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The 3rd Issue of CIEE Prague Newsletter concentrates on the special projects which were prepared by CIEE students during the Fall 2014 semester. Students from our four programs, namely Central European Studies, Communications, New Media + Journalism, Film Studies and Global Architecture and Design, spent a considerable amount of time and put a lot of effort into creating those exciting and unique projects, which are discussed in this newsletter in detail.

Enjoy reading about those outstanding special students´ projects!

Central European Studies

Special Immersion trip

Special Czech Immersion trip is an optional 3 day trip that our students can join. We prepared this trip last semester and because it was so successful, we decided to keep it. This trip is specific not only because just a small group of students attend (max. 10), but especially because our students do not stay in a hotel. They are accommodated with local families in Vodňany, a town in Southern Bohemia.

Students are accompanied by one of our Czech language teacher on behalf of CIEE. By preparing this trip we wished to give our students another opportunity for their immersion. And what is better than to take them to a small town far away from Prague and let them live with local families for a weekend?

On Friday, students visit a local high school, meet up with local students and spend an evening together. They meet their families for the weekend and also learn more about our culture. This semester students learned more about our St. Nicolas traditions and even decorated typical Czech ginger bread cookies. Saturday is spent with the families that prepare the program for the day.

On Sunday, students are taken to České Budějovice where they have a guided tour around the town and a brewery visit. After lunch, it is time to say good bye and head back to Prague.

This trip is an exceptional opportunity for students seeking to get more out of their study abroad experience, and we are that several students take advantage of this unique opportunity.

Feedback from our students:

“Fantastic! It was very well-organized and there was also time to explore the town with family. The high school was interesting and I enjoyed spending time with the students.”                                    

“The trip gave me a chance to interact with Czech people that I have not had yet this semester.”                                                          

“The trip was well organized and very interesting.”                                                         

“I had a wonderful weekend, and I am very glad that I came on this trip! Výborně!”                                                   

“My best experience in Czech Republic so far! Thank you!”                                                      

“This was the most growing and learning experience I have had here so far and I am so thankful!”                                                     

“This has been the highlight trip since I have been in the Czech Republic. It was an amazing experience.”                                                 

“I learned a lot and loved staying with a family. It was nice experiencing what short stay would be like.”                                                         

“I would definitely recommend this trip to anyone in the program, it was so fun and a real immersion experience.”     

“Loved it! Had an amazing time. Everything was great.”                            

Immersion trip 1

Immersion trip 2

Communications, New Media + Journalism



Victoria Macoul spent her semester as an intern for Motus, an organization “helping to create and present new performances and other creative acts, run debates and workshops, and initiate events beyond theatre: cultural development activities for an open democratic society” (Motus website). Victoria had many tasks, but one of her favorites was participating in the Dia De Los Muertos/Day of the Dead festival:

„Motus, in cooperation with Puppets without Borders, brings a bit of Mexico to the Czech lands this year for the ninth time. Against the romantic background of Stromovka park children and their parents can learn these traditional practices, participate in a parade of lanterns, hear real live Mexican music, see performances for kids, shadow puppets and installations made of food – to eat!” (Motus website)

“I think the best part about working at the festival was being immersed in a setting where there were people from every generation. Sometimes as a student you find yourself surrounded solely by people your age, so it was nice to have interaction with families and young children.” Victoria Macoul, Communications Major, Virginia Wesleyan College

  Day of the dead 1

Day of the dead 2

Český Rozhlas, Radio Prague:

You can learn more here about Jelani Spencer-Joe’s (Public Relations Major/Broadcasting Minor, Susquehanna University) work at her internship with Český Rozhlas, Czech Republic’s public radio broadcaster in operation since 1923.





The Prague Post:

Mara Natale, Film and Cinema Studies, Lafayette College had a chance to intern with The Prague Post and write about her passion: film.





