Prague is really starting to allow me to explore my creative side. Connecting with groups of people who share similar passions and hobbies as me has really put me in a new perspective of what this city is all about. It is interesting to me that with such a neutral city in terms of politics, religion, and territory, the all-around attitude is a more accepting environment than the States. I find myself looking more often for true Czech cultural experiences because ultimately I want to be absorbing as much from this experience as I can. Living here for over a month now has really permitted me to find my groove here and its making increasing my interest about the program and the city more and more each day.
The Fall 2016 semester had begun and we have 21 students on site (14 enrolled in the Production track and 7 enrolled in the Screenwriting track). The 3-week orientation period is close to its end and students are enjoying new experiences while living in a foreign city.
How was their first weeks?
Film Studies program is a practical program designed for active students whose passion is filmmaking. Especially for the Production track, image should be stronger than words...and Tommy Petroskey (Fairfield University) has proven it by sharing this wonderful video with his first impressions with us:
The Film Studies orientation was shortened into two days (traditional sessions in the mornings and walks around the city after lunch) and it seems to be working great.
Our student services team in cooperation of one of the Czech buddies prepared a new format of the orientation walk. This way students are more involved and in a scavenger hunt style they truly learn about the city of Prague and its transportation.
Students also enjoyed the welcome dinner on the boat immensely - the weather was amazing!
Since the first weekend after arrival for free, buddies already planned some Interest Group Activities for the students:
Cooking lesson - Czech pastries
and the Invisible Exhibition.
High culture event
On Thursday, September 1st, students enjoyed the "Cube" dance performance at the New Scene of the National Theatre, Laterna Magika. This term we allowed students to pick a performance of their preference before they arrived on site, and we have to say all were happy with their choice!
Day trip to Křivoklát castle
On Saturday, September 3rd, both tracks attended a new UJOP trip to Křivoklát castle which was built in the 13th century. After a hike to the castle, they enjoyed the guided tour and a yummy Czech style lunch followed. This was a true Czech-style experience as this is exactly how many Czech families decide to spend their weekends!
Czech immersion trip
Screenwriting track is currently on a 4-day long Czech immersion trip at Charles University premises at the beautiful bohemian city Stráž nad Nežárkou. They are learning the language while enjoying the beauty of the ending summer. They are also working on a video project we hope we will be able to share on this platform soon!
Meet up party (September, 5th)
We added a special twist to our traditional first all get together event of this semester and it was a great success! Almost all students from all 4 programs visited the Meet up party and had a chance to meet buddies, staff but also other study abroad students and locals. All visitors were given a half of card at the entrance and their task was to find a person who has the other part during the course of the evening. Once they found each other they had to introduce themselves and find out more about the person. Meanwhile everyone could be involved in bowling tournament and win Czech souvenirs. Rest of visitors could play billiard, darts, table football and many other games. We are looking forward to our next get together event and hope it will be another big success!
On Friday, September 9th, students will explore the famous Barrandov Film Studios and Hafan animation workshop will entertain them in the following two weekends.
Overall, it seems we are off to a successful start of the semester!
Studying abroad the CIEE Film Studies program in Prague is truly a unique and life enriching opportunity! Check out the video that our Spring 2016 student Jackson Xia (University of Colorado at Boulder) created for us as a part of his volunteering project!
by Corey Palermo, Rice University - CIEE FAMU Film Studies Production track
September 17, 2015
I’ve been here three weeks and learned a fair bit of basic Czech, including general pronunciation, numbers, introductions, restaurants, and grocery stores. I’ve received compliments from Czechs on my accent and my ability to learn new words quickly. Unfortunately, I’m hopelessly far from understanding the grammar rules, let alone fluent communication.
I think there are two key difficulties in learning Czech. The first is pronunciation. It’s true that Czech words are pronounced exactly as they are written. That helps. However, learning to pronounce the Czech alphabet properly can take some time, and some letters are pretty damn frustrating. For example, there’s the notorious “Ř.” This letter is pronounced like a rolled r muddled together with a sort of “zheh” sound. This wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t commonly used, but sometimes it feels as though a word with this hell-spawn appears in nearly every other sentence.
