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From Prague With Love

Leaving Sydney’s scorching heat of 40ºC to arrive to Prague’s blistering winter of -6ºC was quite the shock. For me, the coldest weather I’ve experienced is the chiller section in woolies. I was glad to have packed my kathmandu thermals as they proved useful for all of February. Arriving in Prague was overwhelming, I was welcomed at the airport by my Czech buddy Honza where we took an Uber to the dormitories. Despite 26 hours of flying, staring out the window to see the snow was incredible. Before then, I had only seen snow at Thredbo.

Snow in Prague

After registering and filling in paperwork, I was finally in my dormitory room. It was quite an overwhelming and isolating feeling so I took a quick shower and ventured out. I befriended a few students at the dormitory cafeteria and later did a supermarket run. Socialising really was the best way to combat those feelings of isolation and anxiety. I didn’t think it would happen to me but who knew.

A few more days had past and orientation week had arrived. By now, most students had arrived in the dormitories and I established a great group of friends, which was only continually expanding. The university’s orientation week was fairly helpful, they taught us the most useful Czech phrase; “prosim, dam si jedno pivo” which translates into “I would like one beer please”. The reason this is the most useful phrase is that the Czech Republic is actually the largest consumer of beer per capita, 142.6 litres per capita. Naturally, this beer goes great with their cuisine, I am addicted to the Czech Gulaš called Sviečkova.

Sviechkova – Traditional Czech Meal

There is so much to see and do in Prague, which can be a challenge as it is located in such an optimal part of Europe. Travelling to another city for a few days is cheap (30€ return by bus). As of yet, I’ve seen the beautiful palaces of Vienna, the renaissance town of Cesky Krumlov, former communist capital Bratislava and the most WW2-bombed German city, Dresden. With that said, I have a long list of cities to see that is only growing. Despite all the travel though, there is still a charming attraction of Prague. Perhaps the greatest feeling is that it has begun to feel like a home away from home.

So if you are looking to study in Europe, I would not hesitate to look at Prague. The culture is incredible and the city is gorgeous, I have had countless experiences of blindly turning a street corner and gazing at something magnificent. Above all, it is far cheaper than any other city in Western and Central Europe, you can live a comfortable student life. That said, with the limitless options of close cities, it is quite easy to spend.

Dresden - Exchange Friends
Dresden with exchange family

Jason Gravanis
Double BEng (Mechanical) and BBus (Economics) /w Dip. Eng Prac
University of Economics, Prague

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