Intercultural Communication & Leadership Course

Opened for the first time this semester, ICL is taught by Jana, our Center Director. Because the course touches on issues on intercultural communication issues, this course is offered as CNMJ course credit. Several CNMJ students took part and had to complete a „digital story.“ Alex Paxman, Communications Major, Bryant University would like to share hers with you:


The Happening

CNMJ’s very own Jake Weeks (Roger Williams University, Communications Major) was the Creative Director of The Happening and was instrumental in putting the event together. Here’s more about it in his own words:

“The first annual CIEE ‘Happening’ was a program for students to partner up with a Czech action artist and collaborate on a project. Cynthia, Ivanna, and I met with Tomáš Moravec, an artist turned viral video star after he hacked a wooden pallet to glide down the tram tracks of Bratislava, Slovakia, and over the course of the semester we carefully planned out our project. We would film the ‘action’; the students coming in and out of the CIEE door, and edit the footage together to form a construction. Later on the evening of December 8th, we projected this footage onto a cloud of steam outside the door to complete the reconstruction. The intention was to make a statement on how fast the semester goes, and how our time in Prague will soon fade away.” 

Insert video from Z:\CIEE Promotion\Newsletters\Fall 2014\Newsletter 3\CNMJ materials

Buddy Dance Video

“Honza is an awesome buddy for many reasons, but mostly because he's so fun to be around.  As you can see in the video, he's always a source of entertainment.  At the same time, I wouldn't have survived the first two weeks in Prague without Honza.  He was more than willing to drop everything at any time to help me find the post office, grocery store, or wherever I needed to go.  He is always willing to help and made my experience in the Czech Republic much easier and more enjoyable.” Joel Thom, University of California-Sacramento, Communications


Film Studies

Hafan animation studio workshop

Undoubtedly the most favorite excursion/workshop for the Film Studies program is HAFAN Studio Animation workshop. They split into groups of approximately 5 students and during one day they learn how to make a traditional animation short film with puppets. Only a couple of minutes of film can be created within the limited time, but all students agree it is definitely worth the experience.

Feedbacks from our students:

 “A great place to explore and helpful to get experience using professional expertize.”

“One of the coolest projects I got to work on!”

“Absolutely wonderful. I'd love to spend a day just watching the animators!”

See one of the outcomes of the Fall 2014 semester below:

Intensive Beginning Czech Language course

CIEE Prague makes sure that even the Intensive Beginning Czech Language course is designed specifically for filmmakers. Vocabulary and phrases learned are often time then used during the production process when Production track students occasionally get Czech actors to cooperate with them (if they choose to make their final film in Czech, subtitled to English). Our Czech teacher Luděk Brouček makes them work with the textbook Film Czech - Survival Czech Course for Students of Film and Photography published by Ilona Kořánová in 2013.

Feedbacks from our students:

 “It really helped with daily life in the Czech Republic and being able to at least try to communicate.”

“This was one of the best and most interactive language courses I have ever taken. We learned so much in such a short period of time.”

“I learned a lot in this course - Luděk is an amazing teacher and I was so impressed by how well he handled the whole class.”

To deepen the student experience, Luděk came up with a special video project: students had to come up with scenarios in which the got to use what they learnt. Again, see some of the results below:


Video blog

CIEE Film studies students are usually strongly motivated individuals with true passion for filmmaking. Therefore they often come up with short independent films during their study abroad experience. Aaron Barnett from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and James Cashman from Seattle University came up with a couple of videos for their CIEE film studies blog - do not forget to checkout previous entries:

Weeks 1-5 by James

Fall 2014 semester has begun by James

Film Studies Overnight trip to Písek: Kašperské hory hike by Aaron

Final films

And last, but definitely not least, - <List names> from <list film name> production gave us a permission to publish their 16mm feature film project they created as their program requirement this term. They managed to shoot this project within 48-72 hours. Enjoy a selection of what we saw on the Final Screening on Thursday, December 18th.



Global Architecture and Design

This semester´s final projects of Global Architecture and Design students explored the island of Štvanice and proposed various ‘‘Amphibious Structures'' for the new festival ground. <insert GAD  Photo Stvanice>  This area with lot of commercial and urban potential became quite isolated and unused over the years. Our students presented new concepts for its future development.

In particular, students focused on opportunities to use the island´s full potential, especially for commercial use. The main focus was on the entertainment aspect of the island´s urban development. Nowadays, festivals are becoming major contributors to local and global economy as they have the ability to revitalize specific urban context and internationally promote the city as a rich-program destination.

Each student was given a specific area which they had to research and present a new idea of its future development. They had to face several challenges. The necessity for self-sufficient public space and infrastructure of future cities, they succeeded to propose a unique typology and technological intervention that can have profound impact not only on local surrounding, but can be applied on any context with similar challenges.

