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25 posts categorized "Travel"

01/10/2018

FALL 2017 ISSUE III

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Film Studies and Global Architecture and Design semester activities

It might seem that film and architecture are only remotely connected, however, the same cannot be said about students of CIEE Film Studies program, and students of CIEE Global Architecture and Design. Since the very beginning of the program, students have been invited to attend extra-curricular activities that would help them to understand to the Czech culture.

One group of the organized events have been Cultural Workshops. Through these three workshops, students were able to learn how to observe and interpret a new culture and apply this knowledge to the Czech traditions. Furthermore, they have been learning about Czech historical figures and also how to market their experience abroad.

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Students were observing their personal development through the “Czech-in session”, during which they have set their goals and expectations, reviewed them and in the end of the semester evaluated their growth for themselves.

Fun activities included visiting a home hockey game of Sparta, ice-skating, screening of the Czech movies, laser-tagging or events organized by flat buddies. Those have been for example visits of Czech museums, cooking lessons or escape games.

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Extra-curricular activities organized for these two programs are inseparable part of the stay of students. The aim is to help to students to immerse in the Czech culture and feel like home.

Fall 2017 ISSUE II

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TRIP TO SOUTH BOHEMIA

In order to get away from a daily rush in Prague, students of CIEE Film Studies have left Prague in October for one weekend. They spent the whole weekend in South Bohemia, visiting historic town Pisek and castle Zvikov.

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The main reason for going to Pisek was International Student Film Festival which is happening each year and attracts attention of not only student from the Czech Republic but the whole world. CIEE students had a chance to attend several blocks of festival films and also meet students from a local film academy (Filmova Akademie Miroslava Ondricka).

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Diving deeper into the South Bohemian culture, students have visited a traditional and famous restaurant U Reineru that has been founded in 19th century and represent the local food.

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On Sunday, before returning back to Prague, our little travelers have visited a castle Zvikov, its nature and also Zvikov’s brewery. This visit helped students to understand better the history of the Czech Republic and also the important of the cold beverage in the Czech culture. Overall trip broaden horizons of students and showed them life outside of Prague.

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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.

04/06/2017

Spring 2017, Issue I

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Discovering the Czech Republic

Film Studies students not only spend their time in Prague, but also outside of it. During this semester, CIEE organized two academic trips and students had the opportunity to discover places such as Karlštejn, Český Krumlov or Písek.

On one of the Saturdays, Film Studies students together with the Program Coordinator visited the Karlštejn Castle. Located only thirty minutes away from Prague, the Karlštejn gothic Castle is a great part of Czech history as it served as the place for safekeeping the Imperial Regalia. Students had to climb up the hill in order to visit the castle and its surroundings. Even despite the cold weather and the fog, everyone has enjoyed the trip!


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Another trip took place in the middle of March when students travelled to South Bohemia. Besides the historical tour, the visit of the Seidel Photo Studio Museum or the mirror labyrinth, students also had the chance to visit One World Film Festival (human rights film festival). What did students think about the trip?

"For most of our time in the Czech Republic, we stay within the beautiful confines of Prague. That is why, when we travelled to Cesky Krumlov, I felt incredibly happy to explore other regions of the Czech Republic. These were places that we wouldn't have otherwise seen."

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"I loved exploring the city of Cesky Krumlov. We toured and explored the Krumlov Castle, as well as the St. Vitus church.  Musicians played Bohemian melodies on the bridges. Spring was just around the corner, so we even saw the infamous bears, Kateřina and Vok, strolling about the castle’s moat. The coats-of-arms of the lords of Rosenberg, bearing the sign of the five-petalled rose, embellished the sides of the buildings around us."

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"On the second day, we even went to the Seidel Photo Studio Museum. There, we developed our own pictures, and got the chance to recreate an early 20th century photograph of our whole group! There was also an international documentary film festival happening in the town. There, we loved not only watching the films, but afterwards skyping the director! The live-music event at the cinema’s cafe also was a beautiful end to the day. The atmosphere, the people, the food, the history and the sights made this trip one of the best I ever experienced“ wrote Anna, a student from the Film Studies Program.

04/07/2016

Spring 2016, Issue II

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Midterms are over and we are back with some updates on Prague semester programs: Central European Studies (CES); Communication, New Media, and Journalism (CNMJ); Film Studies (FS); and Global Architecture and Design (GAD). Currently we have 230 students on site getting ready for the remaining time they have in Prague, enjoying the beautiful sunny spring weather.

We would like to focus this newsletter on new field trips out of Prague and also introduce new internship partnerships for the CNMJ program.

Central European Studies

Field trips out of Prague

Students visited two towns located a convenient distance from Prague. It was the first step onto non-Prague Czech soil for most of them. These trips at the beginning of the semester are essential for the students to realise the diversity of Czech Republic; no one is saying that a nearby town is a comprehensive example of this diversity, but it establishes that Prague is not an absolute specimen of the Czech Republic. Both of the towns house plenty of people who commute to the capital for work, yet they still retain a genuine and unique atmosphere.

Dobris is a town located south of Prague and has a stunning chateau with unique gardens surrounding it. It is used for special occasions and even as a shooting location for various motion pictures.

Melnik is known as the town at the confluence of the two most significant Czech rivers – Labe (Elbe) and Vltava (Moldau). Apart from this natural spectacle, it also has a stunning chateau.

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Students had the chance to explore the picturesque atmosphere of a Czech small town and to observe some old fashioned beauty, and hopefully enjoyed a satisfying meal.

