Have you heard the amazing news? API is launching several new programs in Prague! Starting in spring 2020, you can join us in this beautiful city for your study abroad experience. Browse our program options here, but be sure to come back to the API blog throughout the summer. We’ll be doing program spotlights on each and every program offered in the Czech Republic to help you decide which program is the right fit for you.
Today, we’re diving in to the city of Prague itself. If you’ve never been to this area of Europe, how do you know what to expect? How will you know if you’ll fit in? At API, we believe in making the on-site experience rewarding for ALL students. However, with Prague’s rich and unique history, we thought it’d be fun to make a list of 5 students who will feel right at home in Prague.
1. The bucket list chasers
Not only is Prague an incredible city to explore, it’s conveniently located at the heart of Eastern Europe. It’s the perfect “home base” for travelers who want to head to Switzerland, Germany, Poland, Austria and more. Vienna is a quick four hour train ride from Prague while cities like Munich, Krakow, and Budapest are easily accessible via train or plane. Living in Prague makes it easy and affordable to explore the gorgeous countries surrounding Czechia.
Don’t forget, though, that there’s plenty to explore and check off your bucket list within the Czech Republic! Český ráj (pictured above) is a beautiful park northeast of Prague. It’s home to stunning rock formations, castles, and ruins. It’s a quick two hour train ride from the city. Other amazing places within Czechia to add to your bucket list: Poděbrady, Karlštejn Castle and Český Krumlov.
2. The history buffs
One of the most interesting things about Prague is what a well-preserved ancient city it is. Unlike other cities in Europe that suffered extensive damage during World War II, Prague came out of the war significantly more intact than other places. The end result: Prague is literally a “living museum,” providing a more in-depth look at the life and culture in Czechia hundreds of years ago.
Prague’s beginnings go way back to around 4000 BC. Celtic and German tribes called the settlement home before the arrival of the Slavs. History enthusiasts will feel overwhelmed and excited by the ancient history of this city. Take a tour of the stunning Prague Castle, where construction began in the year 870! Or cross the Charles Bridge, one of the oldest in the city (built in 1357).
Prague has seen its fair share of high’s and low’s throughout its history. In the 14th century, the city thrived during the reign of Charles IV. It became one of Europe’s wealthiest cities. The Hussite Revolution in the 15th century and the rule of the Habsburg’s in the 16th century brought quite a bit of conflict to the area. Many parts of the city were burned to the ground. Thankfully, the architecture built to replace these tragic circumstances remains throughout Prague today!
Another interesting development that came under Habsburg Rule: Prague became known as a “magical city,” as it became the center of science, alchemy, and yes, “magic”. Enter our next student who will feel at home in Prague:
3. The unusual
It’s something a lot of kids deal with growing up: being called “weird”. Hopefully, with some time and life experience, you’ve come to realize that being weird is a compliment, because our weirdness is what makes us unique! Each person has a varying degree of “strangeness”, whether that be a “bizarre” interest in true crime or a collection of odd trinkets. If you’ve ever felt out of place or felt like you have unusual interests, you’ll feel more than at home in Prague.
The era of “Magic Prague” in the 16th century brought an eclectic variety of people to the city. Because of this, there’s no shortage of unusual stories that will delight and fascinate, depending on your interest. From the Golem of Prague to the The Iron Man, you can find corners of the city to learn more about Prague’s folklore.
The 17th century ushered in Prague’s “Dark Age” and includes the Thirty Year’s War that resulted in the loss of Prague’s independence. From “haunted” convents to the so-called “Curse of the Prague Clock”, the city’s darker history provides unusual “tourist attractions” for students into true crime or the dark and bizarre.
A great example is the city’s Museum of Alchemists and Magicians of Old Prague. It looks at famous dabblers in the dark arts that have called the capital city home at one point. Among the characters you’ll learn more about: Czech Republic’s King Rudolf II, widely known for his interest and support of the “occult arts”. During his reign, Prague essentially became the capital of the dark arts and home to all kinds of alchemists, witches and sorcerers.
The unusual in Prague extends far beyond its sometimes-eccentric rulers. Students living here can also check out unusual places like the Museum of Miniatures, the KGB Museum, the Dripstone Wall, and the Penguins at Kampa Park.
4. The bookworms
Nestled inside the Prague Municipal Library is the “Disneyland” for bookworms: the Idiom Installation. Featuring hundreds of books stacked to look like a castle tower, the art installation also features mirrors at the bottom and top of the piece. The end result: a seemingly endless tower of books that library-goers can peek into. Matej Kren told Atlas Obscura he wanted to explore the theme of infinite knowledge offered by books. If you’re a “literary nerd” it’s easy to see why this might be a great place to spend an afternoon in Prague.
Another reason book lovers will enjoy Prague: the city provides a perfect, relaxing backdrop for you to sit down and enjoy a book on a quiet afternoon. From Letna Park to Havlicek Gardens, the picturesque street corners and green spaces in Prague will feel like a safe haven.
5. The budgeters
Although Prague is considered an “expensive” city in the Czech Republic, it is very affordable when compared to other capital cities in Europe. An added benefit of Prague is that the city is best experienced by walking around the streets! The buildings boast the most history, and walking past them or taking pictures in front of them won’t cost you a dime. While other cities may charge you to see each and every historical or interesting place around, many tourist attractions in Prague are free! This includes the Old Town Square and the Charles Bridge.
In addition, study abroad programs in Prague are very affordable. Not only are the semester programs quite a bit less than programs in other places like Rome or Berlin, there are also shorter January term or summer options available to help MORE students have the priceless opportunity of study abroad. (API also offers several scholarships! Give us a call or chat with us on our website for help finding the best funding options for your situation.)
Does Prague sound like the place for you?
API offers programs at VSE Business School and Charles University. VSE is a fantastic opportunity for students studying business and entrepreneurship; it has acquired substantial international recognition as one of the top public business schools in Europe. Charles University was established in 1348, and is considered to be one of the most research-intensive and international institutions in the world!
We want to help you find your perfect program! Be sure to check back on the API blog for more content on Prague, and you can always chat with us on our website to ask for more information!