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Program Information:

Title
QUICK FACTS
Location Prague, Czech Republic
Academic Term Spring Quarter
April 6 – June 16, 2019
Estimated Program Fee $6,200
Credits 15 UW credits
Prerequisites In terms of physical activities, we go on four 5-hour bike trips through Prague, Vienna, Krakow and Berlin. All bike trips are really easy and fun going on flat surface. However, it is highly advisable that the students coming to Prague know how to bike so that they can participate in these great activities. (In case that a student does not know how to ride a bike we do not exclude the student but rent a tandem bike). In Budapest, we explore the underground caving system under the city, accompanied by professional and experienced guides. In Budapest, we also go swimming in the famous Roman and Ottoman baths. All students are informed in advance about the physical nature of these activities. Needless to say, neither of these activities is mandatory and for students, who do not feel comfortable either with biking, caving or swimming, we always have an alternative, equally fun and enriching activity plan. Since Czech is a difficult and marginal language, no prior knowledge of Czech is required or expected.
Program Directors Vera Sokolova-vsokol@uw.edu; Michael Lee Smith-smitm272@uw.edu
Program Manager Darielle Horsey | studyabroad@uw.edu
Priority Application Deadline November 15, 2018
Information Sessions Contact Nick Barr (intprogs@uw.edu) for more information
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.
Visas This country is part of the Schengen area. Note that there are strict rules and restrictions for foreign visitors to this area that may impact a student's ability to travel within the region before or after their program, or to attend two subsequent programs in this area. It is critical that the student reviews the information and scenarios here to learn more about Schengen area visa requirements.
 

Program Description

The Prague Program offers UW students unique and specific study abroad opportunity 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 CHID 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 5-day trips 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 the communist system, the hopes and tensions of the European Union, and how coming to terms with the past is reflected in the cultural and art scene we witness today. 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 women’s and LGBTQI 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 site, or rather the sites ARE the academic contents 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. We believe for this immersion experience it’s absolutely crucial that the students don’t feel like tourists but instead live the same way regular Prague residents do. During the Prague program our students thus live in rented private residential apartments, centrally located in the heart of Prague. 4-5 students share two-bedroom apartments, all with fully equipped kitchens, bathrooms with showers or bathtubs, washing machines, living rooms 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.) 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, museums), and reading packs for all three classes. For more information, please visit our program website: www.chidprague.cz 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. Our priority is (and has always been) academic rigor and intellectual growth of our students. We focus on key issues that resonate well beyond Central Europe: the tragedy of the Holocaust, the nature and impact of the communist system, the hopes and tensions of the European Union, and how coming to terms with the past is reflected in the cultural and art scene we witness today. In all three courses offered on the program (and the program as a whole) we employ three interconnected critical practices central to CHID’s pedagogical mission and educational goals: 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 about “Central Europe” through productive and supportive discussions. The Prague program is also strongly and closely aligned with the UW’s Race and Equity Initiative and all three courses offered on the program meet the UW’s Diversity Requirement Credit. Our course activities directly encourage students to think critically about issues of racism, and ethnic, national and social marginality in contemporary Europe. In all five countries that we move through during the program we visit a variety of local and international NGOs that reflect the vast spectrum of social, cultural and political issues specific (and transient) to the given national contexts. The encounters with our NGO speakers (from high-placed diplomats and directors to social justice activists) broaden the horizons and support effective cross-cultural communication skills of our students. This is especially important in current times when Europe, like the US, is plagued with the threat of terrorism and political extremism, which ignite fear, hate, intolerance, and extreme forms of nationalism across national and social boundaries. Contemporary Europe is a volatile space where the foundational values of multiculturalism and humanism are questioned and challenged on a daily basis by voices supporting restrictive national states and closed boarders. Central Europe, however, is a multicultural space, historically and today, and so one of the most important learning goals that we prioritize in our program is to make our students able to see, understand and appreciate this diversity. Since ethnic and national diversity in Central Europe is very often not a matter of the color of one’s skin, the more important it is to us that our students understand diversity in complex intersectional ways.
 

