28.9.17

Jamie Travels to Prague, Czech Republic! Part 1

What do I call this post? Can you call it a vlog if it's on a blog? Is it just a regular blog post? Is this a personal blog post? I don't know how to classify this, but I am here to tell you all about my trip to Prague, Czech Republic which took place from September 8th to 25th, 2017. I was there for a school course that also included guided tours, lots of food, and maybe some indulgence in beer (I mean, it is cheaper than water there). So here is a bit of information about what I did, what I saw, and some tips and tricks if you want to visit and do bookish things (although I didn't do a tour of the sights in Daughter of Smoke and Bone cause I did not like that book)!

September 8th, 2017

I left Canada and had some difficulties at the airport cause I had to check my carry on bag which meant I was carrying some stuff around by hand because it didn't fit into my backpack. Then I spent sooo long on a plane (over 15 hours!!) but honestly I got a lot of work done on my thesis so I was pretty happy about that. There were a bunch of crying babies but I made due.


September 9th, 2017

I arrived super early in the morning to Prague which was good because it meant I got to spend some time getting to the dorm and showering before I had to do anything for the actual course. Luckily my room was ready for me as soon as I arrived, so I unpacked and promptly took a nap. I checked in to the program that afternoon and met a few people so we headed into the city centre, grabbed a drink, then went to the opening dinner. Everyone had to introduce themselves and I felt really awkward about it because I was the only one from Canada and I was a bit older than everyone, but overall it went fine. After, everyone went for a drink but I ended up leaving after just one because I didn't really feel like staying out too late drinking since we had a tour of the city the next day.


September 10th, 2017

We toured through Prague all day which was really fun. The city is breathtaking and honestly it was just a good time overall. It was raining a bit but that didn't damper our time outside. I took some good pictures and it was fun. We had "ice breaker" activities in the afternoon where we played some games as teams to win prizes and my team sorta came in first (they miscalculated but we lost by 0.5 points so we basically won). It was a lot of fun and the people I had on my team were fantastic!


We came in first sorta


September 11th, 2017

We officially started our course on Monday, which was really fun but also a little dry. I found myself zoning out a lot because it was based on a few texts I had already read multiple times for my own courses without going into too much detail since not everyone came from a 
Political Science background. To be honest, this was my biggest complaint throughout the course: I found myself not getting the amount of depth into a subject that I needed or wanted because it was mostly undergraduate students and there was a variety of degrees and backgrounds to accommodate. 
I'm in class! Can you see me?
However, we also went on a river cruise that night and I just really love being on boats so that was really fun for me. I spent a lot of time looking at the water and wishing I could stay there forever. Any time you visit a city that has water, I would recommend taking a tour of it from a boat. I did that in Vancouver as well and it was probably the best decision I've ever made. Seriously, cities look different from the water and it is so calming.
Everything is better when you're on the water


September 12th, 2017

Another day, another few lectures. The topic on Tuesday was more interesting because I wasn't familiar with the specific processes surrounding integration into the European Union and what that meant for identity and citizenship, although it relates pretty heavily to how Quebec views itself in the grand scheme of Canada. I loved hearing everyone discuss how their own countries view integration because we had a super diverse group (30 people from 18 countries were represented which is incredible). It was really intriguing to see everyone's backgrounds and how they felt about topics. 


That night I spent some time learning how to speak common Czech phrases, which I have some mastered and some were very difficult. One thing I learned about Czech is that they have some sounds that we do not make in English which made it difficult to say some of the phrases, but I did my best. We had to do a skit which was probably the best part of the night.
Speaking Czech!
After the course I went with some of the girls to a cafe called "Narodni Kavarna" and spent the rest of my night working on my Master's thesis. It was such a beautiful place and the food was fantastic. I highly recommend going there if you are ever in Prague.

September 13th, 2017

This was probably one of the best days of the first week as the topic was Populism and the rise of the far right in politics across the globe, but specifically in Germany. We spent the afternoon working as though we were attempting to explain the statistics after the first debates in Germany which is something I actually have experience doing (although for Canada not Germany). Afterwards I went to the cutest cafe and had tea and desserts then spent some time working on my thesis (again). I was able to get a lot done on it and felt really good about the progress I made while I was travelling and doing other school work and making new friends.

That night we also did a walking tour of the Prague castle district which is where the politics happen. It was a bit of a stressful night for me since some things happened back at home that I couldn't really deal with because I was 7000km away but I tried to make the best of it.
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September 14th, 2017

Today's topic was all about borders and what open and closed borders in Europe meant because they are pretty lax about letting people from the EU cross (in some areas). I passed around my passport because many people from the EU don't have them since they don't need them to go to other Schengen countries. It was really interesting to see how people move around and what it means for border security there and why the EU is having a migration crisis as well as not being as open to refugees as we are here in Canada. Some countries, like the Czech Republic, are outright refusing refugees at all. I couldn't imagine that type of policy here because people would revolt but it is very common place in the Czech Republic where they are concerned about keeping their heritage and culture "safe." 

I spent my evening at the opening show for the national orchestra which was incredible. The building was beautiful, the music even better, and I made such good memories even though I ripped my brand new pantyhose which was a bummer.
The National Orchestra was amazing and I may have cried during some pieces.


September 15th, 2017

Friday was a super fun day because we got to explore Prague on a quasi-scavenger hunt that my team gave up on after about 15 minutes and decided to eat gelato and google things while hanging out instead of walking around for a really long time since we had seen most of the things on the list already during our tour of the city. We had a blast and did not win but it was still fun!
We were the winners at heart but also my GPS did not work

That night we had a party at the dorm and it was a lot of fun but I also finished off a HUGE section of my thesis so I celebrated that while also bonding with people and enjoying life.  I may have also drunkenly called some people back home but it's all good. Everyone in the course was so much fun to be around and I just loved being able to spend time with people who genuinely wanted to learn. It is always so much better when you can go on trips like these and spend time with new people who really get you. Everyone was a dream to be around and I miss them all so much. It has been really weird waking up and not seeing 30 people every day because I have gotten so used to being around them.

September 16th, 2017

We travelled to Franz Ferdinand's home castle today and got to go on a tour of it. We couldn't take pictures inside but it was very beautiful and gaudy at the same time, which is a weird combination. Did you know that Ferdinand killed almost 300,000 animals while he was alive? That's an insane number but the kills were proudly displayed throughout the house.

I ended up going back early rather than walking around the grounds because I was tired, wanted to work on my paper, and it was raining. I got a lot more done on my paper and then decided to get some sleep since my birthday was the next day! 

That night I reflected back and realized that my first week in Prague was incredible and I couldn't wait to experience another week! However, I was already sad knowing that my time there was almost over.

What will happen next? How will Jamie celebrate her birthday?! Find out tomorrow in Part 2 of my travel recap!


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