The second major difficulty is grammar. The suffixes at the ends of words change depending on whether they are subjects or objects, singular or plural, masculine or feminine, etc. For example, to order two beers, you have to use the words for “two” (“Dva”) and “beer” (“pivo”). To say it properly, you must say, “Dvě piva.” You have to alter both the number and the object. Isn’t that lovely?
So basically, the bottom line is that I can get by saying everything improperly…people will understand. I’ll just sound like a small child, or a horribly illiterate young man.
The 3rd Issue of CIEE Prague Newsletter concentrates on the special projects which were prepared by CIEE students during the Fall 2014 semester. Students from our four programs, namely Central European Studies, Communications, New Media + Journalism, Film Studies and Global Architecture and Design, spent a considerable amount of time and put a lot of effort into creating those exciting and unique projects, which are discussed in this newsletter in detail.
Enjoy reading about those outstanding special students´ projects!
Central European Studies
Special Immersion trip
Special Czech Immersion trip is an optional 3 day trip that our students can join. We prepared this trip last semester and because it was so successful, we decided to keep it. This trip is specific not only because just a small group of students attend (max. 10), but especially because our students do not stay in a hotel. They are accommodated with local families in Vodňany, a town in Southern Bohemia.
Students are accompanied by one of our Czech language teacher on behalf of CIEE. By preparing this trip we wished to give our students another opportunity for their immersion. And what is better than to take them to a small town far away from Prague and let them live with local families for a weekend?
On Friday, students visit a local high school, meet up with local students and spend an evening together. They meet their families for the weekend and also learn more about our culture. This semester students learned more about our St. Nicolas traditions and even decorated typical Czech ginger bread cookies. Saturday is spent with the families that prepare the program for the day.
On Sunday, students are taken to České Budějovice where they have a guided tour around the town and a brewery visit. After lunch, it is time to say good bye and head back to Prague.
This trip is an exceptional opportunity for students seeking to get more out of their study abroad experience, and we are that several students take advantage of this unique opportunity.
Feedbacks from our students:
“Fantastic! It was very well-organized and there was also time to explore the town with family. The high school was interesting and I enjoyed spending time with the students.”
“The trip gave me a chance to interact with Czech people that I have not had yet this semester.”
“The trip was well organized and very interesting.”
“I had a wonderful weekend, and I am very glad that I came on this trip! Výborně!”
“My best experience in Czech Republic so far! Thank you!”
“This was the most growing and learning experience I have had here so far and I am so thankful!”
“This has been the highlight trip since I have been in the Czech Republic. It was an amazing experience.”
“I learned a lot and loved staying with a family. It was nice experiencing what short stay would be like.”
“I would definitely recommend this trip to anyone in the program, it was so fun and a real immersion experience.”
“Loved it! Had an amazing time. Everything was great.”
Communications, New Media + Journalism
Victoria Macoul spent her semester as an intern for Motus, an organization “helping to create and present new performances and other creative acts, run debates and workshops, and initiate events beyond theatre: cultural development activities for an open democratic society” (Motus website). Victoria had many tasks, but one of her favorites was participating in the Dia De Los Muertos/Day of the Dead festival:
„Motus, in cooperation with Puppets without Borders, brings a bit of Mexico to the Czech lands this year for the ninth time. Against the romantic background of Stromovka park children and their parents can learn these traditional practices, participate in a parade of lanterns, hear real live Mexican music, see performances for kids, shadow puppets and installations made of food – to eat!” (Motus website)
“I think the best part about working at the festival was being immersed in a setting where there were people from every generation. Sometimes as a student you find yourself surrounded solely by people your age, so it was nice to have interaction with families and young children.” Victoria Macoul, Communications Major, Virginia Wesleyan College
Český Rozhlas, Radio Prague:
You can learn more here about Jelani Spencer-Joe’s (Public Relations Major/Broadcasting Minor, Susquehanna University) work at her internship with Český Rozhlas, Czech Republic’s public radio broadcaster in operation since 1923.
