This program has offered me so many amazing experiences and opportunities, and to think that it has only been about halfway through! I have been learning so much, and I am exposed to something new each day. Not only has my internship site at Grafton Recruitment brought about these new experiences, but also the city of Prague itself has opened new doors for me. Here are just some of a few highlights from my trip, or more specifically here are thirteen reasons why I love this program.
1.) Grafton Recruitment (Internship Site)
I am thankful everyday for the placement I have at Grafton Recruitment. EUSA really did an exceptional job placing me here because it is almost exactly what I wanted. Everyday I am doing something new. My tasks and roles change, and I am exposed to so much. The company is a great company in my opinion as well. They work hard, and they know how to have fun while doing it. My team at Business Services is and incredible group that are all so friendly and kind. They offer me tips and advice and we go out for lunches often–which I love. This experience has really opened up my eyes to the recruitment industry as well, and I am now considering looking into this as a future career for when I get back home.
2.) Public Transportation
Seems like a silly thing to say when it comes to reasons you love a city, but hear me out. The public transportation here is incredible. It is easy, convenient, fairly fast, and–something that I am not used to in the U.S. a lot–on time! I find it to be great, especially since the neighborhood that I live in is not walking distance from the city center. Additionally, the views that you can see of the city by tram are amazing, and unlike any other public transportation ride I have experienced.
As an American, I would say that food is something I absolutely love. Here in Prague, Czech food has become my all-time favorite. Mainly meat, potatoes, and dumplings, the Czech food is incredible, and I am trying to have as much of it as I can before I go back to the U.S. where it will not be easy to find. Another aspect of food that I have been exposed to, and was not expecting for that matter, is Asian food. I have eaten more Asian food here than back in the States. Due to this, my chopstick skills are becoming better, and I am hoping to be a pro at using them by the end of the trip.
4.) Prague Towers
Most people had a bucket list for Prague before they arrived here. I, on the other hand, did my reseach, but just kind of showed up hoping to embrace all that came my way. One day while exploring, I accidentally discovered a tower, to which a woman told me I could climb–naturally, I did. The tower was set up as a museum, and it was the Tower Belfry next to St. Nicholas Church. The history and the sites were incredible, and when I came down from the tower, I saw a brochure detailing the “Prague Towers.” It turns out that there are seven towers in Prague that can be climbed, and allow you to learn about the history of them during your climb. Just this weekend, I have officially climbed five out of seven and I cannot wait to have climbed all seven by the end of the trip.
I know you may be thinking: “What nature? You are in a large city.” Though you are correct, Prague actually not only has numerous parks, but it is also surrounded by gorgeous forests and hills. Petrin Hill, which is one of my favorites, is a large hill located in Prague that is completely forested. It is beautiful to walk around in, and it even has rose gardens at the top of the hill. Gardens are actually another naturalistic aspect to Prague besides the parks. Even if you walk straight through the city, you are bound to cross a park or a garden, and maybe you, too, should stop and smell the roses.
6.) New Friends
Here in Prague, I have made so many friends, and I am not talking about just my foreign coworkers. I have grown very close to the other American interns in my building as well, especially the students who also go to Pitt. Just the other night, we all got together to make an American-breakfast-style dinner, and it was a great experience. Everyone in our hall has gone to places such as music bars and the zoo together, and overall I am quite happy with the experience getting to know all of them. Additionally, I have grown close to some of my coworkers. In fact, my whole team at Business Services in general is like one, big friend group, and they have made me feel so welcomed.
7.) Geographical Location
Prague is located conveniently in the heart of the Czech Republic, and the Czech Republic is conveniently located in the heart of Europe. So, what does this mean? Being in Prague, you are never more than only a few hours away from another country’s major city. Even cities within the Czech Republic, such as Kutna Hora, Plzen, and Cesky Krumlov, are no more and a couple-hour bus ride. This makes for weekend travel to be not only easy and convenient, but also very affordable. Even better, you do not have to take time off work to go see these other cities and countries. Prague is simply a great location for extra travel and sightseeing.
8.) Holesovice-Prague 7
Holesovice, also known as Prague 7, is the neighborhood of Prague where my housing is located. I love the feel of the area; it is always quiet and has a relaxed, hipster-y vibe to it. The atmosphere makes it a great place to live as it is not in the busy city center, but it is just far away enough from the center to be quiet and just close enough to be a twenty-minute tram ride away. My street, Osadni, is conveniently located right next to two grocery stores, the metro station, and a couple tram stops. What more could you ask for in housing!
9.) Fitness Vagon
Fitness Vagon is actually my gym here in Prague. It is a traditional-style weight lifting gym, and other than its unusually small size that can make it crowded at times, I absolutely love it! The gym is filled with all these old machines and benches, and it reminds me so much of my old-fashioned gym back home. Plus, the people in the gym, for the most part, are nice and helpful–even though they mostly do not speak English. Going to the gym is easily one of the highlights of my day, and it makes dragging workdays go quicker knowing that I can lift after work.
Now, I have not had so much experience with Czech music, but the number of jazz clubs and performances around the city is enough to make you feel as if you were in New Orleans. I really like this aspect of the culture, and not only jazz is popular, but also other styles of music such as rock and latino. Music bars are extremely popular here, and I enjoy taking in the local bands.
11.) History & Culture
Coming to Prague, I was only told one thing: it would be so magical. Nearly everyone that I spoke with that had been to Prague before said that the medieval castles and streets would make you feel like you are in a fairytale. Now, I am usually not one for history (or fairytales for that matter) but I can say that I have definitely jumped on the bandwagon in this regard. I have been going to exhibitions, museums, and even attending cultural events that have made me not only learn about Prague’s rich history, but also appreciate it. Even now, I am reading a book by a Czech author so that I can fully understand the culture here better. The book is not only eye-opening, but also a fantastic read; and the sights and the history of Prague are even better.
This experience is my first ever full-time job, which means that I now have a full understanding of the true meaning of weekends. Sometimes I find myself scraping by just to get to Friday so that I can sleep in on Saturday and not have to do much. Each weekend too, there are so many activities going on in Prague. I can say that I have done something new and exciting every single weekend here, and I love this ever-changing aspect.
Being an extremely independent person, I enjoy walking around, sitting in a park and reading a book, or simply climbing up the castle (or the many other various towers) and looking out at the views all by myself. It gives me time for my thoughts and to reflect on the day, or to just listen to my music. I can admit that in the United States, I never felt safe to do any of those things that I listed above alone. In fact, if I ever went on walks alone, I would be sure to be out of the city and back at my home before sundown. Here, however, is a different story. Prague/Czech Republic is not only rated as one of the safest areas to reside, but I also feel very safe when I am walking around and out exploring.