When you envision a perfect study abroad city; one that includes plenty of activities, nightlife, affordable living, and a wonderful culture, Prague is sure to come top of mind.
One of USAC’s most popular programs, Prague is a large capital city that will steal your heart before you have time to even realize you’ve fallen in love!
When you study abroad in Prague with USAC, you’ll have the opportunity to participate in a variety of activities, field trips, and courses that will help you get everything you could need and more out of your experience.
Here are just seven opportunities that will have you hitting that “apply now” button for Prague!
35mi Overnight Hike
You read that correctly, 35 miles of hiking! The hike starts from the southern limits of Prague at dusk, and after 35-miles reaches the Holy Mountain by the mining city of Příbram at dawn.
Every fall student has the opportunity to join the USAC Prague staff for the 35-mile overnight hike from the suburbs of Prague to Holy Mountain at Příbram. It is actually a remembrance of a pilgrimage that used to be quite popular and large, however, it had to be done in secret in the 1950’s as any activities connected with faith were suppressed by the communist regime until 1989. That is why the people started to walk to Holy Mountain at night to make the 9am service.
The hike is led by the extracurricular activities coordinator, Květoslav Geiger. Here’s what he had to say about this hike. “I have walked this hike 10 plus times. The feeling of walking in the middle of the woods at 3am, when others are either asleep or maybe still enjoying the night in Prague, is amazing. In fall we walk in a group of about twenty people – we leave Prague by 7pm, after an hour of walking we get a late dinner at the last village and hit the woods. The group obviously spreads out as everybody has his/her own pace (or keep in pairs), we run into other members of the group at one of three stops we make along the way and share snacks. Students always get a surge of energy once the first beams of sun hit around 5:30 in the morning! That means we have about three hours of speedy walking…tired but happy we get to Pribram and at least walk to the area of the monastery or join the service. Then we catch a bus (coming about every 30 minutes) on which I always fall asleep listening to the humming engine just to wake up one hour later in Prague when the bus halts. Subway, brunch, bath, and bed. One loves to be in the civilization again, however, for those who have taken this trip, memories of these subtle, inexpressible feelings of inner solitude and silence out there remain to stay.”
Terezín, Lidice, and Litomĕřice Field Trip
The fortress of Terezín was built in the eighteenth century as a garrison town to protect the Austrian Empire borders. In 1939, the German Nazis occupied the Czech Republic and turned Terezín into a concentration camp for both Czech Jews and opponents of the cruel regime. This trip includes a guided tour through the camp, a lecture, and a visit to the famous museum of child inmates’ paintings. The small town of Lidice is another WWII memorial site—the town was completely wiped out and its citizens killed as the Nazi leaders wanted to scare the people from all occupied territories. The third destination of the trip is the regional capital, Litomĕřice. Founded in the tenth century, it is one of the oldest Czech royal towns. It is known for its historical monuments, architecture, and serves as a guide to the troubled twentieth-century history of Central Europe.
Vienna-Budapest Field Study
Spend an extraordinary 5-days touring Vienna and Budapest, the capital cities of Austria and Hungary. You’ll also spend a half-day in another capital city of the region, Bratislava, Slovakia. You will travel by bus to the romantic ruins of the medieval castle Divci Kamen and then onto Český Krumlov, listed by UNESCO for its unique Renaissance castle and townhouses, and for its one-of-a-kind baroque theatre. Next, you will visit Vienna and see the Schönbrunn Palace and gardens, St. Rupert’s (the oldest church in Vienna, built in the eighth century), Hundertwasser House, collective housing projects from the 1920s, the Sigmund Freud Museum and the University of Vienna where you can meet local students. Next on the agenda is Budapest, one of the capitals of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire. You will visit the Central European University, the Royal Palace, the Parliament building, the Castle and famous hot spring spas. We will then return to Prague with a short stop in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, and visit the castle ruins of Devin that look out over the confluence of the Danube and Morava rivers.
USAC encourages each student to enroll; however, this segment of the program is optional and has an additional fee. You will sign up for the tour or register for the field study on your Course and Tour Registration Form.
Karlštejn and Amerika
On this day-trip, you’ll hike to the Karlštejn Castle, a Gothic Castle, founded in 1348 by Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor-elect and King of Bohemia. You’ll also visit Velká Amerika,. an abandoned limestone quarry located outside of Prague.
In Prague, outdoor activities are a way of life! Every weekend you’ll see the locals running, hiking, swimming, cycling, climbing, or canoeing. On this day trip you’ll start in the morning by learning the basics of canoeing; how to grip the paddle and what to do (not to do) when something unexpected happens. Then everyone gets in their kayaks and begins the journey as a group. You’ll slide through dams and navigate your boat through rapids all with a smile on your face! Often times the guide, Lukáš Hanzlík, will bring along his guitar or harmonica for some kayak serenading on the bus ride to and from.
New era glassmaking was developed in the hilly parts of the Czech kingdom in the 17th Century and spread to the whole world from there. Glass industry requires sand, wood, minerals, and some water. All these can be found in abundance north of Prague all the way to the border with Germany. These days beautiful recreational area with sandstone towers, valleys, endless forests, whitewater rivers and romantic ponds had been the decorative glass industry stronghold in the past centuries and has been flourishing again since the fall of communism. Old glass kilns were modernized while keeping their historical ambiance and succeeded on world markets.
On this day trip, you’ll visit The Ajeto Glass Factory in Lindava, which has hosted top glass designers like Dale Chihuly. You’ll work at the kiln and learn every detail of the experienced glassmakers’ trade. At the end of the day you’ll take an excursion to the sample room containing the collection of the most important glass jewels, like Mick Jagger, the kiss vase he received as a gift from President Václav Havel during one of the Rolling Stones Prague concerts, Madeleine Albright, another presidential gift to the US Secretary of State while visiting the Czech Republic, Tour de France trophy – the biggest cycling stage race has been ordering the trophies from Ajeto glassworks, and summer session group makes the final touches to the trophies before shipping to France, and many more internationally renowned glass pieces. You even get to keep items you’ve designed and made during the day-long Ajeto Glassworks visit.
Cooking Class & Cookouts
Learn how to cook traditional Czech dishes like Wiener Schnitzel, Braised Cabbage, Svíčková, and Znojemská in cooking class. You will get to know about Czech traditions, traditional holidays, and about the local cuisine.
Have we got you convinced to Czech out Prague? Go ahead and learn more, you won’t regret it!