offer a unique setting for resources, people, opportunities, and ideas to converge and spur new paths of innovation, technology, and thought. The program´s curriculum includes wide range of technologies from BIPV (building integrated photovoltaic) skyscrapers, personalized public transportation systems, sustainable green spaces, to sewage and water treatment and reclamation infrastructure.

The Global Architecture and Design program is focused on “Future Cities” and addresses the emerging discipline of global ”urbaneering” by assembling a faculty of innovators from fields as diverse as architecture, material science, urban design, civil and environmental engineering. Using each city as a laboratory, the program´s goal is to rethink what is salubrious about the city, in both its forms and its life. The Global Architecture and Design program explores the effects of technological interventions that can have profound impacts on the planet as a whole.

It was decided that this youngest program will have a theme unifying all three cities - Water and the City. This focus is apparent throughout the whole semester including academic trips that will take students to the Berlin Summit, Moldau Cascades and other significant sites.

The program gears towards advanced students with at least two to three semesters of design studio and overall GPA at least 2.75. Students enroll directly in courses focusing on architecture and design at ARCHIP, the first international Architectural Institute in the Czech Republic and also have the option of enrolling in courses at CIEE. Students take part in projects and create presentations related to their field of study and incorporate it in the local context.

GAD studi space
Studio space at ARCHIP

GAD Moldau cascades
GAD and ARCHIP students visiting Moldau Cascades and its dams