It’s been super busy this past week, and a lot has happened!
First, my Kindle broke. Then my iPod semi-broke. To keep the theme going, I broke my sunglasses… and after that my Internet went out.
So! Now I’m blogging from a cafe with WiFi in one of the malls here in Prague. The malls here seem taller than the ones at home – they’re usually around 4 or 5 floors. This way, they’ll fit better with the compact European buildings.
In school, I’ve always learned that the Czech Republic is one of the prime examples for a successful transition from a communist command economy to a free market economy.
Studying economics in a classroom, however, is totally different from living on the frontlines here in Prague.
Being here, I can see firsthand the determination of the people and the effort it takes to keep moving the economy forward. I see the dedication to profit margins, the ambitious competitiveness strategies drafted by hopeful deputy ministers, the back and forth dialogue of small private business owners – private businesses that, 22 years ago, didn’t exist.
It’s tough though. Under the communist system, customer service-oriented industry wasn’t the focus – so today, this service field is still finding its way. And marketing (an aspect of business obsolete under communism) isn’t embraced 100% yet.
The Czech economy is doing better and better after only two decades, and I think it will continue to develop. Everyone seems eager to meet the challenges facing industry; they’re always pushing on – onward and upward. : )
Prague’s Charles Bridge is my new favorite place to be while watching the sun set – it falls behind the Prague Castle and the play of light is amazing….
Love walking along the Vltava River – the riverside architecture is all so unique.
I take the tram to work almost every day, and this view makes early mornings worth it:
I am officially addicted to Czech cafes. This is inside one of my favorites….
Tourist season is going strong in the city. The mélange of people from all over the world is pretty exciting to see. And no matter where people come from, they all have one thing in common: a camera. : )
I’m still learning my way around the small, intricate streets of Prague (and sometimes still getting lost!). But the wandering is usually fun – there’s always something new to stumble across. : )
I spent some time meandering around and exploring my neighborhood, plus hanging out at a nearby outdoor cafe. I couldn’t really read the Czech menu there, so I ordered randomly off the coffee section and got this espresso + ice cream + whipped cream drink. It was pretty yummy : )
I’m newly obsessed with the kindle – I’ve been reading all kinds of adventure fiction based on reinventions of old mythologies (Rick Riordan, Michael Scott….)
So! I just got back to Prague in the Czech Republic where I’ll be interning this summer.
The road getting here was kind of rough – my original flight was delayed, delayed, delayed, and then finally canceled. I had to stay an extra night in Atlanta in a hotel near the airport, and ended up taking a different flight out the next day.
Finally made it here though! And I am super excited to learn more about the history of Prague as well as Czech culture, and I can’t wait to share it with you guys here.
The culture is interesting and different everywhere you look. Today, on my first day here, I came across some traditional Czech dancing. Here’s a quick video:
I can’t wait to see what this summer has in store. : )
It’s been a busy week in Freiburg! Classes started, and I was sick earlier in the week. I’m feeling a lot better today though, and ready to post more updates!
For Berlin and Prague, we broke up into two groups of about 30. I was in Group B for this trip, which focuses on economics and finance issues, while the other group focuses on politics.
We went to Berlin first, where we studied the reunification of East and West Germany. Here’s a picture of Potsdamer Platz, which used to be flattened, empty and sliced straight through the middle by the Berlin Wall….
In Berlin, we stayed in hostels – sort of like hotels but with 5 or 6 people to a room.
The weather was frightful! It was cold, wet, and rainy/snowy the whole time we were there.
After Berlin, we went to Prague for 2 and a half days, where we got to stay in hotels. Here, we studied transitions to market economies in countries of the former Eastern Bloc, such as the Czech Republic.
The biggest challenge in Prague was trying to figure out the exchange rate – they aren’t in the eurozone! I had to keep swapping out euros for Czech crowns, and the mental math got a little complicated sometimes.
Prague is situated on the Vltava River, and is home to sooo many pretty bridges!
This trip was great and I loved seeing the history and current issues of the two cities up close! I’ll post more pictures and impressions from Berlin and Prague soon! : )