Written by Taylor Eilers (University of Wisconsin-Madison), Student Correspondent for CET Prague, Fall 2019
The past few weeks have been filled with adventure…and classes. I somehow still go to those. My weekdays are devoted to my internship and lectures while I spend my weekends going on these fantastic day trips provided by the CET program. Let me give a short overview and a plethora of pictures.
My beloved Martina took us to a beautiful church and bone cemetery in Kutná Hora. We practiced our (basically fluent) Czech with the locals and at a traditional Czech meal with Kevin, our academic director. Honestly the best part about CET is the resident directors. They are all so wonderful and try to go to as many events with us as they can and are so funny and helpful. I probably drive them crazy with my bad puns and incessant interruptions to their actual work, but they don’t complain, so I probably won’t stop.
My internship professor took us on a tour of the uranium mines at a labor camp for political prisoners used throughout the 1950’s. His favorite quote is to remind us to “taste the Czechness” while we froze in our rainbow ponchos and wet shoes on a 4 hour hike. That being said it was a great day with a former political prisoner on the trek with us retelling his experiences. After dinner, we lit memorial lanterns but it was so windy that the lanterns kept trying to start themselves on fire and we froze off our fingers. We had about a 25% success rate of getting those buggers in the air.
The last leg of our weekend was a spa town. Spa towns in the Czech Republic are much different than what we would think of in the United States. We spent the day trying to read Russian menus and finding springs of water that would give us the nutrients so that we never die. Oddly enough, the water smelt and tasted like rotten eggs, but the Czech’s swear by it. I wish I had taken more pictures of this beautiful town but I totally forgot. The restaurant we ate in looked straight out of a northern hunting lodge with the taxidermy animals and antique farm equipment.
Last Friday I went to Plzeň where we went on the tour of one of the oldest and most famous breweries in the world. I have wanted to go to this beautiful town since I first went to the Czech Republic over 3 years ago. It was a blast and I wish I had more time, I think that I would like to go to again before I return home. My favorite part (and this happens kind of often) is that we are so loud and rowdy as a large group of American students, the tour guide is usually annoyed with us before the tour even starts, but by the end of the tour they are cracking up with us. We win them over every time.
I cannot reiterate enough how grateful I am to have had these opportunities. It’s through events such as these that students like me are able to have a well-rounded study abroad because without it, it would just be classes, not much different from the US. Being able to apply what we learn in our classes to the culture and area that we are studying is invaluable to my experience.