Every semester, NYU Prague has visiting students. This semester, there are five coming from Tufts, Duke, Wake Forest and Reed College. NYUPragueNow writer Mary Tindall learned more about the experience of one of them....
While we are on an NYU campus, not every student here hails from NYU New York,
Shanghai, or Abu Dhabi. This semester we have multiple non-NYU students here at NYU:
Prague, and I am here to introduce you to one of them!
Meet Katharyn: a Junior at Duke University from Wilmington, North Carolina.
What is your major?
International Comparative Studies (AB) – I wouldn’t describe it as international relations; it is a flexible, interdisciplinary major that focuses on international concepts and regional cultures.
Why did you choose NYU Prague?
My focus area of study for my major is Russia and Central Asia. NYU Prague offers Russian language courses and courses on Russia, all which will transfer back and count towards my major back at Duke. Bless. I also liked the size of the NYU Program. Duke has a program in Saint Petersburg, Russia, which would have fit my major requirements as well, but I liked the variety of classes that NYU Prague offered and the number of students enrolled here. Also, during my semester abroad I wanted to travel to previously Soviet satellite countries, and Prague made that easy.
What were you most excited about before this semester?
Getting away from Duke—I spent the entire summer there working on campus. It is nice to get away and take a step back from the college bubble. I was also excited about getting to actually live in Europe for an extended period of time, rather just visit as a tourist.
Were you nervous about going to an NYU campus for a semester?
It depends on what you mean.
Was I nervous about specifically attending an NYU campus? No. Based on the caliber of the University I figured that the program would be well run with decent academics and housing would be taken care of for me.
However, if you mean in a broader scheme like how an NYU campus is synonymous with living in a city, then yes. Even before college I never attended a school outside of North Carolina, and Duke’s campus is a very stereotypical college campus defined by literal walls. Both years of college I lived right next to a dining hall and walking to class was fast and easy. Therefore, I was worried about what it would be like to balance academics and life in an urban environment.
Do you have any hobbies that you get to continue here in Prague?
One thing that I can continue here is my interest in Education and Early Childhood. Outside of my major, I am also pursuing a Minor in Education and a Certificate in Child Policy Research, and while I am here I can volunteer at a local elementary school and interact with young Czech children and see how they learn.
What is your favorite thing about this city?
I like that it is so easy to get places in Prague. That may just be urban living, but at Duke to get anywhere off campus you have to drive because things are spread far apart and there is can be a lack of public transportation. But here, once I step out the front door, there are so many restaurants/events just a few minutes away walking. It’s fun.
What are your favorite places to eat around Prague?
I personally like trying as many different restaurants as I can, so I rarely repeat. However, I have enjoyed the cafes around Prague, particularly those that place an emphasis on coffee and the importance of different beans/brewing methods.
Mood-wise, I like Momoichi Café—it’s got good coffee, nice atmospheric music, and is decorated with images/plushies of Totoro from the Studio Ghibli film “My Neighbor Totoro”.
Also, I went to a cat café recently where you pet cats while eating cake and drinking coffee. That was nice.
What is your best tip for a non-NYU student going to NYU Prague?
1. Cherish moments with NYU friends because the chance you’ll have daily interactions with them after the semester is very slim.
2. But also, take time for yourself. You specifically applied to a program that few people from your school apply to. Take advantage of being on your own.
What do you hope to get out of this semester?
I hope to gain the knowledge of what good beer tastes like.
I hope to gain probably what most people hope to gain from any study abroad experience: a more worldly view, more confidence in my abilities to navigate the changing world, experience and memories that I will want to tell people about for years to come when they ask me what studying abroad in Prague was like. The whole shebang.
What do you want to do after you graduate?
Hahaha no idea. I have thought about pursuing graduate school or going into child policy/education research, or doing a gap year. I have lots of potential ideas floating in my head. If all else fails I’ll open a tea, coffee, and spice shop.