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  • Locations: Prague, Czech Republic
  • Program Terms: Spring Quarter
  • Homepage: Click to visit
Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Program Information:
sociology italy
     QUICK FACTS
 Location Prague, Czech Republic
 Academic
 Term
Spring Quarter
March 31 – June 9, 2018
 Estimated    Program Fee $6,200
 Credits 15 UW credits
 Prerequisites N/A
 Program      Directors Vera Sokolova; Michael Lee Smith
 Program  Manager Darielle Horsey | studyabroad@uw.edu
 Application    Deadline November 15, 2017
 Information  Session(s) Nov. 7 from 12:00-1:00 in PDL C101
       HIGHLIGHTS
  General The CHID Prague Program offers UW students a unique and specific study abroad experience not available elsewhere at UW. It is all about immersing yourself in Prague and the other great Central European cities – Vienna, Krakow, Budapest and Berlin – in order to develop a complex understanding of the dynamic historical, cultural, and political life of Central Europe as a whole. The program itself is strongly anchored in the philosophy of CHID: it combines academically rigorous seminar-style courses, international field trips aimed at provoking personal reflection and exploration, and cultural events that transform our program into a living community.
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Program Description

History, Memory and Human Rights in Central Europe

The Prague Program offers UW students a unique and specific study abroad experience not available elsewhere at UW. A medieval cultural capital located in the heart of Europe, yet for decades locked seemingly far away behind the Iron Curtain, Prague has a magical flair like no other. Relatively spared from natural disasters and war, Prague boasts magnificent architecture preserved from its distant past, and is the home to world class theatres (think Mozart), labyrinthine cobble-stoned streets (think Kafka), and tucked-away bars, gardens, and cafés where you can contemplate the meaning of it all. One of the things that makes Prague special is its contradictions: it's both big as well as cozy, it's rich as well as poor, both "Eastern" and "Western," quiet and wild, and really old yet unmistakably reconfigured by the communist regime (1948-1989) as well as the capitalist system that replaced it.

The Prague Program, which is one of the oldest study abroad programs at UW (since 1996), is all about immersing yourself in Prague and the other great Central European cities – Vienna, Krakow, Budapest and Berlin, where we will go on 4-5 day trip each – in order to develop a complex understanding of the dynamic historical, cultural, and political life of Central Europe as a whole. The program itself is strongly anchored in the philosophy of CHID: it combines academically rigorous seminar-style courses, international field trips aimed at provoking personal reflection and exploration, and cultural events that transform our program into a living community. We focus on key issues that resonate well beyond Central Europe: the tragedy of the Holocaust, the nature and impact of communist regimes, the sources and implications of new forms of nationalism and illiberalism, and the innovative ways civil society organizations in Central Europe advocate human rights and social justice issues to remedy the problems of the past and present.

We also reflect on the very meaning of Central Europe. Does Central Europe even exist? The question has for over a century occupied European intellectuals like Walter Benjamin or Milan Kundera, and continued to be reframed by the World Wars, a divided Europe during the Cold War, and the contemporary European integration. We travel to Vienna, Krakow, Budapest and Berlin to explore the commonality and diversity of Central Europe and to see how, as Christa Wolf expressed it, today is the last day of the past.

The Prague program is intensive both academically and experientially, often at the same time. The classes directly connect, for example, with our talks with journalists at Radio Free Europe in Prague or diplomats at the U.S. mission to the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) in Vienna. We discuss class readings with activists at the European Roma Rights Center in Budapest as well as with lawyers from the Transparency International in Prague. We visit the United Nations European Headquarters in Vienna, queer rights activists in Krakow, local artists in Prague, the Roma Parliament in Budapest and "green" squatters in the famous wagon commune Schwarzerkanal in Berlin. What might seem abstract at one moment becomes crystal clear the next when we walk through Auschwitz, visit a Stasi prison, witness street demonstrations, or explore the remnants of the Berlin wall.

Thus, to a large degree, the cities, monuments, civic organizations, and other public spaces and institutions we visit constitute the academic content of the program. But we do all of this with a heavy dose of fun: we go biking in Vienna, Krakow, and Berlin, experience Budapest's Roman and Ottoman baths, explore Vienna's Habsburg palaces, and see opera and ballet in Prague's beautiful theaters. We also encourage students to go on short-term trips to other wonderful places in the Czech Republic during the three-day weekends. Through this immersion, we hope that students in the program not only critically explore the intersections of rich and complex Central European history, society, and politics, but also, in the process, become themselves transformed by the places, people, and ideas they encounter. br />
The program fee covers most expenses connected with the international field trips (travel, housing, museums and other entrance fees, all breakfasts and a few group meals, etc.), student accommodation in the above-described apartments, 3-month public transportation pass in Prague, tickets to selected cultural events (opera, ballet, concerts), all academic related entrance fees (museums, art galleries), and reading packs for all three classes.

