Christmas and Goodbyes + Roundup (by Paulina)

Happy 2020! I cannot believe I am already back home in Germany and that my time in Prague has come to an end. It is so bittersweet, as I am happy to be back home but at the same time wish I could have stayed in Prague for just a little longer. December was a packed month not only with the University work load but also just in the sense of enjoying the city during the Christmas time and also making sure to see friends whenever possible as our time in Prague was coming to an end.

We often studied together in the UNYP library and then took a little break to go to the nearby taco place, „Las Adelitas“, „just one street down. Half of my December basically consisted of me eating tacos but I guess there is worse. The good thing was, that I as most of us Macromedians, only had two written final exams to take, which was a huge relief. As for the other subjects we had projects to hand in, most of which we had worked on during the prior weeks, then some also had to be presented to the class. All in all the last week of class was rather relaxed as all the classes were shorter because once the exams and presentations were done, we were able to leave. Another small upside to UNYP is that the professors are very quick to finalize the grades so one does not have to wait longer than 2 weeks to receive them. In conclusion about studying at UNYP I can just once more say that the workload is higher than in Germany, there are always assignments to get done or something similar. Nevertheless we all enjoyed this different type of studying as it kept us busy. There is still plenty of time to explore and travel so don’t worry!

But enough of studies, and more about Christmas! December is truly a magical period in Prague. There are lights everywhere and a Christmas Market is never too far. The one at Václavské náměstí (Wenceslas Square) and at the Old Town Square are definitely to be checked out! Especially at the Old Town Square the variation of foods and great souvenirs for friends and family is big. Another market I would recommend is not really a christmas market. The Manifesto Market is usually a (street) food market all year long with foods from across the globe, sold in little huts or food trucks. During December though, it transforms into a small winter wonderland, with Christmas trees (also hanging from the ceiling), Iglo-like set ups to enjoy your food or drinks in, when its cold and also mulled/hot wine is sold! Oh, as a side note, the manifesto market is a card-only place, so don’t bother bringing any cash. Here is a photo to give you a small insight into some of the Christmas markets:

Náměstí Míru and its Christmas Market. I pretty much saw this Market everyday, as it is right by the student housing and also close to UNYP, and just walking by put you in a better mood. In general the Christmas Markets are very similar to the ones we are used to in Germany. The main one, at the Old Town Square usually gets very busy as it attracts many tourists. So although it is the biggest one, I would recommend not just visiting that one. Another great one is at the Prague Castle, where you get a beautiful view over the city.

In December there was also the first real snowfall of this winter, but unfortunately it did not really settle. It was still very pretty to look at.

Then it was already time to say goodbye. Goodbye to the professors, to the University, to Prague and to friends. Weird how four months ago we were all strangers to one another who just happened to be in Prague for the semester and now we actually got quite close; how we spent the last months seeing each other everyday and now

And here some final tips and things to keep in mind if you’re thinking about spending your semester abroad in Prague!

  • Getting here is pretty easy, any form of transportation works out, though for me personally the train was the cheapest and quickest (from Berlin)
  • This also means you are able to visit home for the weekend. Many exchange students did this during their stay, just to reconnect a little.
  • Don’t exchange money for a rate lower that 25czk for one Euro.
  • I would recommend to use cash rather than your debit/credit card as the fees can be as high as 2,50€ for every payment made.
  • There are many (grocery) stores that we also have in Germany such as LIdl, Kaufland, Rossmann, DM. The last two are a little more pricey than back home. Other options are Billa, Tesco, Albert or Teta.
  • You will get an international student ID (ISIC card) from UNYP, check out what benefits it will get you such as discounts on their website. It also should be valid until the next year which is really handy.
  • It is recommended to know some very basic words of Czech to use when at a store or a service point etc. The people will appreciate it
  • Czech (adults) may come off as quite cold, impolite even sometimes, but don’t get discouraged.
  • It is a rather small city so you will quickly know your way around and feel at home.

I really enjoyed my time in Prague and at UNYP so much, time really flew by when I look back. I got the opportunity to meet new people I would have not gotten to know without this experience, people from Macromedia as well as people from Prague and the world. I learned a lot more about eastern European countries which was very interesting. I made a new city my home. I hope this helps you all, at least a little when making your decision. But for now it is Uvidíme se brzy v Praze! (see you soon Prague).

Best, Paulina!