During the three core courses of Global Architecture and Design, the students were taught new technologies, methods and ways of thinking by leading figures of the contemporary scene of Czech architecture in order to successfully complete their special tasks.




CIEE Study Center Prague wishes you Happy Holidays!

PF 2014

CIEE Global Fab Lab - Experimental Fabrication Research

Global Institute Fab Lab - Multi-Format 3D Printing and 3-Axis Milling Machine

 The Global Institute Fab Lab is a key resource of 

Global Architecture and Design and Global Sustainability and Environment,

both of which aim to improve the cities and structures we inhabit through innovative and cutting-edge design and research. To explore and further these ideas, digital fabrication plays a pivotal role not only in the future of design and construction, but in a student’s ability to explore, examine and learn from the potential of their own ideas.

Digital fabrication is a process that merges design and rapid prototyping or production. The Fab Lab uses Rhinocerous and various CAM software to explore the relationship and  capabilities of digital design and real-world production. The process explores advanced geometries and morphologies with exciting implications for the future of design, buildings, and cities. Digital fabrication enables designers to realize more complex design and provides essential training on the systemization and process.Capillarity_one Experiments in Growth-Algorithm-Derived Geometry Additive Manufacture

 Milling one smallExperiments in Subtractive Manufacture (Student Team: Vana Kiork and Anne Chen)

Vacform smallVacuum-Forming Experimental Waterfront Morphologies

 The Global Institute Fab Lab is equipped with a standard woodshop and two 3D printers, including a large-format Gigabot machine – designed to fabricate large-scale (600mm x 600mm x 600mm) models and prototypes, as well as a 3-axis Computer Node Controlled machine, which allows for milling an assortment of material types including woods and soft metals. 3D Printing is a process of additive manufacture, where various materials are layered in a small amount resulting in an object, while milling is a process of subtractive manufacture. The combination having both additive and subtractive manufacturing in one lab enables not only a large range of prototyping options, but the unique ability to combine techniques and explore material properties on a speculative level. Typically students will begin learning on smaller desktop machines and gradually advance to large machines for full-scale prototyping.

Through these processes anyone can learn to make innovative prototypes. These technologies are increasingly affordable and available to small groups and individuals. We believe that these process will be invaluable to future designers, engineers, and makers in general.

The Lab is available for student use 24/7 and students are encouraged to invent explore and play freely, to learn to become tomorrow's innovators!

Fab Lab Training SmallX-Carve 3-Axis Milling //Ultimaker Small-Scale 3D-Printing // Gigabot Large Format 3D-Printing 


 Fluid_Prototype smallHydrodynamic Form Experimentation  (Research by Benjamin James)

 The CIEE Global Institute in Berlin welcomes its first guest researcher Benjamin James. Ben is here to optimize and test equipment in the Global Institute Fab Lab, furthering academic research into the relationships between hydrodynamics, design and fabrication!

Ben is a graduate of UNC Chapel Hill, the Architectural Institute in Prague, and the CIEE Global Architecture and Design Program based in Prague. He is here working on improvements to the existing fabrication machines of CIEE Berlin and testing those machines to prototype a series of experimental furniture designs parametrically derived by fluid dynamics as part of a project called Desén. 

The collaboration is in the spirit of the Global Architecture and Design program which aims to generate new ideas through increased interaction between cultures, students and cities, and it furthers academic study into an innovative new avenue of design: Desén explores what happens to objects as they become deformed and reformed by natural processes. 

Ben is researching what happens when computational fluid dynamic algorithms (typically used in marine and aerospace applications) are applied to furniture forms. The resulting geometry is then subjected to structural testing through finite element analysis software and ultimately prepared for fabrication via a series of slicing softwares and meshing tools designed primarily for architecture and construction. The entire process has been designed to be largely automated using open source software and python scripting, which partially removes the designer from the process of the design. As a result, some geometry is not practical, and the idea goes against some current trends into performative-based architecture parameterisation.

This research raises questions about the boundaries of design between physics, nature, engineering and fabrication. It pushes us to consider new applications of algorithmic thought from disciplines traditionally disconnected with aesthetics.