For more information, please visit our program website: www.chidprague.cz

Location

Prague, Czech Republic

Sites

Prague (Czech Republic), plus international trips to Vienna (Austria), Krakow (Poland), Berlin (Germany), and Budapest (Hungary).

Housing

We believe it's absolutely crucial for the immersion experience on a study abroad program that the students feel like residents of Prague and consider Prague their home. It's important that they don't feel like tourists passing through the city or exchange students, living in dorms. During the Prague program the students thus live in rented private residential apartments. Students live by 4-6 in one apartment and always share a bedroom with one roommate (in large apartments sometimes with two). We make sure all students have the same private and common living space in their respective apartments (the more students in one apartment, the bigger the apartment). All apartments are centrally located in the heart of Prague. All have fully equipped kitchens, bathrooms with showers or bathtubs, a washing machine, living room with TV/SAT, and free internet. (The location of our classroom is within 20 minutes by walk or a short tram ride from all student apartments.)

Academics

Pre-Requisites/Language Requirements/Physical Components

Since Czech is a difficult and marginal language, no prior knowledge of Czech is required or expected.

Students from all disciplines can and are encouraged to apply! The program is especially attractive to students of Comparative History of Ideas (because it offers the mandatory CHID 390 colloquium), European politics, international relations, sociology, history, anthropology, law and justice, post-communist studies, European history, economics, communications, art history, psychology, linguistics, and business. On previous programs, however, we also had students majoring in (bio)chemistry, biology, music, pre-med and pre-law programs, or computer and mechanical engineering. Since the Prague program prides itself on being academically rigorous, we highly value and encourage to apply all students, who are interested in the academic dimension of studying in Central Europe.

Credits

15 Credits

Courses

HSTEU 490 or CHID 471 A East European Communism and Everyday Life (5 credits)

This class is an intensive introductory course to the post-WWII history of East Central Europe with a special emphasis on Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary and (East and West) Germany. Through visual culture, oral history, and site visits, the class concentrates on the rise of communism in the Soviet bloc countries following the end of WWII and its subsequent gradual and diverse development in the following four decades. The class emphasizes both similarities and differences of the communist experience and everyday lives in different East European countries and leads the students to think critically about communism, the Cold War, and the practices and methods of State socialism. We will focus on the issues of collaboration and resistance, complicity and responsibility, and legacy and change, in order to see how these shape and complicate the notion of a national history, collective identity, and individual agency. By examining the relationships between the state, society, and the individual in various countries, the course works against the simplistic binary of "regime" vs. "people" and "East" vs. "West" to see what these reveal about the nature and reality of the Communist regimes in postwar Eastern Europe. An integral part of this class is a Film Seminar, exploring and contrasting contemporary post-1989 cinematography with the (New Wave Czech) cinema of the 1960s and the mainstream communist films of the 1970s and 1980s.

Learning Goals

In the course of the program, students should develop a complex understanding of the dynamic historical, cultural, and political life of Central Europe as a whole. All three classes are carefully designed and prepared together, both in terms of contents and requirements, to match this goal. HSTEU 490 leads the students to study in depth and think critically, and comparatively, about major 20th-century events (such as WWII, the Holocaust, expulsions of ethnic Germans from Eastern Europe, the Cold War, the rise of the Soviet empire and its demise, treatment of the Roma, etc.). All classes combine academically rigorous lectures and discussion seminars with international field trips aimed at provoking personal reflection and exploration. In addition, all classes are accompanied by cultural events that transform our program into a living community. The learning goals of the courses (and the program as a whole) thus go beyond the academics to encourage students to translate what they learn in the classroom into active participation in the surrounding local life and civil society. br />
HSTEU 490 has a midterm paper and an in-class final exam. Students are expected to actively participate in discussion seminars, which reveal whether they have done and understood the assigned readings.