Students’ feedback:  10/10 would recommend. Great trip! Very enjoyable!

Students’ highlights:  I leaned some new interesting facts. Making new friends. Had chance to practice Czech with locals. Highlight of the trip was learning information about Czech history through the chateau.

Communications, New Media and Journalism

 CIEE announces new internship partnerships

The Communication, New Media, and Journalism Program in Prague offers internships to its students that focus on communications, media, journalism, and public relations. Due to the increased number of students in Spring 2016, CIEE in Prague had to establish new partnerships with organizations seeking English native speakers. Some of the newly established partners are ARCHIP (Architectural Institute in Prague), CEVRO, Fleishman Hillard, Open House Prague Festival, Prague Black Panthers, Prague International Marathon, The Prague Visitor, and The Prague Concert Company. CIEE in Prague is proud to have established these partnerships and looks forward to cooperating with more local organizations in the future.

ARCHIP (Architectural Institute in Prague) is a college offering a three year bachelor’s program focused on Architecture and a two year master’s program in Architecture and Urbanism. Located in Prague 7, known as a “hipster area”, ARCHIP is very attractive for foreign students. The college currently hosts 65 students from 32 countries. Our interns Shira and Sydney are currently preparing an Open House that will take place on April 26th.

CEVRO Institute was founded in 2006 as a non-profit educational institution to provide bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in the areas of public and private law, economics, politics, international relations, security studies etc. CEVRO Institute is linked to a number of foreign universities in order to foster academic cooperation. For example, CEVRO Institute is involved in the Erasmus exchange program (designed for foreign students who study one or two semesters at CEVRO Institute). Furthermore, CEVRO Institute is currently starting a new English-language master’s degree program in .  Over the past 10 years, it has become a well-known and respected educational institution in the field of education as well an active participant in major discussions on various political, economic, security, and legal issues within the public sphere. Our intern Sophie is providing assistance and cooperation on activities to develop their international educational programs designed for students from abroad.

FleishmanHillard is one of the world’s leading international communications consultancies with more than 2,500 employees in over 80+ offices around the globe. FH was founded 70 years ago and has since established a strong reputation for delivering meaningful, positive, and measurable impact for clients. They are widely recognized for exceptional service and quality standards as well as their long-term relationships with clients. Our interns Madison and Mackenzie work in the public relations department.

Open House Prague Festival presents a simple but powerful idea: making ordinarily inaccessible buildings in Prague accessible to the inquisitive and curious public. For one weekend throughout the whole year, they open company headquarters, offices, or modern technical buildings that people usually just pass by. The shape and appearance of these buildings affect us every day, they guide our steps but rarely do we have the chance to look within their walls. Our intern Debbie is currently preparing for the Open House Prague Festival that will take place in May.

Prague Black Panthers (PBP) is the most successful American football team in recent Czech history. It was founded in 2012 by merging the Prague Panthers (PP) and the Prague Black Hawks (PBH). The history of PP extends back to the 1990’s and the very beginning of American football in the Czech Republic. Its men’s team participates in both the Austrian league (one of two best club leagues in Europe) and the Czech league (PBP has won the championship every year since its beginning). The organization also has a children’s and a women’s team. Our intern Breanna works in the sports marketing and social media department. 

The Prague International Marathon originated in 1995 and has been on the fast track to international acclaim since then. Besides the Prague Marathon, the parent company RunCzech organizes other running events – in total 7 races in 5 cities of the Czech Republic. Among other events are half marathons in Prague, Karlovy Vary, České Budějovice, Olomouc and Ústí nad Labem and the Grand Prix in Prague. Our intern Margaret works in the international promotions department.

The Prague Visitor is a monthly arts, entertainment and events magazine aimed at tourists and ex-patriots in the Prague area. The publication is in English and distributed in area hotels, coffee shops, bars, and restaurants. The publication’s print run is 50,000 copies per month. The Prague Visitor is a new publication, founded by an American publisher who has over 20 years of media experience. Interns selected will be able to participate in launching the magazine’s inaugural issue and will be given lateral insight into a business start-up. Our interns Katherine and Natalia work in the editorial and social media department.

The Prague Concert Co. has been providing services to touring groups since 1994. The team of enthusiastic professional tour planners assist in creating the perfect concert tour, designing a rewarding study program, or facilitating visits to the great festivals, concert halls and opera houses of the Czech region. They believe in an individual approach to all their projects, with a focus on getting the details right and offering a personal service to all their clients. Our intern Corey is updating brochures for the company and helping with proof-reading.

Film Studies

Overnight field trip to Český Krumlov

The Spring 2016 Film Studies program academic overnight trip destination was Český Krumlov, famous UNESCO heritage site, where the One World documentary film festival on human rights took place on the weekend of March 18-20, 2016. One World is one of the cornerstones of the People in Need organization. Since its inception in 1999, it has become the most important festival of its kind in the world and in 2007 it won a special mention from UNESCO for its contribution to human rights education. This year’s theme was “Looking for home” and students had a chance to see three projections (Mallory, Under the Sun and The Swedish Theory of Love) followed by discussions with the main protagonists and/or filmmakers. They enjoyed both immensely.

A guided tour of the city was provided and students had the chance to admire the beautiful castle and view the city from its highest point – the castle tower.

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Since filmmakers are also curious about changes in perception, we took them to a Mirror Maze where they had a blast. Students also visited the 19th century photo studio Seidel, in which time stands still, for an interactive tour where they not only learned about the photo developing process, but also had their pictures taken in various costumes.

