So I know it’s been a long time coming, but I’ve finally got a few of my pictures on to my laptop so here they are, ready and waiting for you to gaze upon them.
Here’s a couple pictures of my room. I share it with my roommate from American University. I know it doesn’t look like much but it’s actually really spacious and, even though I do admit that I was unsure of it when I first arrived, I’ve come to feel pretty comfortable here. We’re not allowed to stick anything to the walls just in case we damage the paint but we’re planning on tying clothesline so that it hangs from the ceiling and then potentially hanging some pictures, posters, or fabric to make the place feel more homey. We’re even planning on adding a rug. Another benefit of where we’re living is that we’re super close to everything – we’re definitely well within walking distance of many of Prague’s most popular locations – and it definitely pays off. We don’t have to worry about taking the tram most of the time most of the time and we can leave later than the other students – who are in an apartment farther away – and still arrive at our destination on time. So really there are a lot of perks to living where we do. I just had to get past my American expectations and see this room as it was.
This is a picture of Prague’s Old Town Square. In order to explain this picture, I have to go back to Sunday when I actually took this photo. All of the kids in the film program that I am a part of were split up into groups and given a list of things and places to find and take pictures of – basically sent on a scavenger hunt – with about five hours to complete it. We walked all around Prague and ended up in Old Town in order to take a picture of the famous astronomical clock there. I actually have a nice picture of it but I was having trouble posting it so here’s a picture of some living statues instead. They were in the square too and had a tendency to either squeak at you or move just as you passed them to scare the living daylights out of you.
And here is a picture of my aforementioned scavenger hunt group. We didn’t adhere to strictly to the list and instead ended up just exploring the city for the most part but it was fun and I got to know a lot of the other students really well. My advice to anyone participating in this kind of activity is to do like we did. Maybe your group won’t be as easy-going as ours was but either way it’s good to recognize an activity for what it was – an icebreaker assignment and opportunity to get to know our city – rather than become competitive and narrow your focus so that all you’re thinking about is winning. If that works for you then be my guest but I definitely appreciated the slow pace and good conversation that allowed me to really absorb my surroundings.
But enough catching up. What I really wanted to write about in this post pertained to the more academic side of this program. This week we’ve started classes. Well really we started one class, Intensive Czech, which we’ll be taking for the rest of this week for three hours each day. This is only the beginning of the work load that we’ll have to deal with, but it reminded me of some helpful school tips that might help you guys back home now that class is officially back in session.
One of the tips that has helped me out the most is to do homework immediately. This may be right after class ends or whenever your clubs and extracurriculars end but doing your homework as soon as you get home has been so helpful, both at home and abroad. For one thing, doing your homework as soon as possible means that you’re still in a productive mindset and are more likely to focus on and complete your task. For another, finishing your homework early on gives you time to laze around and unwind later on, which can be especially useful when you’re trying to go to bed and get some semblance of sleep. Depending on the day, my classes are either going to end at 12 or at 5 for this entire week and I’ve found that it’s just better if I get that kind of crap over and done with as soon as possible rather than waiting.
Another is to have all of homework assignments written down in one place. This may seem obvious but I’ve been in class for two days and already I’m seeing other students forgo their agenda in favor of writing down assignments in separate notebooks, on scraps of paper, or just committing them to memory. We have agendas for a reason people – they’re neat and organized and keep you neat and organized as well. And when it comes to school, organization is key.
Lastly, review review review. I know nobody wants to go through the torture of a lecture a second time but honestly it’s probably the easiest way to commit something to memory that I know of. If you want to keep information in your memory, make sure that you just take some time to look it over every day. For example, I’m learning Czech right now. It’s a crazy hard language and counter-intuitive in some parts for an English speaker but I’m making sure to use some of the new words I learn everyday. It definitely helps me to retain that information to be using it when I’m out at restaurants or on the street or just talking to my Czech buddy – who constantly corrects my pronunciation. But the same can be said of math or English or history. Just taking a few minutes to look over the day’s lesson and connect it to what you’ve already learned will almost always guarantee you an A on the final exam.
But those are just some of the tips that were fresh in my mind after being away from the classroom for so long. I hope they can be just as helpful to you as they’ve been to me.
Tak zatím, or as we say in English: See you later!