POLS 495 or CHID 471 B Democracy and Human Rights in Central Europe (5 credits)

This class examines the emergence and consolidation of democratic governance in Central and Eastern Europe since the collapse of communism, particularly in terms of the broad array of obstacles and threats to democracy that persist to the present. After the collapse of communism, democratic and economic reforms took place rapidly, leading to a host of urgent problems and consequences their designers did not always predict, such as increases in economic inequality, political corruption, and a heightened sense of insecurity by large segments of post-communist societies. These phenomena have, in turn, led to a disillusionment with democracy and the rise of an invigorated nationalism that rejects the vision of an open society based on universal human rights and European solidarity. We also study the transformation of post-communist regimes that have fallen back to authoritarianism, such as Russia, and use those insights to reflect on the fragility of democratic governments in Central Europe and globally. Most importantly, the course engages directly with human rights and other organizations that aim to shed light on and challenge these new forms of illiberalism, such as the rejection of the right of refugees to asylum, which can serve as a basis of comparison with political activism back home in the United States.

Learning Goals

In the course of the program, students should develop a complex understanding of the dynamic historical, cultural and political life of Central Europe as a whole. All three classes are carefully designed and prepared together, both in terms of contents and requirements, to match this goal. POLS 495 leads students to study in depth and think critically and comparatively about the role of human rights movements in the collapse of communism, democratization in Eastern Europe, and the rise of nationalism in the present. All classes combine academically rigorous lectures and discussion seminars with international field trips aimed at provoking personal reflection and exploration. In addition, all classes are accompanied by cultural events that transform our program into a living community. The learning goals of the courses (and the program as a whole) thus go beyond the academics to encourage students to translate what they learn in the classroom into active participation in the surrounding local life and civil society.

POLS 495 course has a midterm paper, a shorter reflection paper (e.g. critically reflecting on a form of civic activism) and an in-class final exam. Students are expected to actively participate in discussion seminars which reveal whether they have done and understood the assigned readings.

CHID 390 Collective Memory and Public Space (5 credits)

This CHID 390 colloquium is a reading and discussion course that will focus on the relationship between collective memory and the constructions of public space. We will explore how memory and commemorative practices of recent traumatic events (concretely the Holocaust, WWII, the expulsion of ethnic Germans from Eastern Europe, and the Stalinist Purge Trials of the 1950s) shape the construction of public space(s) in the countries of Central Europe and how the public space (through monuments and memorials) in turn affects the way people and states selectively remember and forget those events. Central Europe has a vast reservoir of actual physical sites to examine these specific relationships. Given the many sharply contesting historical and ideological (spatial) narratives of the past, which are continuously produced, used and abused in the region, the Prague Program, with its four international trips to Vienna, Krakow, Budapest and Berlin, is the ideal context in which to examine the questions of memory and space as mutually constructed and interrelated processes.

In the classroom, we will look at a variety of texts – theoretical essays, memoirs, popular media, and literary texts that reveal and problematize a range of ways of remembering (and forgetting, for that matter) and its translation into commemorative practices, as well as study the analytical frameworks and questions for interrogating monuments and memorials as "texts," "arenas," and "performances." We will complement these readings and their discussions by hands-on explorations of relevant monuments, museums, and other cultural and historical sites in Prague, but mainly during our trips.

Learning Goals

In CHID 390, we employ three interconnected critical practices: reading, talking, and writing, all of which will work together to create and sustain a learning community in Prague, one in which all of us will gain an enhanced ability to "think out loud" and develop thoughts and ideas through productive and supportive discussions. Discussion is one of the central pedagogical methods of this course. Students are encouraged and expected to actively participate in the intensive discussion-style seminars by posing questions about the readings and our field trips and critically reacting to their peers' comments in the sessions. In CHID 390 students write four short reflection papers corresponding with the bloc themes and our international field trips. These papers are assigned for two main reasons. First, to demonstrate that students have completed and thought about the assigned readings, and second, to give them a forum to engage in an idea or set of ideas that interest them and captured their attention while on the trip. The final individual project and presentation should address a dimension of the course content and/or material, which is important to the students personally and enables them to engage both the readings and their own experiences while abroad.

Program Directors & Staff

Vera Sokolova, Department of CHID, Program Director

Vera is an Associate Professor of History and the chair of the Department of Gender Studies at Charles University in Prague. She received her Ph.D. in history at UW and has led the CHID Prague Program since 1996. She is active in Czech public life, especially in areas of gender equality and minority rights. Vera is a native of the Czech Republic and speaks English, Czech, Slovak, German, Polish and Russian.
vsokol@uw.edu

Michael Lee Smith, Department of CHID, Program Co-Director

Mike is a senior researcher in political science and sociology at the Czech Academy of Sciences and director of the Institute for Social and Economic Analyses in Prague. He received his Ph.D. in political science at The New School of Social Research in New York, his M.A. in philosophy at Boston College and B.A.s in CHID, Comparative Religion and Philosophy at UW. Mike has lived in Prague for fifteen years and is fluent in the Czech language.
smitm272@uw.edu

