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Active Learning: Exploring Prague's Cultural Scene

One of the main reasons I wanted to come to Prague was for its culture. As someone who loves museums, history, and music, I couldn't wait to discover all the rich culture that Prague has to offer, and it certainly has plenty: There are at least a dozen theaters, scores of art galleries and museums, and too many music venues to count. It's actually a bit overwhelming - with so many options, how do you even know where to begin?

That's why I'm thankful for the active learning experiences I've had in my Cultural Reporting class. In the class, we're learning how to write articles about cultural events and issues and, in the process, are taking advantage of Prague's rich cultural life. Instead of just sitting in the classroom talking abstractly about Prague's cultural scene, our professor has taken us out on field trips almost every single class.

We've already gone to four different art exhibits, including an exhibit about the Czech village of Lidice, which the Nazis had completely destroyed during World War II as a response to the assassination of Nazi official Reinhard Heydrich. This exhibit provided a fascinating glimpse into a unique, tragic part of Czech history that I never would have learned about otherwise. We also went to see an exhibit of American photographer David LaChapelle's work. His bright, surrealist work provided quite the contrast to the tragedy of Lidice, but that's part of the beauty of the cultural scene in Prague: You really can discover anything and everything here.

This theme of discovery was most driven home when our professor took us on a walk through the streets surrounding our university. He showed us a bar that exhibits art; the Czech Museum of Music; multiple jazz bars and concert venues; a quirky art gallery that's open 24 hours; a modern art museum; and more - all located within less than a square mile of our university. It's incredible how Prague is just bursting with cultural activities. Back in Pittsburgh, if you want to go to a concert, chances are you'll have to take a couple of buses across the city just to find a music venue. In Prague, though, all you have to do is walk down the block.

As I spend more time in Prague, I'm sure I'll explore plenty of its cultural scene on my own. It's reassuring, though, to have a class to help me sort through and make sense of the cacophony of culture.
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