CET is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2012. The first CET group studied in Beijing in the summer of 1982 and over a quarter-century later, we headed south to Shanghai, launching a program there in 2008. Last month, CET alumni, staff, faculty, roommates and study abroad professionals came together at the M on the Bund bar/restaurant to celebrate 30 wonderful years, the vibrant and growing field of study abroad, and one of the world’s most dynamic cities: Shanghai. Executive Director, Mark Lenhart shared with guests how excited he was to be thirty years old, and introduce CET alumnus, Jamie Fleishman. Jamie studied abroad with CET in Beijing during the Spring 2010 and recently won first place in the CET alumni video/blog contest. Watch his first place alumni video here: http://cetacademicprograms.com/2012/05/11/happy-birthday-cet
In addition to showing his winning alumni video, Jamie also introduced The Stars of CET video, which features footage from the 30th Anniversary events held in Beijing this past June.
Check out The Stars of CET video here:
Here’s to 30 more years!
Click here to see more photos from the CET Shanghai event
Click below to read more about CET 30th Anniversary events, contests, photos and videos:
- 30th Anniversary Celebration in Washington DC: http://cetacademicprograms.com/2012/05/25/photos-from-the-cet-30th-anniversary-celebration-and-networking-event/
- 30th Anniversary Celebration in Beijing, China: http://cetacademicprograms.com/2012/07/13/photos-from-the-cet-30th-anniversary-celebration-and-networking-event-in-beijing-china/
- 30 Top Ten Lists for CET’s 30th Anniversary: http://cetacademicprograms.com/category/30-top-ten-lists/
- Alumni Video/Blog Contest: http://cetacademicprograms.com/category/alumni-blogvideo-contest/
- Alumni Photo Contest: http://cetacademicprograms.com/category/alumni-photo-contest/
As a student with long classroom hours at FAMU and a tight budget, I found myself scouring the streets of Prague – and the pages of Lonely Planet – for restaurant meals that were delicious, quick, AND cheap. A little too much to ask? Not if you look in the right places. If you’re attending CET Film Production in Prague and don’t plan on cooking all of your meals, and are interested in something more than the day-to-day-ham-potato-dumplings-and-red-cabbage, I highly recommend the following dishes and restaurants which represent my favorite tastes in Prague over the course of the semester. Dobrou chut’!
#5: Maly Buddha (Tram: Pohorelec), Pan Asian
Best Dish: Spring Rolls (~$3-4)
Best Drink: Japanese Plum Liquor ($2), Little Buddha ($3)
While I unfortunately never got any pictures of the food at this little candle-lit tea house, the genuine smiles and delicious drinks in front of Jes and I in the picture above will hopefully sell you on the fact that this little Pan Asian restaurant behind Prague Castle is far tastier than its super-cheap prices would have you think. Enjoy a small meal and soda for less than $5, or go all out on an appetizer, entrée and specialty drink for about $10. They’re particularly good at Thai dishes, and offer much more competitive prices than Prague’s delicious, albeit pricey favorite Thai restaurant Modry Zub (located near CET offices).
#4 La Casa Blu (Tram: Dhloua Trida), Spanish
Best Dish: Chips with Guacamole and Salsa ($3)
Best Drink: Frozen Margaritas ($2.50), everything during Happy Hours
My Texas tongue has always made me pretty critical of Mexican- or Spanish-style foods, but La Casa Blu is about as delicioso as you’re going to find in the city of Prague. The prices are far cheaper than at more famous restaurants like Cantina, the staff is relatively friendly and English (or Spanish) speaking, and they serve up burritos, tacos, quesadillas and appetizers that are plentiful and well seasoned. Go during happy hour (3-6pm) for a late lunch or early dinner and your thirst will certainly be quenched.
#3 Globe Bookstore and Café (Tram: Lazarska), American Style
Best Dish: Chicken Fingers or Wings ($4)
Best Drink: GLOBE MILKSHAKES AND SMOOTHIES! ($4)
Here’s the deal: The Globe’s milkshakes and smoothies are arguably the best in the entire world. A little pricey but large and filling – I could have a chocolate milkshake for lunch and love life all day long. Enjoy some cheap American-style appetizers if you’re feeling homesick – they’re much cheaper than the entrees and one or two of these appetizers would certainly be filling enough to count as a meal. The chicken fingers are probably the best when it comes to taste, price and size. 15% discount with FAMU ID.
#2 Bohemia Bagel (Tram: Veletrzni), Fusion
Best Dish: Mexico Burger ($9)
Best Drink: Vanilla Coke ($2)
I first ate at Bohemia Bagel because it is conveniently located a block-and-a-half away from the Veverkova CET apartments. Boy was I a happy camper: I practically worked out a meal plan with the staff here due to their absolutely scrumptious meals that are fast, friendly, and enormous – not to mention great on-the-go cookies and a 10% discount for FAMU students. If you live in Veverkova, eat your brunches and dinners here if you’re not cooking, and you’ll have extra food to take home for sure.
