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Exploring Prague's Hidden Gems - A Summer Studying Abroad

November 03, 2023
by Mariana Pardo

From Morning Rituals to Weekend Wanderlust: My Prague Adventure

Dobrý den! My week started off with getting up around 7:30 a.m. I did my morning routine and headed to the CEA CAPA Study Center! Depending on timing, I either walked to class or rushed to the metro (I really recommend getting a metro pass!). On my way to class, I always walked past a ton of cute shops and bakeries on my “must try before leaving” list. When I got to the study center, I of course took my daily cookie provided by the CEA CAPA Staff. There was always a tray full of cookies and coffee for students to eat. I sat down at 9 a.m. at the desk and started my day in Prague!  

a street with cars parked on it

This is the neighborhood where I lived!

My Morning and Weekly Schedule 

My weekly schedule consisted of two classes which were Calculus III on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 9 - 11:15, and my Golden City of Prague: Past and Present class from 11:45 - 15:10. After math class, I rushed to my favorite bakery only two minutes away from the study center. The bakery is called Bakeshop and I’m certain that it had the best pastries I ever tried. My usual order was either a chocolate croissant or a quiche.  

After my quick snack, I headed back to the study center for the second class of the day. I really enjoyed the Golden City of Prague class because it was a very interactive class. We started off with a mini lecture or some type of presentation from one of our classmates on type of art or architecture. Then, we ventured off into Prague and visited a museum, church, cathedral, or any important landmark in Prague. It was essentially touring Prague with your own private tour guide! My favorite place to visit was the Jewish Quarter and the St. Vitus Cathedral.  

A large cathedral with windows

St. Vitus Cathedral

I then went back to my apartment in Prague 2 either walking or on public transport (depending on where we finished class). When I arrived at my apartment, I made myself lunch and started working on the week's homework. After studying for some time, I went to Riegrovy Sady with my friends. Riegrovy Sady is a beautiful park that has a perfect view of Prague Castle. We always went for sunsets and had picnics there. 

a group of people in a park with sunset sky

Sunset views at Riegrovy Sady

After watching the beautiful sunset, we walked back home and stopped at a mini mart, where we bought a bunch of Milka cookies and tasted test them right when we got back to the apartment. The next day I didn’t have class, so I always checked the weather for the next day to see if I could go to the park and sunbathe or exercise there.  

Getting to live in a non-tourist part of Prague was a very fun experience since I had interactions with local Czech people. For instance, going to the local Billa or Albert (supermarket) was a whole experience. Even though it was very hard to understand what I was purchasing, the workers were always very helpful in letting me know what each item was. A tip for grocery shopping is to not get so much food at the same time since people in the Czech Republic buy food that lasts around a couple of days. I also found that Czech people are very caring, since they always made an effort to speak the English they knew so I understood. Right next to my apartment was a restaurant that was always packed with people. My friends and I decided to go one day, and it was very fun. We all shared some of the typical Czech food such as the fried cheese, beef goulash, and dumplings and played cards! We also noticed that the locals love talking even though they have already finished eating. This really showed how different the culture is since they like to be in the moment and enjoy the little moments.  

Weekend Wanderlust

My day-to-day life in Prague was always very similar, but on the weekends, we tried to travel if possible, so we’d start our Fridays bright and early at the train station with our bags packed for the journey ahead.  

Traveling was always exciting, yet a bit chaotic at times. We typically planned our trips with short notice, so I really recommend that you try to plan it with more time. Some of the trips I went on were to Berlin, Krakow, Nice, Cesky Krumlov, and Vienna! My favorite trip was Nice. I recommend going there on a long weekend so that you can make the most of your time there, since there’s so much to explore in and near Nice. 

A group of people posing for a picture on a balcony above water

Our weekend trip to Nice, France!

CEA CAPA Excursions

I also went on other trips and activities in the Czech Republic sponsored by CEA CAPA. They were fun and well-organized day trips and activities. I went to Karlstejn Castle, Kutna Hora, and we went to the opera with CEA CAPA, and all the experiences were unique and something I never would’ve thought of doing. My favorite was Kutna Hora because we got to visit some silver mines and we even went inside the mines and got a very detailed tour. 

Two people wearing white helmets

Kutna Hora excursion in the silver mines!

My time in Prague was nothing short of extraordinary. Each day began with the charm of this enchanting city, from the bustling streets to the delightful bakeries that became my morning rituals. The warm hospitality at the CEA CAPA Study Center, complete with daily cookies and coffee, set a welcoming tone for my academic endeavors. Weekends brought the thrill of travel to nearby cities, each adventure brimming with excitement and a touch of spontaneity. And even within the Czech Republic, provided unique experiences I'll forever treasure. Prague, with its rich history, welcoming culture, and the perfect blend of adventure and academia, has left a mark on my heart. To anyone considering this captivating city, I wholeheartedly recommend the study abroad experience. Prague is a treasure trove of memories waiting to be uncovered, and I’m grateful for every moment I spent there. 

Mariana Pardo is the Summer 2023 Alumni Ambassador in Prague, Czech Republic, and is currently studying at University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.
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