Ben is using the Fab Lab to experiment with how to realise fluid geometries created through environmental simulation and frozen at a moment in time: understanding how models with no traditional means of fabrication can be transferred from the digital to physical realm – the same problem many students of speculative architecture face. To do this, he has built some new add-ons to the existing equipment (like a vacuum table for the CNC machine and limit switches for the 3D printer) as well as introduced new software and protocols that can be used by students in future semesters.

"This lab offers an incredible opportunity to connect fabrication directly with design - the equipment is spectacular, all open source and very capable. I've been able to make a few improvements both to the hardware and software to facilitate prototyping of the complex geometries I'm working with, and I'm envious of the students that will use this for their academic works, as it has certainly been a catalyst for my research. I would like to sincerely thank the many people who helped set this up, especially Lukas Kronawitter, Chris Tschersich, Marien Zeffel, Martin Gsandtner, and the Global Institute’s Academic Director Martin Kley and Director Cary Nathenson.”

– Ben James (Former CIEE Student and Guest Researcher)

For more information about Ben's Desén project check it out here: www.desen.cz


Global Sustainability and Environment Blog Launch

These student-run academic blog posts are a reflection of experiences and knowledge gained visiting sites and experts in and around Berlin on the Global Sustainability and Environment study abroad program with CIEE. It is an invitation for discussion and platform for knowledge sharing. That's what study abroad is all about!


Energie Berg Excursion Hamburg - Energy Hill captures methane and produces wind energy for the neighboring district


Global Architecture and Design in Berlin

Study Architecture and Design in Berlin


Berlin is a dynamic city, shaped by a unique history, with an unequivocal propensity for growth and change. Berlin has endured two world wars and 30 years of division. But the destruction and separation also unearthed immense opportunity. Since reunification, the city of Berlin has been undergoing one of the most complex urban transformations in the whole of its turbulent history. Prior to reunification, Berlin was defined by starkly contradictory themes of urban development. This legacy resulted in disparate economic, infrastructure, and spatial conditions. Today, Berlin has emerged as a unique cultural hub for both Eastern and Western Europe and is developing into its role as a global city. Berlin lacks the dominant themes found in its European counterparts (Paris, London, or Rome), and is instead characterized by layered architectural history, divergent planning strategies, and checkered density. These conditions have proved fruitful, as community development cultures, sustainable development, and innovative and dynamic uses and spaces have filled in. Celebrated masterpieces by leading architects and innovative public spaces populate former vacancies in the urban morphology. Ongoing development is the subject of healthy debate driving the global discourse in sustainable and socially responsible architecture and planning.


Berlin as a Laboratory

The conditions of the 20th century uniquely position Berlin for experimental urbanism. The cities’ many vacant buildings and spaces are being populated an empowered creative class. Radical adaptive reuse projects range from arts and culture, to local renewable energy generation and research. DIY projects; community built and operated gardens, parks, event spaces, and even occupied settlements have also taken root, functionally changing the practice of public space making.


In Berlin students witness the dynamic, changing urban landscape first hand, but more importantly engage the city, its people and projects, and even make a contribution.Students learn from local practicing architects, urban designers, and planners in coursework that is relevant to the city of Berlin. This coursework is enriched by local and regional architecture tours and community planning workshops, as well as hands-on design-build workshops.


Study Tours

Students are guided through Berlin and the region to internationally celebrated projects including the Reichstag Dome, by Foster and Partners, Federal Chancellery by Schultes Frank Architects, the Holocaust Memorial by Eisenman Architects, Potsdamer Platz planned by Renzo Piano Building Workshop, and many others.


Berlin coursework also engages exciting new projects including the creative housing and culture cooperatives Spreefeld and Holzmarkt, the Tempelhof Airfield Park and site of the Berlin Airlift, the EUREF renewable energy campus, and others.

Students travel to Hamburg and Prague or Barcelona. Visits include the largest construction project in Europe HafenCity and the International Building Exhibition Projects including the Elbpilharmonie by Herzog & De Meuron and BIQ Haus by Splitterwerk and ARUP. Students also travel to Bauhaus in Dessau, and visit other Global AD students in Barcelona or Prague.


