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19 posts categorized "Cultural Immersion"




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.


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.


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



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.


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).


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.


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.




Fall 2017 ISSUE I



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.


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.


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.


Spring 2017, Issue I


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!

FS1 (002)
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."


"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."


"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.


New perspective

by Tommy Petroskey (Fairfield University)

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

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. 


CIEE Film Studies in Prague

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!



Czech is a Difficult Lanuage

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

 September 17, 2015

Czech language professor Ludek Broucek.

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.

Funny and Interesting Things

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

 September 8, 2015


I’ve been surprised by the sights in Prague more than a few times during my stay thus far. The least significant of them being the very unusual image of Nicholas Cage’s head attached to a goat body (“koza” means “goat”) found nearby the Lennon wall. This post is dedicated to a few interesting tidbits. Please remember that the following are based on my experiences here, as I perceived them. Not all of my perceptions nor my generalizations are necessarily accurate, and they are limited to Prague.

  1. Customer service in Czech Republic need not be all smiles and pleasant interactions. In fact, it’s more common to be greeted rather brusquely or even coldly as disgruntled store clerks and deli counter workers slog through their work day.
  2. Not one person has said anything to me to get me to move out of their way. The phrases for “excuse me” or “may I pass” are readily available, but even moms with their baby strollers have quietly waited behind me, expecting me to eventually notice their intentions and move out of the way. Otherwise, people just lightly shove each other instead of politely communicating.
  3. Beggars are often seen kneeling on the ground, head bowed, holding out a baseball cap for change. Most of the time they do not speak or even look up.
  4. Behavior by men that would be interpreted as sexual harassment in the States is often interpreted here as “normal” flirtation. Several of my female classmates have been somewhat awkwardly touched or even “grabbed” by men interested in them. Somewhat contradictorily, a bright smile and direct eye contact is more than enough to indicate to a man or woman that you are interested. One need not stoop to vulgar and invasive physical contact.
  5. Medical School here is pretty much tuition-free and lasts 6 years. There is no “bachelor’s degree” required for Medical School here. The whole program, theory through to clinical work, is 6 years long, and culminates with a state exam to receive your (master’s) degree in medicine. If a student decides to leave medical school to pursue something else, they leave with no degree–not even a bachelor’s.
  6. The diet here is very heavy on fatty meats, sauces, dumplings, and breads. Despite this diet, there aren’t too many obese people. My Slovak flat buddy Bara claims this is due to smaller portion sizes compared to the U.S., combined with a lot more walking.
  7. Czechs are generally impressed and grateful when I try to speak their language. Generally they know it’s a difficult language and do their best to communicate, rather than getting annoyed or insulting. I think this is different from the U.S., where we often insult foreigners for speaking English poorly relative to a native English speaker.
  8. Segways are incredibly annoying and I dislike them. So many segway tours. So. Many.
  9. The river going right through Prague is called Vltava (“vultahva”) by Czechs, and they generally don’t like the name “Moldau” for it. The Moldau is the Vltava’s anglicized name.
  10. Food and beer are cheap, but clothes are very expensive, comparable to Western European prices.
  11. There’s pretty significant air pollution in Prague, and one can see a cloud of smog hovering over Petrin hill pretty clearly. Contact lenses can be kind of a hassle because of the smog.
  12. There are many little independent cinemas here, screening both new and old films and often serving food and alcohol.

That’s all for this post! Cau!



by Emmy Weiner (Kenyon College)

April 5th, 2015



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.


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.



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?


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.


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.


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!



by Emmy Weiner (Kenyon College)

February 8th, 2015

Who knew that Jason Derulo’s “Talk Dirty to Me” could be so relevant? Well, you said it, Jason…after two weeks of intensive Czech, I certainly do not speak the language. Sure, there have been improvements, and I (probably) didn’t fail the test I took on Friday, but, guys…Czech is hard.

First of all, pronunciation. Whoever created this language has some severe vowel aversion and decided that life would be better if consonants ruled the world. I’m sure you think I’m being dramatic, so let me give you a few examples:

ice cream- zmrzlina, neck- krk, to shower- sprchovat se, Thursday- čtvrtek, separate- zvlášt


Next complaint: double negatives. Co nikdy neděláte? Translation: What do you never not do? Meaning: What don’t you do? Um…what? The grammar geek in me (and let’s face it, she’s a pretty big part of me) wants to cry and/or die when I try to make sense of the phrasing of that question. If someone asked me something like that in English, I think I’d just tilt my head to the side and stare judgmentally at said question-asker until either A) the question was rephrased, or B) he or she got offended by my hostility and walked away.

Final thought on language: gender. There are actually a few examples of this, but I’ll just tell you the one that I find the craziest. Men and women have different last names. So, if a man’s last name is, for example, Sysa, his wife and daughters’ last name would be Sysova, implying some form of male ownership. Alright, feminists: go nuts.

And, now, update time. Life in Prague is still pretty great, and I find that I am constantly baffled by the beauty and novelty of everything I see. My sense of direction is absolutely miserable, but I’m starting to get familiar with specific areas (like where I live and where I go to school). There is, however, a lot more exploring to be done. Really, I want to try enough of everything (restaurants, cafes, bars, stores…everything), so that I can confidently pick my favorites. I’m still honeymooning hard (remember the culture shock phases?), but that could very possibly end tomorrow with the start of classes. BUT my classes actually have the potential to be pretty cool, and I’ve heard great things about the FAMU professors (and the book written by my main screenwriting teacher is kind of awesome)…so who knows?

And that’s all I have for you. I know long distance communication is not a strength of mine, so I apologize to anyone I haven’t been keeping in touch with. Hopefully these posts will serve as an adequate update until we see each other again. Na shledanou!