#1 Cukrkavalimonada (Tram: Malostranska Namesti), Euro Café
Best Dish: Chicken Tagliatelle (~$9), Baked Ham Ciabatta Sandwich ($6)
Best Drink: Homemade Elderberry Drink ($2.50), Hot Chocolate Supreme ($3.50)
Now, I understand that it is ironic that the most expensive of these five restaurants is my #1 recommendation, but take one trip to CKL and I guarantee you that you will turn it into a weekly treat. By far the tastiest food and most welcoming atmosphere in all the cafes and restaurants of Prague, this hip-and-delicious euro-café was my favorite of everywhere I ate and drank at. Just a block-and-a-half away from the west entrance to the Charles Bridge, CKL is the perfect place to take your friends, your family, or just about anyone you want to make smile – can’t you tell from Jes and her cinnamon apple cider? J
Enjoy the tastes of Prague, and please let me know if you find more of the city’s hidden treasures!
Honorable Mention: Loving Hut (cheap, pay-by-the-pound vegan Vietnamese lunch buffet), Kabul ($5 lunch menu Afghan food right next to FAMU), Battalion Comic Café (slightly pricey but awesome cocktails on Wenceslas Square), Sakura (moderately pricey, TOTALLY ichi ban sushi), KFC “B-Smart Box” (when you actually need to eat dinner for $2).
When I traveled to Wuzhen with a group of CET students for the week of our program’s spring vacation, we had a rarely-encountered opportunity to actually bypass China’s multiple tourist sites and venture within the inscrutable walls of the homes of one of this country’s myriad families, territory which foreigners often wonder about but are equally often excluded from.
A woman that was working on a public bus we were riding in Wuzhen, named Ms. Zhang, began to chat with us and, after discovering that we needed a place to stay, offered to show us to an inexpensive lodging that her family owned. In addition, she served as our tour guide as we traveled around Wuzhen, offered to let us leave our luggage at her home after we checked out of our lodgings the next day to wander around some more, and even invited us to eat lunch with her family after we were done traveling.
They lived in a very small home on a narrow street. The small room that served as their main living area was almost completely filled with a large round tabletop that they had brought in from outside and laid on top of the much smaller table that they must have normally used to eat. The air started to fill with steam as her beaming mother brought in plate after plate of piping hot food from their tiny kitchen, everything from dumplings to chicken to beef and pea pods, until the table surface was entirely covered by the treats she had likely spent all morning making for us. Meanwhile, Ms. Zhang and her father leaned comfortably against the wall chatting and laughing with us as we ate. Behind me a small television murmured, while against the adjoining wall was the family computer. Wedged between the computer and television in the corner was a bed that contained a very frail, sleeping woman, who we later found out was Ms. Zhang’s ninety-six year-old grandmother, her entire body except for her head enveloped in a large quilt. As we were eating, Ms. Zhang’s young child, an adorable ten-year-old boy, came home from school and was fascinated (and a little scared) to find five foreigners eating lunch in his home. For all I know, we could have been the first foreigners he had ever seen. He shyly ignored us and started to play on the computer, the bang bang of the guns in his game complementing the hum of the television and our laughing voices.
While we ate, Ms Zhang’s mother told us about how her daughter had been forced to raise her son on her own after her husband left her. She also told us about the time that she spent working in the countryside when she was younger, as part of an incentive by Mao to make the people more equal by moving city-dwellers to the countryside to assist with activities like farming. Her voice grew quieter and her eyes darkened as she spoke these words, and afterwards adamantly avowed that these were the most arduous, miserable years she had ever experienced. As for that ninety-six year-old woman lying silently on that bed, I don’t think I can even imagine the amount of suffering she must have suffered in the near-century she had lived, a time that for China had consisted of almost continual upheaval and change.
When it was finally time to roll the round tabletop back outside and start preparing to depart, we took several photos with the family, and their little boy started to cry. We tried our best to comfort him—CET student Logan Krusac gave him a gift of an American dollar bill, and another CET student, Jesse Albert, had the idea to take down the family’s address so that we could send the boy a postcard in the future. As for that woman in the corner, they may have said she was sleeping, but as we had been eating I had glanced at her and seen one bright eye cracked open, obviously looking our way. As we left, I noticed that this eye had grown watery—I don’t know whether she was crying or not. Ms. Zhang parted from us at the bus station, but not before saying we shouldn’t make our farewells too emotional, or else she would almost certainly start to cry as well.
We respected them because of the hardships they had endured and the unadulterated kindness they had shown us. At the very least, they were living proof that the increasingly “outdated” concept of kindness still exists in this world.
Because of this and more, I’m sure, we connected on a level much deeper than speech. Though I’m now certain that she was awake, the ninety-six year-old woman didn’t speak a single word the entire time that we were at their home. She was wiser than the rest of us, because she knew it wasn’t necessary.