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The exhibits of the Josef and František Seidel studio surprise visitors with their authenticity, thousands of unique period photographic postcards, glass negatives, old functional cameras, and photographic darkroom equipment. Seidel’s personal notes, diaries, customer ledgers, and original furnishings make the overall collection even more appealing. Josef Seidel (1859-1935) ranked among the most outstanding photographers of his time. He documented everyday life in Český Krumlov and the Šumava mountains region. His son František (1908-1997) continued his father’s business. He was imprisoned by the Nazis during WWII and because of this he was allowed to stay in Krumlov even after all of his German relatives were transferred to Germany in 1945-46. Despite persecution by the Communists after 1948, he was able to maintain his father’s photographic archives until the fall of the Communist regime.

CIEE never forgets its mission, so immersion into local culture is a necessary part of the trip. And since one of the most effective ways to explore local culture is through the local cuisine, we offered a selection of various traditional Bohemian meals. This part of the Czech Republic is known for its delicious and fresh fish as well as pork or duck roast with sauerkraut and dumplings, schnitzels, soups (dill, potato, cabbage) or traditional “svíčková”, beef sirloin in a creamy root-vegetable sauce served with whipped cream, cranberries, and bread dumplings. Students learned the local way to eat trout, which is traditionally served whole in Czech lands, head and bones included. They also visited the House “U Dwau Maryí” (at two Maries’) built in late Middle Ages which offers Bohemian medieval cuisine, including puffed barley, buckwheat, millet, potato cake, dumplings, potato soup with daisies, smoked meat, roast carp with tarragon, pheasant, rabbit, sweet dumplings with forest fruits or poppy seeds, buckwheat gruel with honey, raisins, almonds and cinnamon and more.

The Czech Republic is also known for its beer brewing history (extending to the 10th century or even earlier). So on Sunday, we took students to a microbrewery just under the Zvíkov castle. Two friends made their dream come true when they established this brewery in 1994. The head brewer took students on a tour through the whole brewery: the brewing house with copper kettles, fermentation room with fermenting tubs, beer cellar with lager tanks, and racking room for the bottling and filling of barrels. They also had a chance to taste a small sample as well, accompanied by a delicious (and heavy) Bohemian dish.

On the way to the brewery, we stopped at the Crocodile Zoo Protivín which has had great success breeding endangered and critically endangered crocodile species. Students got to see crocodiles, gharials – including the only breeding pair of Indian gharials in Europe – caimans, and alligators, as well as few cobras.

Students’ feedback: 

Great trip!!! Really a blast. Thank you.                                                               

Everything was well organized & well spread out - overall great! *****                                                                           

I had a wonderful time!                                                                                                                            

This trip was stupendous.                                                                         

Such a beautiful and wonderful weekend! Thank you!! :)                                                                         

Beautiful town, great trip, great break from everything. 5 stars!            

 

Students’ highlights: 

The festival!!! All of the films were amazing.                                                                                                                  

Honestly all of it was so great! Especially loved the documentary screenings and the tower viewpoint.               

Tour of Český Krumlov + film festival.                                                                 

The pork belly we had was the best ever meal I've had.                                                                             

The time to explore Český Krumlov.                                                                                                                                    

Mirror Maze and photography studio.                                                                                              

The clocktower! And beauty of Český Krumlov.                                                                             

Photography tour/photo session.                                                                        

 

Global Architecture and Design

 

Technology trip

One of the integral parts of Global Architecture and Design program is the technology trips. These trips serve as a tool for broadening students’ knowledge for application in their projects. This semester, the five brave students visited two different places: Marine Engineering Company and Materió.

The Marine Engineering Company introduced students to the world of CNC technology. The company, located 20 minutes away from Prague, explained to students the steps involved in using CNC technology. As the title suggests, the company uses this process for building boats and, luckily for the Global AD squad, the actual cutting of boat parts was demonstrated.

The other trip organized within the beautiful city of Prague was to the Materió library of materials. Materió is a service that specializes in following material innovation all over the world. Their mission is to be constantly on the cutting edge with regard to emerging materials and technologies. This service is dedicated to all companies and individuals that are seeking to innovate, therefore ideal for our students. It is a perfect place not only for architects and designers, but also for creative people in general.

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11/25/2015

Fall 2015, Issue II

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Central European Studies

 

Overnight trip to Nuremberg- The Holocaust in the Films and Literature of Arnošt Lustig

Students of The Holocaust in the Films and Literature of Arnošt Lustig with Josef Lustig had a unique opportunity to travel participate in the specially designed academic over nigh field trip. They shared their experience of the trip with us.

"My entire life starting early on in my childhood I learned the horrors of the concentration camps the Nazis utilized. Prior to our journey to Flossenburg on the Nuremburg academic trip, I never could associate the knowledge with actual places; my mind somehow not completely connecting what I knew to reality because it is so unbelievable. However, upon visiting the site everything I learned in the past and was currently learning in class became almost too real.

 Upon arriving in Flossenburg we were faced with a climate that was all too fitting for the events that took place there with a fog so thick you could not see the building we were walking to, air so cold it bit through my pants, and sky so gloomy one could not help but feel the despair that still lingered in the air. In all honestly I preferred the weather of Flossenburg to a much greater extent not because I enjoyed it by any means, but because it gave me a very real glimpse into the suffering of the inmates that were once imprisoned there. The thought of having to get up before the sun rise and set to work in a quarry for 12 hours in that weather is unfathomable, but was the reality faced by many.