LOCATION

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Prague, Czech Republic

Sites

Prague, Czech Republic; Vienna, Austria

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 private residential apartments, which we rent from a housing agency called “Happy House Rentals” (www.happyhouserentals.com). Students live by 4-5 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. 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..

Field Trips

Krakow, Poland ; Berlin, Germany; Budapest, Hungary

ACADEMICS

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Prerequisites and Language Requirements

In terms of physical activities, we go on four 5-hour bike trips through Prague, Vienna, Krakow and Berlin. All bike trips are really easy and fun going on flat surface. However, it is highly advisable that the students coming to Prague know how to bike so that they can participate in these great activities. (In case that a student does not know how to ride a bike we do not exclude the student but rent a tandem bike). In Budapest, we explore the underground caving system under the city, accompanied by professional and experienced guides. In Budapest, we also go swimming in the famous Roman and Ottoman baths. All students are informed in advance about the physical nature of these activities. Needless to say, neither of these activities is mandatory and for students, who do not feel comfortable either with biking, caving or swimming, we always have an alternative, equally fun and enriching activity plan. Since Czech is a difficult and marginal language, no prior knowledge of Czech is required or expected.

Credits

;">15 UW Credits

Courses

HSTEU 490: East European Communism and Everyday Life (5 Credits: I&S, VLPA, Diversity)

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, 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 include:
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, Cold War, 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. HSTEU 490 course has two 5-page papers and a 2-hr in-class final exam. Students are expected to actively participate in discussion seminars, which reveal whether they have done and understood the assigned readings. Every student also leads one seminar discussion (in pairs) in order to develop leadership and argumentative skills.


POLS 495: Democracy and Human Rights in Central Europe (5 Credits: I&S, Diversity)

This class examines the interaction between democratization and the politics of economic development in Central and Eastern Europe. After the collapse of communism, democratic and economic reforms took place simultaneously and rapidly, leading to a host of urgent problems and consequences their designers did not always predict, such as increases in economic inequality, unemployment and an increased sense of insecurity by large segments of post-communist societies. These phenomena have, in turn, provided a base of support for reinvigorated communist parties and nationalist movements, as well as provoked disillusionment with the democratic process. In exploring the complex intersections of recent social, political and economic transformation, we will pay particular attention to the role of civil society and membership in the European Union in shaping the democratic futures of post-communist societies. An integral part of our class will be visits of and from important Czech NGOs.

Learning goals include:
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 the students to study in depth and think critically, and comparatively, about major 20th-century events (such as rise of the Soviet empire and its demise, development and growth of the European Union, democratization of Eastern Europe, 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. POLS 495 course has two 4-page papers, 1-page write-up on a participatory activity (attending civil society or NGO event) and a 1-hr in-class final exam. Students are expected to actively participate in discussion seminars which reveal whether they have done and understood the assigned readings. I&S, Diversity.

 

CHID 390: Colloquium in the History of Ideas: Collective Memory, Civil Society and Public Space (5 Credits: I&S, VLPA, W, Diversity)

CHID 390 is an intensive reading and discussion colloquium focusing on the theoretical and practical problems of commemoration, identity politics, civil society, and use of public space and representations of the past – in the laboratory called “Central Europe”. Visuality and the “evidence of experience”, as historian Joan W. Scott has put it, are essential aspects of building a sense of memory – and meaning. History is not a mere reflection of the past but a very conscious production of the present ways of seeing and interacting with the past. How “we” treat and (re)present our history says a lot about who “we” are now. A crucial part of this process is a construction of public space, monuments and memorials surrounding us, which significantly shape how we think about and approach the past and how and why we remember certain things and events (while we forget or overlook others). At the same time, the construction of public space is intimately connected to the organization and expression of civil society, the politics of identity, and the democratic or undemocratic movements that they spawn. In many ways CHID 390 integrates the politics and history of Central Europe that you study in the other two courses and intertwines those with the experiential learning of our program trips, as well as visits to civil society and international organizations.