Future Cities Studio

Using the city as a laboratory, the studio rethinks what is salubrious about the city, in both its forms and its life. The design investigations are based on one illuminating hypothesis: in the future, cities will grow to be self-sufficient in their critical necessities through public and infrastructural support. The chief directives will be the shrewd intersection between technology and urbanism, especially under the rubric of ecology. It is our supposition that the prospective ecological city is about extreme solutions to an extreme predicament.

This studio examines this emergent urban condition by focusing on those sites that are seen to concentrate spatial, economic, social and cultural experiences to positive effect. It is interested in the new kinds of intensity of urban experience that are stimulated by the interactions of local sites (topographically) and trans-local networks (topologically). It will pay particular attention to the catalytic circumstances or specific conditions of possibility that give rise to new, productive and sustainable forms of urban experience.


 Urban Ecology on the Spree River

The Studio challenges conventional waterfront development and explores the Spree River as a core in a networked constellation of metropolitan and regional ecosystems. The structure, function, and use of the river is expanded and optimized for ecology, amenity, and productivity.


The Spree River has played a critical role in the configuration of Berlin, and presently presents unique opportunities for development. The river dissects the City of Berlin and was to an extent also the walled border between East and West Berlin. Following the reunification of Germany, early 20th century industrial sites along the river received attention for redevelopment.


Oftentimes controversial, these areas have been home to informal social and cultural uses, while at the same time, valued for central location, proximity to the Spree River and unique spatial and industrial character. Current planning impetus favors a pro-development and public or cultural use model, as well as ecological connectivity along the Spree River and canals to increase biodiversity and improve water quality. The studio investigates the waterfront at the former site of the Berlin Wall. Students work on-site at the Spreefeld cooperative, gathering information and inspiration from local residents and professionals.


Studio Method

Urban ecology is defined as the reinterpretation of natural systems and processes in stark urban context. Students learn about these systems in a bottom-up process that begins with scientific and design experimentation.




The studio employs both hands-on as well as technical design and modeling tools including computational design, performance simulation, physical experimentation, and rapid prototyping e.g. 3D printing or vacuum forming.


The process is tailored to local conditions, but can be applied anywhere in the world. The end result is a comparable gallery of exploration in meaningful formal expression and functional design. The experimental process yields provocative results and bold new visions for a sustainable eco-city of the future.






Faces of Innovation: Global AD Summit in Berlin




In November, the CIEE Global Architecture and Design students from Berlin, Barcelona and Prague met in Berlin for three days of intense exploration and exchange of ideas. The Global AD Summit ended with a public symposium on "The Post Carbon City" sponsored by CIEE and TU Berlin.

Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 8.56.34 PMKimberly McDonald, Global AD Berlin, Carnegie Mellon University

"The Global AD Summit in Berlin was a meeting of the minds between the Berlin, Barcelona and Prague students. It was an incredible three-day experience where we all came together and presented our projects to each other. It was absolutely fascinating to see all the differences between the cities and what the program has to offer to each student.

Studying with CIEE in Berlin is amazing because we are experiencing so many opportunities, not only in the city but in the profession itself. From parametric design and digital fabrication to dialogue between working professionals, our professors and other students across Europe – this was a really incredible opportunity."

Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 8.59.36 PMAmy Federman, Global AD Prague, Tulane University

"I chose Global AD in Prague because of the unique city that I didn’t know much about. I like how un-Americanized Prague is. I also like how Global AD enables us collaborate with the three different cities. We get to meet all different students and bounce ideas off each other."

Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 9.00.40 PMRichard May, Global AD Prague, Carnegie Mellon University

“The most challenging part of Global AD has been learning the new software. There is a lot of math and coding involved. Studying in Prague helped me master new scripts and programing language and learn how to implement that into 3D modeling and design.”

Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 8.57.42 PMEdrei Rodriguez, Global AD Berlin, Carnegie Mellon University

"I was always fascinated with German culture and I wanted to see how that relates to architecture. Looking for a program in Germany, I saw that Global Architecture and Design in Berlin incorporates digital and analogue design with the context of the city and its social spaces. Coming here really broadened my horizon. This program is unique in terms of designing for the future."

Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 9.49.17 PMMoire Lawson, Global AD Berlin, Keene State College

"Our project was selected for presentation to the Post Carbon City Symposium at the TU Berlin. It was a real honor to have that privilege and it was a great experience to speak in front of a large audience of academics, professionals and students in Berlin."



