In Prague, the capital city of the Czech Republic, I have stayed in a hotel in the main city center, rooming with a fellow Pitt student. This was the first hotel I’ve been to with single beds, but that appears to be the trend over here. A complimentary continental breakfast is included every morning, which I have taken full advantage of every day before class. It is the most impressive free breakfast display I have ever seen, including a wide selection ranging from various meats to pastries, and everything in between.
The city of Prague is very old and full of adventures, with endless cobblestone streets and old bridges to travel on. If walking is not your preferred means of transit, there are plenty of other ways, including trams, taxis, metro, and they even have Uber here. One can expect an average dinner to cost around 200 korunas, the local currency, and your first thought would likely be “Holy cow that’s expensive!” but in reality that comes out to be around eight US dollars.
My class consists of Pitt students only, and is taught by a Pitt professor, however we have had local guest lecturers teach us material as well. We have been focussing on the economy of the Czech Republic and the uphill progress since the end of communism and a planned economy. It is very moving to learn much of the material from local guest lecturers who experienced the transition first hand while growing up here, and have personal stories of their real-life experiences. Much of our curriculum consists of touring the city and its companies and economic powerhouses, which beats sitting in a Sennott Square classroom any day in my book!
I have had the opportunity to meet many locals and other students from all over the world. There are many American students from schools all over the US, but I was even more excited to have met students from Brazil, South Korea, and numerous European countries. My Facebook friend list has obtained a great amount of international friends, and my feed now consists of many posts I cannot understand because they’re not in English, but that is why we have google translate.
A handful of my classmates and I went to a local gym to work out, and I had to learn the metric system very quickly, including kilograms, kilometers, and much more. I didn’t have to touch a 60 kilogram weight to know it was way more than 60 pounds, given its massive size alone. They also served cake for free at this gym, which seems extremely ironic, but when in Prague…do as the Czech people do, and eat cake at the gym.
I have obtained great insight on the local economy and the benefits that a free market, tourism, and globalization of economies have had on the Czech Republic and other former Soviet Bloc states. The cultural skills I am obtaining will likely serve the most benefit to me in the future, as it is important to understand that not everyone lives like you do. Understanding how to interact with people from different cultures will serve great importance in my future career in the increasingly globalized world of business.