              Our stay our Nuremburg definitely made an impression as well. For starters, the hotel we stayed at and the dinner there were both out of this world! Following dinner we had a break down discussion of the day with the professor and his aunt, gaining further firsthand knowledge into the past. Afterwards, my peers and I decided to check out Nuremburg at night, leading us to a castle area that was converted into a center of nightlife for the city. The following day was accompanied by a series of adventures from walking the rally ground of the Nazi party, to visiting the Nuremburg courthouse where the trials took place, to walking into the depths of an old Nazi art bunker underneath the city.

Visiting Flossenburg and Nuremburg was an eye-opening experiences in so many ways. Being accompanied by Hanna (Professor Lustig’s aunt) on the trip, she provided invaluable insights of what life in the camp was actually like from someone who had to endure it herself. It moved something inside me to see that Hitler had not won his war against the Jews in it’s entirely. That there was survivors of his insanity that were able to start new lives (re-acclimate)  and bear witness to the evil of the past so it will never be repeated in such a systematic fashion in the future. I think it is critical to visit the sites that these crimes against humanity were committed in order to fully understand the extent of the Holocaust and just how something so unbelievable is to many really was. The Nuremburg academic trip was a powerful experience, an experience I definitely recommend for others to undertake."

Written by Chaz Hermanowski (Babson College)

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Communications, new media and journalism

 

Overnight trip to Brno with focus on Communications, Ethnic Minorities and the Media.

 

Students in CNMJ program with Martina and Lenka (CIEE Resident Staff in Prague) had the unique opportunity to participate in specially designed academic field trip to Brno. The objective of the trip was to explore Moravian culture, learn about student radio broadcasting run by students and discuss the image of ethnic minorities in media.

First stop was Radio R, local internet radio run by students at the Faculty of Social Science at Masaryk University. They are a non-commercial and non-profit radio. Their time and energy is voluntary. At Radio R they say many of them have experience from other radio and television programs, while many of them are not professionals in the field and therefore, Radio R is a hobby on the side of work or studies. More important for them than polished speech is enthusiasm, the desire to learn, and the potential to provide listeners with something interesting. Most of the CIEE students broadcasted for the very first time in their lives in Radio R.

Brno is the second largest city in the Czech Republic and the The Villa of Greta and Fritz Tugendhat from the years 1929–1930, designed by the architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, is an installed monument to Modern architecture. It is the only exemplar of Modern architecture in the Czech Republic recorded on the UNESCO List of World Cultural Heritage. CIEE students were impressed to be able to visit the room where the decision on Czechoslovakian division was made at a rounded table.

Brno is the capital of Moravian region well-known for wine tasting. It is part of Czech culture to grow grapes and produce delicious wines. Wine connoisseur introduced us to different types of wines and homemade cheese in Wine Gallery. ”Škvarky“ (pork rind) is the typical dish served on traditional Czech bread to accompany the wine tasting.

Fall is one of the most beautiful seasons in the Czech Republic... when it is not raining. It was not when we were in Brno and that is why students loved the guided tour in Brno so much. The surroundings of Špilberk castle were covered with leaves of all kinds of colors. It was peaceful to walk in the park and enjoy the view.

At the end of the trip we visited the biggest Museum of Romani culture in Central Europe in a neighborhood that locals call „Bronx of Brno“. The fact that the museum was founded in Brno is well substantiated: in its activities, the Museum draws on the legacy of the then first Romani organization in Czechoslovakia – The Association of Gypsies-Roma (1969-1973) which had its headquarters in Brno. The Museum’s mission has remained the same from the very beginning: thorough documentation of the history, as well as the traditional and temporary culture of the Roma whom the Museum considers to be a world-wide ethnic group. CIEE students discussed current image of Roma in media with PR manager Radek Žák. The museum is also a community center and work with Roma children.

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Film Studies

 Overnight trip to Zlín, Uherské Hradiště and Punkva caves with focus on animation and Czech immersion

During the weekend of October 9-11, 2015, students enrolled in the CIEE Prague Film Studies attended an overnight trip to Moravia region. The trip was specifically designed for them, so the focus was on film animation which has a significant history in the Czech lands. But of course studying abroad is not only about growing academically, but also getting to know other culture(s) and one of the CIEE primary missions is to provide as immersive experience for our students as possible.

One of the program participants had shared his experiences from that weekend:

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We traveled to Moravia, first to Zlín, and then to Uherské Hradiště, where we stayed in an excellent hotel. The highlights of the trip were many, so I am forced to summarize. In Zlín, we learned a bit about Tomáš Baťa, who turned a $320 inheritance from his mother into an international manufacturing company with a strict moral code to take care of its workers. Some referred to him as the Henry Ford of Europe, and rightly so. His methods for shoe production reduced the cost of high quality shoes in Czechoslovakia and the surrounding regions drastically. As an employer, he took care of his own with very high moral and ethical standards. For example, when he learned that his employees had to walk multiple hours from home to the factory every day, twice a day, he decided to build inexpensive, subsidized housing for his employees. When people regarded him as charitable, he would disagree, stating instead that it made economic sense to allow the entire population (not just his employees) to profit from economic growth as much as possible. In his mind, hours were always too long, and wages always too low. It was his responsibility to remedy that. An interesting factoid about Baťa is that he was the first to introduce the “99” to the end of a price-tag. He understood that “199” looks intuitively better than “200.”

In Zlín we also learned a bit about multiple forms of animation, including two forms of 2D animation, pixel animation, and puppet stop motion animation.