Eberhard Elfert Exhibition

This week for our Future Cities Seminar course, we meet with Eberhard Elfert, who gave us a tour to his exhibition that took place in Neu West Berlin a multifaceted contemporary Arts space located in Köpenickerstraße. His exhibition documented the history of spreefeld during the Berlin Wall and focused on the history of cultural spaces, especially clubs during the beginning period of techno music.




  He shared some stories of failure escape from East Berlin to West Berlin, and talked about the drastic changes that happened to the area due to the Berlin Wall and the addition buildings that were built in the area. His main focus of the exhibition is to inform victors about the history of the area that need to be maintained and not destroyed.


 After looking through the exhibition, we walked for a few minutes to Kunstquarter Bethanien one of the odlest cultural and community centers. We had lunch at 3 schwestern and we started a decision about the exhibit. 




 Cohousing- the community is planned, owned, and managed by the residents that live there . 


This week we had the opportunity to have class in the communal space in Spreefeld, which added a fun twist.

Class started as we all sat down on a variety of comfy seating choices to discuss what cohousing meant to us and to reflect on experiences we tie to cohousing.  With this in mind we began the class discuss by stating the involvement we’ve had with cohousing, or lack there of.  The conversations covered everything from individual living experiences from our colleges, such as dorm style living, to the notorious couch surfing.  We all had slightly different takes on what cohousing was and how it intertwined with our lives as young adults but when the discuss came to a near close we reached the conclusion that all cohousing communities have the same fundamental idea; Coming together to create an enjoyable living experience that you can share with others and have an appreciation for the space you call home.


Renewable Cities/ Spree Lunch

This week during Seminar class the idea of Renewable Cities was explored.  The readings of Herbert Girardet were discussed in class while looking at three different city systems that we have seen.


The first layout was that of the Agropolis, which is surrounded by the idea that a city or town is sustained by the resources they have around them as shown in the graphic above.  There are no goods being imported into this city as well. This was often the case in previous ways of living where members of these towns and groups would have to find their materials, food, and any other necessities locally and become more skilled in these searches.


The second layout is of Petropolis, which is where many cities find themselves today. An emphasis is put of fossil fuels and petroleum in order to sustain the city. Also often times, the resources that are consumed in these cities are not naturally grown or produced there, therefore having to be imported from other locations. This city system is highly unsustainable.


The last layout is called Ecopolis, this is a layout in which is able to produce the energy needed for that city (possibly more) while still using local resources. This layout is one of the most sustainable out of the three. However, With this city system you are self renovating, which can indicate that you are providing energy for your headquarters as well as others and are producing much more that you waste. The idea is that to continue living in cities it would not be enough just to be sustainable to also renovate as well.


For the second half of class a restaurant across the Spree was visited. The space was under the current train tracks in on of the arches.  Although, photos within and around the space weren’t allowed, but one can see the general area where the restaurant is located in the image above.  The restaurant serves locals that work in the area usually but are open to new guests. However, the entrance way is a bit hidden so it may be hard to find for a person who hasn’t already been there.  Overall, the space had a very unique setup as well as the possibilities for drinks and a three-course meal. 

Written by: Edrei Rodriguez

Future Cities Seminar – Nordic Embassy/ECO-Houses/EUREF Campus

Recently the Global AD students of Berlin visited quite a few significant locations in relation to the advancement of sustainable, social and experiential architecture; Nordic Embassy, EDO-houses within this surrounding area, as well as the EUREF Campus.


Starting off with the Nordic Embassy we were guided through a tour within the building complex. This is the location where the embassies for Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Sweden comprising the site of 6 buildings (5 of them being of these countries.) Although, more traditional forms are usually used to design these buildings our tour guide was happy to note the exceptions within these cases.


From the whole chiseling out of the side of a mountain, to the light qualities and ‘organic’ quality as stated by the guide found in another building, these designs are far from traditional. They use distinct materiality in order to draw the light into the space making the room feel more voluminous. The bridges between thresholds on this specific case allows for informal interactions instead of just secluding personal by rank.


 In turn the exterior is also framed, with these six buildings surrounding a rather large courtyard that allows a glimpse of each building as well as their Key features.


