Bratislava, Classes, the City, and Whitman

Sarah Cornett

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






It’s been almost a month here in Prague- I apologize for the sporadic updates, but now that we have finished our first week of real class I am finally feeling settled.

Contrary to the plans of most of the program kids, I am staying in Prague this weekend rather than taking Munich for Oktoberfest. I usually think of myself as someone with bad FOMO, but I am excited to stay in Czech for the weekend. A Czech friend, Ondrej, has invited me and four friends to go to his family’s cottage this weekend.

Some recent highlights include a trip to Bratislava, Slovakia last Saturday and many, many walks about town. Bratislava reminded me of Prague in many ways. The red roofs, juxtaposition of baroque and nineteenth century architecture, the river splitting the city… all of these things are very Prague, very Central Europe.

What was different about Bratislava was that it seemed to have a somewhat sleepier, smaller, quieter and less touristy vibe. I went with another Czech buddy, Ivana, who is from Slovakia. Her thoughts and insight made the day much more interesting. I’m glad that I made it to Slovakia in any case- I guess it marks my first trip abroad!

I can’t say that anything particularly fascinating has happened in Prague in the past week or two. Instead, I am very very much enjoying feeling more at home and settled. I’ve found some nice cafes, and recently came across a 24 hour student study room that I will likely be spending a great deal of time in.

Classes were the big thing this week. In a rather drastic change of plans, I am taking three film classes (I have never taken one before!) Two at FAMU (regarded as the best film school in Europe), and one at CIEE called the Feminine Aura. In addition to those, I am taking the Czech language class, a history class called Mitteleuropa, and Modern Czech Literature. So far, I am really excited about all of them.

It’s hard to boil down the month into a sentence or two, but if I had, I would say that my time here so far has been unbelievably rich and enjoyable. Our apartment is literally in one of the best possible locations imaginable, I really enjoy my classes, and I’ve made some truly great Czech and American friends so far.

Being so far away from Whitman and home has given me a valuable perspective on things, too. Whitman is currently in the midst of some pretty heavy discussion following a low ranking in economic diversity, and students seems to be very deeply concerned.

I’ve been spending probably too much time thinking about what’s happening at school and the ways in which it could be made better. I think what I’ve come to understand is that attending a school like Whitman often means that students feel deeply invested in its success. I definitely feel this way, and  I’m disappointed in Whitman right now.

Albeit that sounds a bit weird… but meeting people that go to other colleges has made me think hard about Whitman. Whitman needs to do less following and really begin to innovate if it wants to continue to attract a body of students similar to those who have attended the school historically. I have really enjoyed seeing all of the activism on campus, whether in the form of performance art, protest, or installations.

ANYWAYS sorry for that quick Whitman rant. Back to Prague.

I will post pictures soon, I have misplaced my computer chord. At the moment I am relaxing in an empty apartment (my roommates were part of the Oktoberfest crew) having just eaten some pho with friends. I think I might go up to Prague’s historic Jewish quarter today. Then tomorrow, the cottage!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email