This first week in Prague went by in a snap! The first day was a bit rocky because my flight to Dublin, which was supposed to leave at 9pm (part one of two connecting flights), was cancelled around 12pm due to “technical issues”. This is obviously when my panic ensued as my parents and I were frantically looking up flights and trying to call the airline in an attempt for me to still catch my connecting flight in Dublin at 1pm the next day. After driving to the airport, arguing with the airline’s airport manager and waiting on hold for roughly 4 hours, I was put on standby for a flight to Dublin leaving at 5pm and luckily made it on the plane! The time difference really messed with me then as I was only able to sleep for about an hour. The plane landed at 11pm EST and 4am Irish Standard Time, so as I had no place to sleep, I pretended I had just woken up from a restful night! Then, I had plenty of time to wander the airport, and get coffee, breakfast and lunch before my next flight left at 1pm. When I finally arrived at my housing, I was exhausted but determined to settle in to my room and the city. My roommates had already arrived so after I dropped all my bags, we walked around, got to know the neighborhood for a bit, and stopped for some dinner.
On Tuesday, all of the Osadní residents met in the courtyard outside our building to go to the EUSA orientation together, which was the first time we got to use the public transportation. Everyone has always told me that the public transportation system in Prague is one of the best and easiest to use in the world and I completely agree. Once you understand the basics, and honestly all parts of it are pretty basic, it’s very simple. Since then I’ve used the trams and the metro both with other people and by myself and I haven’t had too much difficulty other than deciphering which Czech named stop I need to get off at. After our orientation my roommates and I went to Old Town to begin exploring. Since it was almost 90 degrees outside, we didn’t do any intensive tours or much walking, but we definitely got a better feel of the area. Later that night, all of the EUSA students and program managers gathered again at Obecní Dum, called Municipal House in English, to have a traditional Czech family-style meal. Since there are only three students from Pitt doing this program, I didn’t really think about how many other people would be doing this at other universities as well. I definitely thought it would be a small number overall, however it seems like there is almost 100 people, which is way more than I ever imagined!
On Wednesday, EUSA organized a historical walking tour for each residence hall, so that morning we began by taking a historical tram (pretty cool!) up to a monastery near the Prague Castle. From there our tour guide wound us through the streets of cathedrals, government buildings, and renaissance era architecture while telling us stories of defenestration’s and interesting facts about Prague and its history. I learned that a defenestration is the act of killing someone by pushing them out of a window and apparently it was a very popular way to commit murder in Prague for a few hundred years. We witnessed the changing of the guard at Prague Castle, took artsy photos with the John Lennon graffiti wall, and crossed the Charles Bridge before ending our tour at the Astronomical Clock in Wenceslaus Square. It was amazing to see so many cool places in one day, but by the end we were all exhausted and dripping sweat from the crazy heat wave. Over Thursday and Friday, we were supposed to have a meeting with our internship supervisors, however mine and some other people’s weren’t scheduled until Monday, so we spent those days going to the grocery store, traveling to the downtown area to buy our three month metro/tram/bus passes, and even going bowling one night! Another thing I learned about Czech people is that they apparently really like bowling. We’ve seen multiple bowling places already in our area. This weekend I also got a chance to see my friend Eva, who is doing IIP Berlin, because she and some other Berlin interns visited Prague! I did all the tourist sites with them again, but it was still cool the second time around.
On Monday, I have my first day of work at Swimming Pool, a marketing agency in Prague. I’ve been told that I will be working on their social media team, though I’m not quite sure exactly what my jobs will be yet. I have some social media skills from my year as PR director for Pitt Program Council, but I know I will be learning so much more. I think the key skills and strengths that this position will need are creativity, organization, and time management. You need to be creative to write social media captions and come up with new campaigns and images. Organization is always required in a job, but in PR even more so because you need to plan every post for every social media platform a month or two in advance. Lastly, time management is needed because since there are so many little tasks that need to be completed every day that you have to make sure you don’t spend too much time on one thing and forget about other assignments. Specifically, in the Czech Republic, I think I will need to have a good understanding of Czech business culture and Czech social media habits as the target audiences will most likely be Czech. I’m excited to start my actual internship and find out more about what they do at Swimming Pool! Until next time!