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Digital 2D Animation

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Traditional Cel 2D Animation

I found pixel animation particularly interesting. It involves using live actors as your subjects, and taking photos of them stop-motion style to produce interesting or impossible results. For example, you could have two people sitting on the floor with their arms raised to imaginary steering wheels, and have them move an inch at a time forward with each picture, creating the illusion that their bodies are “driving” across the floor.

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Pixel Animation

My favorite part of the trip was the trip to the Punkva Caves. The caves themselves were stunningly beautiful, and millions of years old.

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The tour ended with an underground boat ride, which was amazing! Albeit a little dangerous…lots of rocks
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Underground Boat Ride!!!!

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There is so much more to Moravia than I’ve just written, but you’ll have to take my word on that.”

Written by Corey Palermo (Rice University/CIEE FAMU Film Studies Production track)

Some of the animation workshop results are available here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/gcix1ipoisbw1pp/AAC-lZF_cKKV5ilG1nFtzZ_Ra?dl=0

In addition, students visited a local wine cellar as Moravia is traditionally a wine growing region. The winemaker, Mr. Vyhlíd, first shared the history of the “U Lisu” cellar – the first mention of the house and vineyard is from 1713! Yummy homemade dinner consisting of local specialties prepared by his wife was a highlight for many students, especially because it was accompanied by traditional Moravian life music. After the dinner, wine tasting followed and students got to learn about the winemaking process as well as about the traditional types of wine grown in the village of Mařatice and surroundings. Students were impressed by famous Moravian hospitality and Mr. Vyhlíd was happy to share his knowledge with such an interested and respectful group of young people.

Global Architecture and Design

Overnight trip to Berlin- Berlin Summit

 

Students from Global Architecture Design studio in Prague visited Berlin in early November in order to compare their study progress with students from Berlin and Barcelona studios. Find below impressions of one of our students, Allison Bettencourt.

On November 3rd, we arrived at Berlin around 15:00. We then navigated the metro system and got to the new CIEE building around 16:00 and were shown around the new building. We were then given packets with everything we would need for the week (room keys, schedules, emergency info, etc.). Free time began after all this and we went out to dinner as a group.

On November 4th, we got up early and all the GAD kids had breakfast together (provided by CIEE) while Maria Aiolova introduced herself and her work. It was very informative and nice of her. The food was good too. We then went outside and listened the speeches of the ribbon cutting ceremony. It was really interesting and surprising to see so many influential people in one place. The US Ambassador to Germany was there along with a member of the German Parliament. Seeing how security vetted the area before their arrival was also very interesting. After all of the festivities we went downstairs into the basement of the new CIEE facility and were able to sit and talk with Daniel Libeskind. That was a really memorable experience. We were all just sitting and asking questions to him. He was very personable and friendly; a truly amazing experience. After this we all gathered upstairs and went to the CIEE Conference at the Hilton Hotel. The teachers helped up get to the Hotel. The Conference had name tags for all of us and we were able to sit in reserved seated for the Daniel Libeskind speech. It was really interesting to see the difference in him and his topics between the more personal encounter and the formal speech. Both were amazing. He is a fantastic speaker. Once the conference was over, we were offered food and drinks. It was a very nice buffet of food and we were able to meet new people in the CIEE world.

On November 5th, we got up early and got our own breakfasts and coffee before our presentations. By 9 all GAD students were downstairs in the basement of the CIEE building preparing for our presentations. Maria Aiolova and the professors were also there. It was really nice having them there showing their support and interest in our projects. By 9:30 we were starting presentations. Berlin started off. They had mostly site analysis work and a very nice model. Then we went and answered some discussion questions that were asked after our presentations. And then Barcelona went. They had videos to show which were site analysis focused and nice. After this we went to lunch at the Market nearby and then were given free time.

On November 6th, we met downstairs by 9:15 to go to our tour of the Jewish Museum. It was a very nice tour (especially since we had just met with Daniel Libeskind). We then ate lunch at the café ad CIEE was nice enough to pay for it all. We then had a tour of the rest of Berlin with our professors and they did a very nice job. After that we were given free time.

We had free time on Saturday to explore the city ourselves and we left early Sunday. It was a very organized, fun, memorable experience.

Written by Allison Bettencourt (California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo)

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10/28/2015

Moravia

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

October 18, 2015

From the bottom of the gorge/canyon.

This past weekend we traveled to Moravia, first to Zlín, and then to Uherské Hradiště, where we stayed in an excellent hotel. The highlights of the trip were many, so I am forced to summarize. In Zlín, we learned a bit about Tomáš Baťa, who turned a $320 inheritance from his mother into an international manufacturing company with a strict moral code to take care of its workers. Some referred to him as the Henry Ford of Europe, and rightly so. His methods for shoe production reduced the cost of high quality shoes in Czechoslovakia and the surrounding regions drastically. As an employer, he took care of his own with very high moral and ethical standards. For example, when he learned that his employees had to walk multiple hours from home to the factory every day, twice a day, he decided to build inexpensive, subsidized housing for his employees. When people regarded him as charitable, he would disagree, stating instead that it made economic sense to allow the entire population (not just his employees) to profit from economic growth as much as possible. In his mind, hours were always too long, and wages always too low. It was his responsibility to remedy that. An interesting factoid about Baťa is that he was the first to introduce the “99” to the end of a price-tag. He understood that “199” looks intuitively better than “200.”

In Zlín we also learned a bit about multiple forms of animation, including two forms of 2D animation, pixel animation, and puppet stop motion animation.