Learning goals include:
Learning Goals: In CHID 390 course 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, leading one seminar session (in pairs) 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 research paper should address a dimension of the course content and/or material, which is important to the students and enables them to engage both the readings and their own experiences while abroad. Since CHID 390 is a “W“ course, the final research paper is a 10-page long paper with a commented rewrite.

PROGRAM LEADERSHIP

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Vera Sokolova, Comparative History of Ideas, Adjunct Associate Professor of History

BIOVera 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, Comparative History of Ideas, Lecturer

BIOMike 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

FINANCES

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Program Expenses

$6,200

Included in the program fee:

  • $450 Study Abroad Fee
  • CHID fee of $350
  • Instruction
  • Housing
  • Program activities and program travel
Not included in the program fee:
  • Airfare (average price subject to when and where your buy your ticket - $1000
  • Food (about $20/day)
  • UW Student Abroad Insurance ($1.74/day)
  • Other health expenses/immunizations
  • Personal spending money


April 14, 2019

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.

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.
  • You can submit a revision request to increase the amount of aid for the quarter you are studying abroad. These additional funds are usually awarded in the form of loans.  To apply, fill out a revision request form, attach the budget sheet (available via the link at the top of this brochure) and submit these documents to the Office of Student Financial Aid.  For more information about this process, consult the Financial Aid section of our website.
  • Consult the Financial Aid section of our website for more information on applying for financial aid, special considerations for summer and early fall programs, and budgeting and fundraising tips.

Scholarships

  • There are many scholarships designed to fund students studying abroad. The UW administers a study abroad scholarship program and there are national awards available as well.
  • Scholarships vary widely in their parameters. Some are need-based, some are location-based, and some are merit-based.
  • For UW Study Abroad Scholarships fill out a short questionnaire on your UW Study Abroad program application to be considered.  You must apply by the priority application deadline for the program in order to be considered for a scholarship.  Click the Overview tab to view application deadlines.
  • Consult our Scholarships page to learn about UW-based and national scholarships. The Office of Merit Scholarships, Fellowships, and Awards can help you learn about additional opportunities.

Budgeting Tools

We understand that figuring out your finances for study abroad can be complicated and we are here to help. Here are some ways to find additional support:

  • Click on the Budget Sheets link at the top of this brochure to view the estimated budget of all expenses for this program.
  • Contact the Global Opportunities Adviser at goglobal@uw.edu to learn more about how to pay for study abroad.
  • Attend a Financial Planning Workshop offered by UW Study Abroad – more information is on the Events page of our website.
  • Visit the Finances section of our website.

APPLICATION CONSIDERATIONS

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Application Process

The study abroad application includes a personal statement, three short answer questions, one recommendation from a professor or TA, and electronic signature documents related to UW policies and expectations for study abroad. Following the online application process, you may be contacted by the program director for an in-person interview. Once an admission decision has been made regarding your application, you will be notified by the study abroad system via email.

Orientation

To be eligible to study abroad, you must complete the mandatory pre-departure orientation facilitated by UW Study Abroad. You must also attend program-specific orientations offered by the program director.

You must register for the UW Study Abroad orientation. You can visit the Orientation section of our website to view the current schedule and to register for an orientation session.

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

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. This is an especially important consideration if you are planning to do more than one study abroad program. You can research visa requirements by calling the consular offices of those countries or checking the following website: http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/country.html.

Note: 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: https://www.state.gov/s/cpr/32122.htm.

For non-U.S. citizens, 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 a contract has been submitted. Students withdrawing from a program are 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 a withdrawal form is received by UW Study Abroad. Notice of withdrawal from the program must be made in writing by completing the following steps:

  1. Provide notice in writing to the program director that you will no longer be participating in the program.
  2. Submit a signed withdrawal form to UW Study Abroad.

Visit the Withdrawals section of our website for more information.