Studying abroad in Prague for the last 3 months or so has been a truly rewarding experience and I would definitely recommend studying here to most students, depending, of course, on what you wish you get out of your study abroad semester. First and foremost, I think Prague’s most obvious value proposition is its cost effectiveness. Inside the city limits you can easily find a complete meal (beer included), of rather high quality, for between 5-8 dollars. Coming from Manhattan I thought this was simply impossible. If you don’t enjoy eating out regularly, groceries are even cheaper. For instance, a liter of whole milk is less than a dollar at most supermarkets. A night out clubbing will, most of the time, cost you around 15 dollars, with drinks and cabs included. For me, this was one of the reasons that swayed my decision to study here while mulling my options. I originally wanted to be in Madrid this semester but, judging from what my friend’s at that site have been telling me, I made the right decision financially speaking.
This cost effectiveness extends beyond the borders of Prague itself. Due to its location smack dab in the middle of Central Europe Prague allows its inhabitants to travel to many different regions of Europe for relatively cheap. A flight to anywhere within continental Europe shouldn’t be much longer than 2 hours and, when booked in advance, will be markedly cheaper than the rates students at other study abroad sites will be paying for similar flights. Also, you are in close proximity to a couple countries that are definitely worth visiting. You can take a bus into Germany, Poland, Austria, Hungary, and even Croatia for extremely cheap if you so please. And, as a result of the cost of living within Prague itself, you can likely afford to take more weekend trips than you would have expected from the beginning.
Now that I have adequately hammered home the affordability of studying in Prague let’s delve into what else made this experience so memorable. For me, Prague served as a nice change of pace from the hustle and bustle of New York City, as well as the stress associated with travelling to larger, more touristy European cities. Quiet hours in Prague begin around ten and while this doesn’t hinder your ability to go out and have fun whenever you want (literally, there’s a club for each day of the week here) it does make the experience of living in Prague a bit more relaxing. When you try to go to sleep you won’t hear hoards of loud or drunk people perusing through the streets, knocking trash cans over and throwing things (this was a regular occurrence when I lived on 4th ave in the city). Furthermore, the classes here at Prague seem to be a bit more relaxed than most of the other study abroad sites. For instance, I have two 3-hour lectures a day Monday and Tuesday and then my school week is done. Yeah, you read that correctly. I have 2 days of class each week, only 12 hours of in-class time and barely any homework to boot. Most of your grade is dependent on one or two large assignments during the semester, a midterm, a final, and attendance/participation (that last part being mandatory).
This semester I chose to live in Sleszka, the smallest of the three dorm choices at NYU Prague.Having been inside the other dorms and talked to many of my friends that live there, I would definitely say Sleszka is definitely the best option. Osadni/Extol are larger and arguably more fancy, but their location is a bit inconvenient. This dorm is over the Charles river, quite a trip from campus and most of the other more desirable locations in the city, including Wenceslas Square, Old Town Square, and the clubbing scene as well. Between Machova and Sleszka, Sleszka is still smaller and less “modern.” However, because there are only 30-40 kids and two kitchens in the building there is a great sense of community within the building. Furthermore, the rooms are significantly roomier. I live in a 6-person suite (a quad and a double with a common room) and the quad is simply gigantic. Even though I originally thought it was going to be too crowded so I asked for the double I wish I would have saved some cash and went with the quad when looking back on the situation. Furthermore, we have two bathrooms, a couch, a dining room table, and even a full-sized fridge in our suite, which is something the people of Machova can’t boast.
All in all, study abroad is likely going to be an amazingly awesome mind-blowing experience no matter what site or dorm you end up choosing. However, I did find personal accounts and recommendations especially helpful when contemplating my decision so I hope the tips and tricks I outlined here come in handy for whoever may need them!