Keeping a similar theme about engaging to users of the space we had a tour of the surrounding neighborhoods looking into the development of ECO-Houses. For these complexes the architect envisioned a community where the infrastructure could be designed, while each person could individually designed their own space within the overall fabric. This came to be a lot more difficult than anticipated due to the loads the main structural framework would have to bare, but in return produced really diverse architecture in one space.


After these visits we saw the EUREF Campus and spoke to a tour guide about their hopes and vision for a more sustainable future.  What once used to be a place to store gas is slowly being transformed into a campus with more sustainable structures with interactive intelligent facades. Numerous amounts of companies have already begun to work here sharing the same goal for a brighter and better future with renewable energy.

Images: Edrei Rodriguez, Yasmen Ezat-Agha, and Lindsay Girardeau, Online sources.  

Written by: Edrei Rodriguez

Fall 2014, Issue II


Extracurricular programs

One of the goals of CIEE Study Center in Prague is to provide its students with as many opportunities as possible to get immersed in the Czech society. These immersion projects are organized in cooperation with local students and families who have a strong interest in the American culture. Two examples of these successful projects are Tandems and Meet Czech Families.


One of the extracurricular programs that our students can join is Tandems. This program started in Fall 2011 and it grew out of one of our programs One on One Teaching.

For tandems, students of all programs can sign up during orientation or at the Expo. (Expo is an extracurricular fair that is held during one afternoon of the second week of the intensive Czech language. This afternoon is dedicated to all extracurricular opportunities that students can join.)


How does it work?

 At the “tandem gathering”, held at a local pub, CIEE invites local people interested in tandems. The tandem gathering is a lot of fun! It is done in the style of speed dating so everyone gets to talk to each person for a couple of minutes. Students then turn in a sheet at the end with a few preferences for tandem partners listed. CIEE then matches students up based on this and they receive their partner contact information by email.

It is expected that students spend about 30 percent of the meeting talking/practicing Czech, the rest can be done in English.

If students would like to receive up to 10% extra credit towards their Czech language grade, they meet at least 4x during the semester with their tandem partner and turn in a JOURNAL or ESSAY to CIEE by the end of semester. If not, they can just enjoy the tandem.

What do our students say?

“I gained a really close Czech friend. She is my closest Czech friend. I also got to see cool places that are actually where Czech people go. She helped me avoid tourist traps. She was great! I feel like we had a lot in common and we got along extremely well. This was one of my favorite parts about CIEE.”

“I gained a new Czech friend! I learned a lot about the differences in teenage culture and also about differences in what our families do for holidays.”


Meet Czech Families

Another program that we offer for our students is Meet Czech Families. CIEE cooperates with several Czech families who are interested in meeting people from other cultures! Meeting local people is an important part of our students´ stay if they want to be more than just a tourist but may be too difficult to do on their own. Family plays an important part in the lives of Czech people and it is quite hard to penetrate the Czech culture without experiencing the family life. Family visits are a great opportunity for Czech kids to meet someone from a different culture and for the adults to show you a piece of their culture. Entering a Czech household and being part of a Czech family is an opportunity that many non-Czechs wish to have.

Students can sign up during orientation or at the Expo. Students who are interested in this program fill in a motivation letter, so do all the families. Then, they are matched up by CIEE based on their preferences.

 What do our students say?

 “Meeting with a Czech family was one of the most worthwhile experiences I had in Prague. Getting to know a family from a different background (cultural, political, socioeconomic, spiritual) gave me a real idea what the „Czech“ perspective is. Not to mention IT WAS A BLAST! It was like having younger brothers all over again. The best part of spending time with my family was that they walked me home, with their dog, after every visit. They also cooked dinner for me every time I visited. I would like to give everyone one piece of advice, DON’T BE AFRAID TO CALL THE FAMILIES. These families are waiting for your call and are filled to the brim with excitement to meet you.”

“Well, my start of Czech family program was same as everyone: I called and made appointment and then Zuzana gave me a map and directions. I brought flower, and felt a bit nervous before ringing the bell, but the fear soon disappeared after huge smile & cookies welcomed me:). We talked general things such as "why you chose Czech Republic" "what is the population of Tokyo" "What Czech food did you eat ", etc. and it was so much fun because they (mother and 10years old boy) can’t speak English well therefore we used a lot of body language, guessing, simple words such as 'good' or 'bad' which I knew in Czech, so no matter what topic we were talking, it became an "achievement" and we felt satisfied when we reached conclusion.”