Lenka Grunbergova, Program Assistant,

Lenka is a governmental advisor at the Department of Gender Equality in the Government of the Czech Republic. She received her M.A. in Gender Studies at Charles University in Prague and has worked as a program assistant for the student housing for the CHID Prague Program since 2016. Lenka speaks Czech, English, Slovak, and German.
l.grunbergova@centrum.cz

Program Expenses

Estimated program fee: $6,200

Included in the program fee
  • $450 Study Abroad Fee
  • $350 CHID Fee
  • Instruction
  • Housing
  • Program activities and program travel
Not included in the program fee
  • Airfare - average price subject to when and where you buy your ticket - $1,000
  • Food (about $15/day)
  • UW Student Abroad Insurance ($62/month)
  • Other health expenses/immunizations
  • Personal spending money

Payment Schedule

Program fees will be posted to your MyUW student account and can be paid the same way that you pay tuition and other fees. Check your MyUW Account periodically for due dates.

Payment Type Payment Amount Payment Due Date
TOTAL FEES CHARGED $6,200 April 13, 2018

Financial aid

  • A large percentage of UW students utilize financial aid to study abroad. Most types of financial aid can be applied to study abroad fees.
  • Students can also submit a revision request to increase the amount of aid for the quarter you are studying abroad. These additional funds are usually in the form of loans.
  • Consult the Financial Aid section of our website for more information on applying for additional financial aid, special considerations for Summer and Exploration Seminar program students, and budgeting and fundraising tips.

Scholarships

  • There are many scholarships designed to fund students studying abroad. The UW has some of our own, but there are also national awards available to you as well.
  • Scholarships vary widely in their parameters. Some are need-based, some are location-based and some are merit-based.
  • Consult our Scholarships page to learn about UW-based scholarships. The Office of Merit Scholarships, Fellowships, and Awards can help you learn about additional opportunities.
We understand that figuring out your finances for study abroad can be complicated and we are here to help. Please do not hesitate to contact your Program Manager listed above if you have any questions about the information on this page, or in the Finances section of our website.

Orientation

To be eligible to study abroad, all program participants must attend an in-person pre-departure orientation facilitated by UW Study Abroad. You are also required to attend all program-specific orientations offered by your program directors.

You must register for orientation through your online study abroad account in order to attend a scheduled session. You can visit the orientation section of our website to view the current orientation schedule.

Orientation must be completed prior to the enrollment deadline for the quarter that you are studying abroad.

Application Process

The application includes:

  • four short answer questions
  • one faculty recommendation
  • electronic signature documents related to UW Study Abroad policies and expectations

Following the on-line application process students may be contacted by the Program Director for an in-person interview. Once an admission decision has been made regarding your application, you will receive an email from the UW Study Abroad application system.

Visas

UW Study Abroad is not responsible for obtaining visas for study abroad program participants. The cost and requirements for obtaining visas vary. It is your responsibility to determine visa requirements for all countries you plan to visit while abroad, including countries that you plan to visit before or after your study abroad program. You can do so by calling the consular offices of those countries or checking the following website: http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/country.html.

For Non-U.S. Citizens

If you are not a U.S. citizen, consult the embassy or consulate of the countries you will visit to learn their document requirements. You can check the following website to find contact information for the consulate of the country you will be visiting: http://www.state.gov/s/cpr/rls/fco/index.htm. The procedures that you will need to follow may be different than those for U.S. citizens. It is important to initiate this process as soon as possible in order to assemble documents and allow time for lengthy procedures.

Disability Accommodations

The University of Washington is committed to providing access and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, activities, and education for individuals with disabilities. To request disability accommodation for this program, contact Disability Resources for Students at least 8 weeks in advance of your departure date. Contact info at disability.uw.edu.

Withdrawals

$350 of the total program fee and the $450 UW Study Abroad Fee are non-refundable once you have submitted a contract. Students withdrawing from a program may be responsible for paying a percentage of the program fee depending on the date of withdrawal. More details about the withdrawal policy are included in your payment contract. No part of the program fee is refundable once the program has begun. The date of withdrawal is considered the business day UW Study Abroad receives your signed withdrawal form.

Notice of withdrawal from the program must be made in writing by completing the following steps:

  1. Provide notice of your withdrawal in writing to the Program Director
  2. Submit a signed withdrawal form to UW Study Abroad, 459 Schmitz Hall

Visit the Withdrawals section of our website for more information.

Please see the CHID website for information on the CHID Fee withdrawal policy: https://depts.washington.edu/chid/fees-financing-and-withdrawal.