Each semester, CEA Prague offers an activity called Prague Through the Eyes of the Homeless. This is a tour with Pragulic, an organization that connects students with people who have experienced homelessness. The guides share their story and show the students parts of Prague that have a specific meaning and impact to them. It is the perfect way to show that there is even more to the city than the Charles Bridge and Prague Castle. Like in any other tourist city, there are locals who have a story to share.
Our guide focused on how it was to live in Prague during the '70s and '80s, which is especially important to know as this year is the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution. He gave insight about what he specifically experienced and what it was generally like to live in the city. We were brought to areas off the beaten path and saw where the heart of the secret police once was. Our guide gave an anecdote about his life-threatening encounter with the police, which changed the way he saw his teenage life in Prague.
The activity encouraged the students to picture what the city looked like in the past. Standing in the place that was previously the red light district helped them better understand the history of Prague. The city is covered in beautiful buildings, but there is more to it. Students were allowed to think differently and realize that there are multiple layers and sides to something existing. Many of the students were amazing and saw a dual purpose in the tour. We were receiving the necessary information about Prague, as well as giving time to our guide who was in the process of getting back on his feet.
This cultural outing set CEA apart provided a perfect opportunity for the students to recognize that there is so much more to learn.
Shelly Ng is the CEA Onsite Ambassador for the Fall 2019 semester in Prague, Czech Republic. She is currently a student at Binghamton University and studied abroad with CEA during the Spring 2018 semester.