“My family visited them when they came to Prague, it was amazing to see my mom talking with my Czech mother, dad with Czech grandpa, and all of the people ate my grandma's special dishes.”

Experience of a Czech family:

Dear CIEE,

Meeting with CIEE students is a very pleasent and useful activity. I have welcomed the possibility to hear native speakers again and to be able to improve my verbal skills. My student spoke slower taking into

 “Meeting with a Czech family was one of the most worthwhile experiences I had in Prague. Getting to know a family from a different background (cultural, political, socioeconomic, spiritual) gave me a real idea what the „Czech“ perspective is. Not to mention IT WAS A BLAST! It was like having younger brothers all over again. The best part of spending time with my family was that they walked me home, with their dog, after every visit. They also cooked dinner for me every time I visited. I would like to give everyone one piece of advice, DON’T BE AFRAID TO CALL THE FAMILIES. These families are waiting for your call and are filled to the brim with excitement to meet you.”

“Well, my start of Czech family program was same as everyone: I called and made appointment and then Zuzana gave me a map and directions. I brought flower, and felt a bit nervous before ringing the bell, but the fear soon disappeared after huge smile & cookies welcomed me:). We talked general things such as "why you chose Czech Republic" "what is the population of Tokyo" "What Czech food did you eat ", etc. and it was so much fun because they (mother and 10years old boy) can’t speak English well therefore we used a lot of body language, guessing, simple words such as 'good' or 'bad' which I knew in Czech, so no matter what topic we were talking, it became an "achievement" and we felt satisfied when we reached conclusion.”

“My family visited them when they came to Prague, it was amazing to see my mom talking with my Czech mother, dad with Czech grandpa, and all of the people ate my grandma's special dishes.”

Experience of a Czech family:

Dear CIEE,

Meeting with CIEE students is a very pleasent and useful activity. I have welcomed the possibility to hear native speakers again and to be able to improve my verbal skills. My student spoke slower taking into consideration my ability to understand each word. Through discussion with her, I also found out many things from life of Americans, quite a bit of American facts and, I believe, that she also found out some details about life in the Czech Republic. I was not bored at any of our activities. Both sided exchange of experiences was very interesting. I would like to thank CIEE for this chance.

I am again interested in this program next semester. I consider meeting of people from other countries beneficial. Thank you for everything.

This is translation from feedback email to CIEE on the Czech Families program….

Future Cities Seminar - D.Collective + Tempelhof

This week for our Future Cities Seminar course, we had both a little visit and a big tour. We first stopped to rent some bikes to aid us on our adventure through Tempelhofer Feld, but first stopped at a small, co-working space – D.Collective.



D.Collective is a flexible workspace meant for design thinkers and collaborative workers wanting to come together and support each other’s projects through team efforts and more creative approaches, as opposed to a traditional work environment.

We had a mini-tour of this super cool “office” lead by some super cool ladies – Nathalia and Eva – who explained how their transformable workspace allows for a do-it-together approach to startups, projects, and ideas. By working this way, everyone involved in D.Collective has a chance to support one another through leadership and trust while accomplishing their own personal goals.





Now we’re all terrified excited to get on our bikes for a tour of Berlin’s largest public park – Tempelhofer Feld.



Tempelhof was one of the world’s largest airports originally constructed in the 1920s. Originally its grounds were a Prussian military parade and gathering area but went on to become an airlift for several military occupants throughout WWII and the Cold War. Eventually it became an international airport that was closed in October of 2008. Tempelhof Airport officially opened as Tempelhofer Feld in May of 2010 with over 200,000 participants celebrating its use as public space.




This is a massive park, but definitely not empty by any means. Even though our tour was on a Wednesday morning there were quite a few people riding bikes, running, playing, and enjoying their time all throughout Tempelhofer’s grounds and it’s two parallel runways. Just by looking around it’s obvious that this is a place much-loved by the people who frequent it. Urban community gardens (locals can grow their own veggies!), a food and drink stand, a BBQ area, a skate park, and mini dog parks are some of the main attractions. From sunrise to sunset, Berliners can enjoy everything there.






Both D.Collective and Tempelhofer Feld were great examples of how Berliners are getting together to accomplish goals both large and small.





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