Opened for the first time this semester, ICL is taught by Jana, our Center Director. Because the course touches on issues on intercultural communication issues, this course is offered as CNMJ course credit. Several CNMJ students took part and had to complete a „digital story.“ Alex Paxman, Communications Major, Bryant University would like to share hers with you:
CNMJ’s very own Jake Weeks (Roger Williams University, Communications Major) was the Creative Director of The Happening and was instrumental in putting the event together. Here’s more about it in his own words:
“The first annual CIEE ‘Happening’ was a program for students to partner up with a Czech action artist and collaborate on a project. Cynthia, Ivanna, and I met with Tomáš Moravec, an artist turned viral video star after he hacked a wooden pallet to glide down the tram tracks of Bratislava, Slovakia, and over the course of the semester we carefully planned out our project. We would film the ‘action’; the students coming in and out of the CIEE door, and edit the footage together to form a construction. Later on the evening of December 8th, we projected this footage onto a cloud of steam outside the door to complete the reconstruction. The intention was to make a statement on how fast the semester goes, and how our time in Prague will soon fade away.”
Insert video from Z:\CIEE Promotion\Newsletters\Fall 2014\Newsletter 3\CNMJ materials
Buddy Dance Video
“Honza is an awesome buddy for many reasons, but mostly because he's so fun to be around. As you can see in the video, he's always a source of entertainment. At the same time, I wouldn't have survived the first two weeks in Prague without Honza. He was more than willing to drop everything at any time to help me find the post office, grocery store, or wherever I needed to go. He is always willing to help and made my experience in the Czech Republic much easier and more enjoyable.” Joel Thom, University of California-Sacramento, Communications
Hafan animation studio workshop
Undoubtedly the most favorite excursion/workshop for the Film Studies program is HAFAN Studio Animation workshop. They split into groups of approximately 5 students and during one day they learn how to make a traditional animation short film with puppets. Only a couple of minutes of film can be created within the limited time, but all students agree it is definitely worth the experience.
Feedbacks from our students:
“A great place to explore and helpful to get experience using professional expertize.”
“One of the coolest projects I got to work on!”
“Absolutely wonderful. I'd love to spend a day just watching the animators!”
See one of the outcomes of the Fall 2014 semester below:
Intensive Beginning Czech Language course
CIEE Prague makes sure that even the Intensive Beginning Czech Language course is designed specifically for filmmakers. Vocabulary and phrases learned are often time then used during the production process when Production track students occasionally get Czech actors to cooperate with them (if they choose to make their final film in Czech, subtitled to English). Our Czech teacher Luděk Brouček makes them work with the textbook Film Czech - Survival Czech Course for Students of Film and Photography published by Ilona Kořánová in 2013.
Feedbacks from our students:
“It really helped with daily life in the Czech Republic and being able to at least try to communicate.”
“This was one of the best and most interactive language courses I have ever taken. We learned so much in such a short period of time.”
“I learned a lot in this course - Luděk is an amazing teacher and I was so impressed by how well he handled the whole class.”
To deepen the student experience, Luděk came up with a special video project: students had to come up with scenarios in which the got to use what they learnt. Again, see some of the results below:
CIEE Film studies students are usually strongly motivated individuals with true passion for filmmaking. Therefore they often come up with short independent films during their study abroad experience. Aaron Barnett from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and James Cashman from Seattle University came up with a couple of videos for their CIEE film studies blog - do not forget to checkout previous entries:
And last, but definitely not least, - <List names> from <list film name> production gave us a permission to publish their 16mm feature film project they created as their program requirement this term. They managed to shoot this project within 48-72 hours. Enjoy a selection of what we saw on the Final Screening on Thursday, December 18th.
Global Architecture and Design
This semester´s final projects of Global Architecture and Design students explored the island of Štvanice and proposed various ‘‘Amphibious Structures'' for the new festival ground. <insert GAD Photo Stvanice> This area with lot of commercial and urban potential became quite isolated and unused over the years. Our students presented new concepts for its future development.
In particular, students focused on opportunities to use the island´s full potential, especially for commercial use. The main focus was on the entertainment aspect of the island´s urban development. Nowadays, festivals are becoming major contributors to local and global economy as they have the ability to revitalize specific urban context and internationally promote the city as a rich-program destination.
Each student was given a specific area which they had to research and present a new idea of its future development. They had to face several challenges. The necessity for self-sufficient public space and infrastructure of future cities, they succeeded to propose a unique typology and technological intervention that can have profound impact not only on local surrounding, but can be applied on any context with similar challenges.
During the three core courses of Global Architecture and Design, the students were taught new technologies, methods and ways of thinking by leading figures of the contemporary scene of Czech architecture in order to successfully complete their special tasks.
CIEE Study Center Prague wishes you Happy Holidays!