20151010-20151010-IMG_4107Digital 2D Animation20151010-20151010-IMG_4167Traditional Cel 2D Animation

I found pixel animation particularly interesting. It involves using live actors as your subjects, and taking photos of them stop-motion style to produce interesting or impossible results. For example, you could have two people sitting on the floor with their arms raised to imaginary steering wheels, and have them move an inch at a time forward with each picture, creating the illusion that their bodies are “driving” across the floor.

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My favorite part of the trip was the trip to the Punkva Caves. The caves themselves were stunningly beautiful, and millions of years old.

20151011-20151011-IMG_4329 Punkva Pic Punkva Caves

The tour ended with an underground boat ride, which was amazing! Albeit a little dangerous…lots of rocks.

20151011-20151011-IMG_4390Underground Boat Ride!!!!

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There is so much more to Moravia than I’ve just written, but you’ll have to take my word on that. Thanks for reading!

04/26/2015

INSERT SARAH MCLACHLAN SONG HERE

by Emmy Weiner (Kenyon College)

April 5th, 2015

 

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Preterminal nostalgia has begun. This phrase (which I coined. And doesn’t actually make sense with an exact definition.) perfectly describes how I’ve been starting to feel recently. I know that technically there’s still a lot of time left…but I keep finding myself looking back fondly on this abroad experience as if it’s already over. As hard as I try to look forward to what’s still to come, it definitely makes me sad to know that my time here is dwindling. So, it’s time to make the most of these next six weeks.

It is here that I would like to give my sincerest apologies to all (both?) of my loyal blog followers (shout out: Hi, Mom and Dad!). Apparently I overestimated my blog posting abilities…which would explain why I’ve only posted two things while I’ve been here. Oops. So I think for the rest of this post, I’ll just give you some brief descriptions of notable things that have happened in the past month.

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We spent an entire day at the Hafan Animation Studios and animated a (very bizarre) movie about a man and his love affair with a horse. It was about as deep and emotionally riveting as a thirteen second movie about beastiality could be.

 

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I spent a weekend in Italy. The food was amazing (how are Italians not fat?), and Venice and Florence are both beautiful cities. We rented a car to drive from Venice to Florence and began our journey by driving for two hours…the complete wrong way. We learned that north and south are, apparently, not interchangeable directions. Who knew?

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In case you didn’t know (by the way, I have no idea who I’m talking to when I say “you.” For all I know, these blog posts are actually just being addressed to my parents.), I was an extra in House of Cards, season three (top left of this picture!). My debut was sensational, and I’m now constantly being harassed by Hollywood executives in response to my incredible talent of, what I like to call, “standing in the background for less than a second.”

I visited Ireland. Dublin is pretty cool, but I was actually a bigger fan of the Cliffs of Moher and Irish countryside, which is really as green and awesome as it looks in movies. It was also very nice to spend some time in an English-speaking location.

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I travelled to London (and spent a day in Paris with my family. And it was amazing. All six of us have such big personalities, and I honestly can’t think of a point in that trip when I wasn’t entertained. I’m still convinced that someone should make a reality show about us just interacting. That show could probably be at least as popular as my blog. Zach, Jake, and I learned that our southern accents were convincing enough to make random British people believe that we were from Texas.

I had about eight hours of turnaround time between my family trip and our program trip to Brno. We went to a clowning workshop and a wine tasting, which were both really fun. We also watched a movie about Pedophiles. That was less fun.

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And my last trip explanation: I went to Český Krumlov…a little town in the Czech countryside, and it was awesome. I went with three DoPs (Directors of Production. AKA camera guys), so fortunately, that meant I got to spend a lot of time modeling (and/or standing in front of a camera awkwardly). We were also reminded of the importance of turning off your car lights.

Our program went to the “Invisible Exhibition,” a really cool interactive museum where we were guided around for an hour in complete darkness. I’m already a pretty jumpy person when I have all of my senses…so hearing a lot of sudden noises without having my sight took some getting used to. And I may or may not have screamed in my tour guide’s face multiple times.

Final fun fact: Yesterday, I saw a man walking around with a mountain lion on a leash. I kid you not. Apparently it’s not an uncommon thing here, and the locals were confused by our confusion.

And that’s all I have for you. Tomorrow (AKA Easter Monday) is the day when the boys are supposed to whip the girls of Prague (something about fertility…?), so wish me luck!

11/18/2014

Písek Hike

During the weekend of October 17th-19th, 2014, CIEE Film Studies program spent a weekend in Bohemia on an excursion. On Friday, we had a guided tour of the city of Písek followed by a tour of Písek film schools. Local students joined us for dinner and the Opening ceremony of the 14th International Student Film Festival Písek 2014 ended the day. Saturday was dedicated to film projections and on Sunday, students got some fresh air while hiking, geocaching and mushroom picking in Kašperské mountains. Enjoy a video that Aaron Barnett from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington shared with us:

 

 

05/06/2014

The Travelogue

By Griff Jones, Whitman College

April 15, 2014

With the semester wrapping up much more quickly than anticipated, I feel as though now is a good point to catch up with the going-ons of the past month and a half or so.  It has been a long while since I wrote for this blog.  In all likelihood, this will be my final post, but there may be one more to wrap up my experience this semester.  This one, however, will be a doozy, and I hope to cover the events since my last post.  Due to the scope, then, I apologize that depth may not be a priority, and a travelogue is what follows.

