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Summer 2015, Issue III


Intercultural Comparative Experience

The short-term summer program includes CIEE’s unique Intercultural Comparative Experience. Students’ partake in  special excursions across 28 study centers, travelling to over 30 global destinations.


During this immersive three-day weekend, students travel to another international city with fellow CIEE students to expand their global perspective and sharpen their cultural awareness. Visit museums and architectural masterpieces, go to a concert or performance, attend a cooking workshop or other cultural activity, and take part in service-learning projects focused on local issues. It’s a great way to develop cultural self-awareness, intercultural literacy, and the ability to bridge cultural gaps.


Intercultural Comparative Experience in Prague

During June 12-14, 82 students from four European destinations experienced Prague. During July 10-12, 39 students from Paris and during August 7-9, eight students from London also experience Prague for the Intercultural Comparative Experience weekend.


Students are accompanied by Prague staff from the airport to the hotel. After check in, a one hour-long onsite orientation follows. In the afternoon students are split into small groups, which are led by CIEE staff, CIEE buddies, and guides. In groups, students enjoy exploring the main architectural sites in Prague. Their walking tour also includes a museum visit.



The first day is topped off with a welcome dinner that is held in Plzeňská restaurant at the Municipal House, an Art Nouveau architecture style building. Students enjoys Czech cuisine for the first time and have a unique opportunity to try traditional meals such as beef goulash with bread dumplings and chicken schnitzel with potato salad. Traditional Czech cakes are prepared as a dessert.

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On Saturday morning, students are split into interest groups, led by CIEE staff and CIEE buddies. The groups are prepared based on student sign-up for various cultural activities.

The following interest group activities were offered in Prague:

Czech cooking lesson – Students learn how to make potato pancakes (bramboráky), which is one of the traditional Czech meals. The interest group activity takes place in one of the CIEE apartments and is led by the CIEE flat buddy.


Czech cooking lesson - Students learn how to make open sandwiches (chlebíčky), another typical Czech dish. Students try making few different kinds of (chlebíčky), and again the activity is held in one of the CIEE apartments.


Paddle boats along the Vltava River – Students enjoy the nicest view of the Prague Castle from the river. From the paddle boats they admire castle complex, Charles Bridge, Žofín Island, and the National Theatre.


Brewery tour – Students visited a brewery and learned about the historic Czech beer-making process. Students are introduced to the process of beer making and learned how the beer industry is an inseparable part of the Czech economy and Czech culture.


Farmers market at Náplavka – Students had brunch at the unique farmers marker, located in the immediate proximity of the Vltava River, with a view of the Prague Castle. They tried locally produced food, fruits and vegetables, meat, fish, smoked meats, cheeses, pickled specialties, baked goods, koláč, desserts, and cakes!


Invisible Exhibition – Students who sign up for the invisible exhibition have the opportunity to understand what life is like without one of the senses that provides us the most information: sight. They undertake an interactive journey to an invisible world, where in total darkness they have to find their way out only by touch, hearing, and smell.

DOX Contemporary Gallery – A visit to the gallery is another exciting activity planned for the morning. DOX is a hub of contemporary Czech Art. Prominent contemporary artists exhibit their works in this gallery. Today it ranks amongst the most progressive artistic institutions in the Czech Republic, and enjoys wide popularity amongst the public.


Karel Zeman Museum of Special Effects workshop – This two-hour-long workshop teaches students about stop-motion paper cut or stop-motion clay puppet animation at the Karel Zeman Museum. Karel Zeman was a Czech film director, artist, production designer, and animator, best known for directing fantasy films that combined live-action footage with animation.

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The groups reunite for lunch which is held at U Medvídků, a traditional Czech beer hall-style pub since 1466 that has retained its traditional charm and is still a favorite with Czech locals. Students have a chance to taste traditional meals like Beef sirloin (svíčková), fried cheese with fries (smažák), or apple strudel as a dessert.

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In the afternoon students have free time so they can explore the city on their own. Local staff members and buddies provide students with tips on what places should be on their must-see list. In the evening, a cultural event is scheduled: an Organ Concert at the St. Francis Church that includes a selection of composers such as Schubert, Gounod, Mascagni, Mozart, Bach, Händel, Dvořák, Franck, and Bizet or a concert of Yvonne Sanchez, one of the best voices of jazz and blues nowadays, at the Cargo Gallery by the river.

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On Sunday, after check out, students can spend some more free time in lovely Prague before departure to their study centers in Berlin, Groningen, Barcelona, Paris, and London.

The Intercultural Comparative Experience weekend deserves special thanks to our amazing staff and buddies who help to prepare and lead it.

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