Faculty-Led and Custom Programs – part I
Study abroad programs are not one-size-fits-all. Sometimes it is simply the best to build a program that fits the university needs. CIEE: Council on International Educational Exchange has the experience, resources, expertise, and in-country infrastructure to help to design a once-in-a lifetime program that will meet all of the objectives in a fully immersive, overseas framework.
In the first half of 2015, Prague hosted five successful Faculty-Led and Custom Programs.
Mount Ida College
In March 2015, Prague was selected to host Mount Ida College for a multisite faculty-led, custom program. 17 students and three faculty spent the first five days in Prague and then travelled to Berlin for four days for a program prepared by CIEE Berlin.
Students were divided into two groups, based on their area of study. Two separate programs were planned for them in order to ensure that the program followed their academic needs.
The Psychology of Evil and the Holocaust group had a guest lecture about the history of conflict and terror in the Czech Republic with Dr. Klára Pinerová, went on a half-day trip to Plzeň (this year’s European Capital of Culture), where they had a guided tour of the town and visited the Great Synagogue. The group also traveled to see Lidice, which is a village that was destroyed by the Nazis as retaliation during World War 2, and Terezín, which is a former Gestapo prison and Jewish transit camp that led to the death camps during World War 2.
The program of the Global Design group included a tour around the National Library of Technology with architect Ondřej Hofmeister, a guest lecture about design and architecture in the Czech Republic with Dr. Daniela Karasová and a design workshop held at the Architectural institute in Prague, ARCHIP. Students also had a chance to visit one of the modern architectural gems in Prague the Dancing House and have a guided tour with one of the designers Vlado Milunić.
The shared program in Prague included an on-site orientation with CIEE Prague staff at the beginning, a guided tour of Prague with Dr. Marie Homerová and a guided tour around the Jewish Quarter with Rabbi Ron Hoffberg. The group also had a chance to taste local meals during their welcome and farewell dinners.
In May 2015, 22 students and two faculty members from Augsburg College arrived to Prague for their faculty-led, custom program “Vocation and the Meaning of Success”. This program was set for 16 days and during this time students also participated in an abroad excursion to Poland.
The program in Prague included an on-site orientation with CIEE Prague staff, a guided tour of Prague with Dr. Marie Homerová and a guided tour around the Jewish Quarter with Rabbi Ron Hoffberg.
A core part of the program were guest lectures and site visits. Students and faculty had an amazing opportunity to meet the top experts in their fields: guest speakers Dr. Vanda Thorne, Dr. Peter Zvagulis, Jiří Holub, and Ian Levely.
In order to gain experience in the local business environment, CIEE Prague scheduled several site visits for Augsburg College. Students did not only visit local companies but also met with local representatives. The site visits were scheduled at the NGO People in Need, Freight Station Žižkov, Different City Experience, Czech National Bank exhibits and the Staropramen Brewery.
One site visit to Phillip Morris International was a part of an out-of-Prague excursion to Kutná Hora. In Kutná Hora the participants also enjoyed sightseeing while exploring the St. Barbara Church, the Cathedral of the Assumption of Our Lady and St. John the Baptist in Sedlec and the Sedlec Ossuary, otherwise known as the “bone church”.
Another out-of-Prague excursion was to Karlovy Vary, a famous Czech spa town. The participants started with a guided tour and then met a representative of the Russian minority with whom they had a lively discussion.
The Krakow excursion, planned for 3 days, included a visit to a former concentration camp Auschwitz/Birkenau. The participants also had a tour around the salt mines Wieliczka. This mine, built in the 13th century, is one of the world's oldest salt mines still in operation. The participants really enjoyed their stay in Krakow where they had a guided tour and later during their free time, an optional program was prepared for them including a visit to Schindler´s factory, made popular by the film Schindler’s List.
A part of the program was also a high cultural event as these are an important part of Czech culture. The participants enjoyed the opera Carmen held at the State Opera House.
Local Charles University students joined Augsburg College students and faculty for a cooking lesson during which they did not only taste but also learned how to make traditional Czech meals (meatloaf with traditional potato salad, cake, and open-faced sandwiches). Furthermore, the group had a chance to try other local meals during their welcome and farewell dinners. CIEE Prague also provided a classroom space at the Study Center Prague for this program, so that the faculty could lead their lectures.