A month and a half ago, we pitched our films, which was a very nerve-wracking and frustrating experience (positive feedback isn’t a huge thing here, unfortunately) that led to a few weeks of work on our scripts.  Ultimately, after a lot of revisions and uncertainty, we arrived at a final product we like, and are about to actually film it.  Making a movie is a lot of work, and we’ve been incrementally working towards this production period the whole semester.  At the moment, we have a script, a storyboard, a technical screenplay, actors, and a crew, and we film next week.  Our film, due to our location, will be shot overnight two nights in a row, from 10pm to 8am.  Other films are shooting now – one is done, one starts tomorrow, and then there’s one more before we shoot.  At the end of all five groups production, the film is developed and transferred to a digital format which we then edit to a final product.  That is then sound-mixed and color corrected, and we premiere it on the final day of our program.  The day after the premiere, I leave for a trip to Rome, the Alps, and then Paris before coming home for one day and going to Jackson, WY, for a summer internship.  Life will be hectic, to say the least.  But it’s fun work, and keeps me excited!  

Anyways.  After the pitch, the rest of the weekend was spent at Hafan Animation Studio, which I was originally a bit unenthusiastic about. I generally enjoy the mandatory activities, but we have had a LOT of them, so I thought I was ready to be done. Actually though, this turned out to be the coolest. We split into two groups and went on different days, and then each of those groups split in half again. So Adam, Andie, Michelle, and I spent the first half of the day animating three puppets to create the first part of the short film our group made. It was so fun, and very informative about how difficult, detailed, and tedious old school frame by frame animation is. The attention to minutiae that animators have is insane, seriously. But, for 3 hours, it was awesome! The studio felt like an art studio and had a very bohemian vibe about it. The second half of the day we made facades with a window in them to get a feel for how the sets are made. It was basically an arts and crafts project; we sawed, painted, glued, and made some pretty cool looking “buildings.” It was seriously enjoyable. 

Krakow and Auschwitz

The following weekend, Adam, Michelle, Dominic and I went on the CIEE trip to Krakow and Auschwitz.  We met at midnight for the bus ride, which provided a fitful night of sleep before arriving loopy and dazed at Auschwitz.  The whole town had a sense of gloom to it, due partly to the cloudy weather and the sites we knew lay ahead.  We had breakfast at a youth hostel, and then sleep-deprived yet sober, we went to the former concentration camp.  Auschwitz is a collection of brick barracks, and each of the barracks had been converted into a museum.  The topics, while horrifying, were hard to comprehend in their entirety due to the sheer scale of the atrocities that occurred.  I can hardly fathom death as it is at my age, and the numbers killed there were difficult to morph to concrete, relatable concepts in my head.  The rooms full of human hair and shoes were telling in that regard, though, and difficult to witness.  After Auschwitz we traveled to Birkenau, which was even harder to believe.  It is huge.  The remains of the wooden barracks are marked by the still-standing chimneys that sprawl across a huge field.  Again, it was hard to fully fathom.  I appreciate having seen it and been present where such a world-defining event occurred, but being there didn’t get me any closer to understanding the events, I think, than reading about it had.  I don’t know what 1,000 people look like enclosed in a small barracks, only that I should be appalled by it.  It’s hard to relate to, essentially.  It was a very sobering experience – one I likely will not repeat, but I’m glad I did it.  I feel like it’s something everyone should do if possible.  

After a slightly detoxing bus ride nap, we arrived in Krakow later that afternoon.  That city…  It’s beautiful, and compact, and fun.  I really liked it, partly because it had a very college-y vibe.  And rightly so; a large portion of its population are students.  We explored the square, went on a brief walk around, and then took a break before going to an incredible sushi restaurant for dinner.  The restaurant was as hole-in-the-wall as I’ve ever been to, and we just told them what we wanted to pay and they made us whatever they wanted.  It was the best sushi I’ve had.  We then took a cab to the Kazimierz, or Jewish District, of town (which really wasn’t that far, but we were with a girl with a cast on her foot).  We bar hopped a bit and then went home, but it was really cool to experience some of the nightlife.  The next day was entirely in Krakow, and we had a tour of the castle and cathedral.  The cathedral in the main square in town has an altar totally plated in gold – it was gorgeous.  I had pierogies for lunch and dinner, because they were that delicious.  And we also went to the Oscar Schindler Factory, which is now a museum about Nazi-occupied Krakow.  That night I joined a group of people from the trip and went back to the Kazimierz.

The next day we went to the Salt Mines of Poland.  I did not have high hopes for this, as my main desire to go on the trip was to see Auschwitz.  I was blown away, though.  The Salt Mines were a functioning business for over 1,000 years, and only shut down large-scale production in the ‘90s.  In a two hour tour, we went through the top three levels.  Underneath lay at least ten more levels, all man-made.  This is after we went down something like 60 flights of stairs from the surface just to get to the first level.  The scale is just mind boggling!  And the air down there was incredible – they treat asthma down there in a hospital (still to this day!) and I could see why.  It felt balmy, but not humid, due to the salt in the air.  There were altars all over the place carved out of the salt, and the largest underground chapel in the world is there.  In that chapel, there are tons of lifelike sculptures and even a fresco of the Last Supper carved out of salt.  It was a blast – I had no expectations going in and it was one of the coolest places I’ve been to in Europe.  The scale and history of such a place is just so awe-inspiring.  

