The UPCES Czech Buddy Program

For many students about to travel abroad there is a sense of nervousness about adapting to a foreign culture and environment. So many questions invade the mind of these students getting ready to venture into new experiences. What will the country be like? Will the people be like me? Will they be able to understand me? What if I can’t communicate? What if I don’t fit in there?

These questions can plague the mind of UPCES students when they first arrive to Prague. It’s new and exciting, yes, but it can also be terrifying to feel lost in the city you live in. Of course, these students have countless resources at their disposal to help with any issues they come across, but what about the day to day life of finding the coffee shops with the latte brewed to perfection, the parks with the most scenic running paths, and the restaurants and pub with the most deliciously prepared traditional Czech foods? That’s where the Czech Buddy program comes in.

Since its creation years ago, the Czech Buddy program has sought to familiarize UPCES students with Prague on an intimate level from a Czech student who lives in the city. Students can sign up to participate in the Buddy program from the beginning of the semester, and they will be matched up with a Czech student who is interested in not only getting to know the student and showing them around, but who also has a desire to understand American culture and to improve their English language skills. This partnership between the American and Czech students establishes a friendship that provides the added benefit of learning whether it is about Czech grammar, the history of the Czech Republic, or simply, the feeling of comfortability in Prague.

When UPCES students arrive each semester, we encourage them to sign up for the Czech Buddy program. Students who have connected with their Czech counterparts during their whirlwind semester abroad get an in depth look into local life that some may only glimpse without a Prague resident at their side.  This connection can create an even more wonderful and engaging abroad experience than students ever expected and can last long after their journey into the heart of Bohemia has ended.