Hi! My name is Daniel and I’m a Campus Correspondent here at The Daily Campus. For the past three semesters I’ve been covering the events that make UConn special, in addition to pieces of media that I think deserve a full review for the newspaper. This semester, I’ll be doing something different. From now through the middle of May, I’ll be studying in Prague, Czech Republic at Charles University, focusing on eastern and central European politics and sociology.
I’ll be writing a weekly column cataloguing my experiences as a student in this great city, country and continent. My rationale for taking time out of my abroad schedule to contribute to the paper is twofold. For one, I want to have a place I can reliably write about my ongoings in a foreign land, and something like a daily blog could fall by the wayside. And two, I love this paper so much. In the one and a half years I’ve been in Storrs, the DC has not only been my main extracurricular club but houses one of my closest social circles and sources for everlasting memories. Since I don’t have the time or location to put out my usual torrent of one or two campus pieces a week, I needed a way to stay tied to the paper while abroad and a column was the best way to pursue that. Check back every Friday to follow my path!
As of writing this, I’ve been in Prague for just over three days and it’s exceeded every outlandish expectation I set for the city and the people that inhabit it. To any student looking at UConn’s wide bevy of abroad programs right now, take a good hard look at Prague. Here’s my shortlist of what I’ve seen that makes the city great, completely off the cuff:
It’s insanely inexpensive. Compared to some of the hotspots for European semesters such as Barcelona and London, prices in central and eastern Europe are significantly more wallet-friendly. You can get a great Czech beer for $1.50. A good sandwich for $3. A classy dinner for $10. It’s insane. On top of that, the conversion from Czech korunas to USD is 22:1 right now, which means it’s easy to feel like a king. You can snap your friends saying “just spent $350 at a club,” but you don’t have to tell them that’s barely 15 bucks. They don’t have to know that.
The transit system is awesome. This is a theme with all European cities (I visited Dublin, London, Paris and Barcelona before the beginning of the semester and they all had great public transportation). Prague has these cool Eastern Bloc-era tiny tram cars that scoot all around the 22 regionally distinct districts of Prague. Something my friends and I have been struggling with is that no one talks on Czech transit – talking to friends is a dead giveaway that you’re a tourist.
Great dog city. European dogs seem to be a lot more mature and controlled than their American counterparts, it seems. That’s probably a metaphor for its people. More than half have been calmly walking by their owners completely off leash and independent. I saw my first husky tonight on the way home from dinner and I almost screamed. You can take the man out of Storrs, etc.
There is so much more about the city that I’ve grown to love in such a short time, but I hope I’ve made my case on my own. If you want to hear more from me about why Prague is great and how to have your own adventures, don’t hesitate to shoot me an email!
I’ve got my first weekend of the semester right around the corner, and I can’t wait to hit the city at its best and brightest. I’ll see you next Friday to talk about it!
Have a good day, or as they say here, “hezky den!”
Daniel Cohn is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.