Tourist in Prague

The next weekend I took as an opportunity to explore Prague some more, and be a tourist here.  I went to the Mucha Museum, where Alfons Mucha’s prints are displayed.  I love his art, and going there inspired me to go see the Slav Epic, his magnum opus, displayed elsewhere in the city.  So the next day I went to the National Gallery and saw it.  The Slav Epic consists of twenty massive paintings, each the size of a two story wall, I would say.  They tell different stories from the history of the Slav people throughout Europe, and are just jaw-dropping.  The rest of the museum was meh, though…  I ran into a Whittie there, however!  It’s a small world.  I then went to DOX, the museum of contemporary art, which was also just okay.  But I was glad to explore the city some more and seek out new things I had yet to see.  

Vienna

The next week, Shannon came to town and we went to a few more places in Prague that I hadn’t been to, such as a museum by the castle.  We went together to Vienna that weekend, which is an incredibly gorgeous city.  I don’t know why, but German speaking countries are incredibly appealing to me.  I think just the slightly more American culture and laid back, bike riding demeanor of the people there makes them more relatable to me.  The Inner Stadt, where the Hapsburg Palaces are in Vienna, is one of the most gorgeous areas of any city I’ve ever seen.  On Sunday we went to the art gallery housed in one of them, which was a great gallery (partly because of the space it was in, no doubt).  It was also just fun walking around the city, which is very cosmopolitan, yet when you look up you realize that the buildings that house what is now a mall were originally homes to nobility and royalty.  The architecture was incredible there.  We also went to the Hapsburgs’ summer palace, not far from our hostel, and did a tour of it.  It was crazy how massive and ostentatious it was, but the crowds made it a less than ideal experience.  But seeing the splendor of that palace was worth dealing with them.  We then went to the zoo, in the massive park behind the summer palace.  On our way, we ran into another Whittie, who turned out to be the first of two from that weekend (another was staying in our hostel, and we met up and chatted on Sunday morning briefly).  That was crazy!  Anyway, the weather was gorgeous, so going to the zoo was a great choice.  The Vienna zoo is supposedly the best zoo in Europe (or self-advertised as such), and I would believe it!  It was really cool, and a fun break from cultural/historical Europe.  I would almost definitely visit Vienna again, along with Berlin.  

Olomouc and Uherske Hradiste

Then, now three weekends ago, our last weekend of travel arrived.  As part of our program, we went to Olomouc and another small Czech town, Uherske Hradiste, in Moravia (the Eastern region of the Czech Republic).  In Olomouc, we did a walking tour and then did a green-screen exercise with some students at the college there.  It was a quaint town, but quite pretty, and our hosts were very welcoming.  In Uherske Hradiste, we went to a museum about slivovice, or plum brandy that’s traditionally illegally distilled as moonshine.  We then went and had a slivovice tasting with a local family.  It was actually my first time welcomed into a Czech home, and they were very friendly and had a lovely house with a courtyard where they fed us delicious pastries and snacks during the tasting.  Afterwards, we walked around the town a bit and rested back at the lovely hotel we stayed at.  We had an amazing dinner off the beaten path, which was just one of MANY delicious meals we had that weekend.  To neglect mentioning the meals we ate would be criminal.  We had three course meals almost every day, and they were SO good.  We ate a ton, and all of it was amazing.  Go CIEE!  Later that night we had a private wine tasting with a man who made his own wines.  That was really fun too, and took place in his personal cellar where we spent a couple hours learning about wine and eating yet more tasty snacks.  On Sunday we went to a cave, where we went on a walking tour that transitions into a boat tour.  That was my second subterranean adventure of the semester, and while not quite as grandiose as the Salt Mines, it was super fun and very pretty.  Plus being in nature was a nice change of pace.  That weekend was in generally very relaxing, and a nice respite from the business of our workload.  

Fresh Eyes

Unfortunately, however, the next weekend I was laid out with what the doctor first thought was strep, but turned out to be mono.  So, that was a bummer, and sucked quite a bit.  But, I’m better now thanks to modern medicine, and when I reemerged from my sick, TV-obsessed cocoon, it had become spring in Prague!  So, with fresh eyes I’ve been re-experiencing the city.  It truly is gorgeous, and a very manageable city to live in.  I’ve dealt a bit with culture shock throughout the semester, however, and have discovered I just don’t like urban living a ton.  Add in the smoke that’s rampant here, destroying my asthmatic lungs, and I’ve had some times I haven’t wanted to be here.  But, newly healthy and with a rejuvenated perspective, I’m working on enjoying my final month here in Prague.  I’ll never live here, I think I can say extremely definitively, but I’ll definitely visit again.  I won’t close any doors in my life, but I think that extends to all of Europe as well.  Everything seems quite packed together, and the wide open spaces I’m used to and love from the American West don’t really exist in the same way here.  Which is fine, and I’m very excited to explore more of the urban centers in Europe throughout my life, as well as the Alps, but I think this may be my most extended stay on the continent.  But I’ll never say never! 

My classes are over now, except for four electives that I attend sparingly due to the demands of the production period. And now with nothing to do but make final arrangements for my shoot next week and crew on other shoots, it’s going to be interesting to study and work for my other classes’ finals.  But I’m going to try and be productive with my time and get in some final bits of exploration of the city.  

Anyway, with my travels over until after the program, there’s little to write about other than day to day activities.  Granted, those are going to get pretty interesting with the addition of making a movie of this level of quality.  So I hope to write one or two final wrap up posts about the moviemaking process and maybe my travels at the end, but my track record has been pretty pathetic with maintaining the blog.  Regardless, I hope you’ve enjoyed hearing about my semester’s adventures to this point!  Thanks for reading!