Voices from Abroad
Czeching Out Europe
— February 4, 2016 by Zichong Peng
Undergraduate student Zichong Peng blogs about his experience studying abroad in Prague.
My name is Zichong Peng, and I am a sophomore studying Finance and Management at NYU Stern. I am currently studying abroad at NYU Prague and will be blogging about my numerous adventures in Europe. I have never been to Europe before, and I am really excited to see all that Prague and the rest of Europe have to offer.
I have been in Prague for just over a week now, and it has already been a huge adventure. While I was flying into Prague, my connecting flight from Frankfurt, Germany to Prague was delayed because of snowy conditions. When I finally got to Prague, it was late, and, unfortunately, I was stuck smack dab in the middle of the van that took us from the airport to our dorms. So I didn’t really get to see Prague until the next morning when I woke up. The view from my dorm was breathtaking – the buildings and the ground were beautifully covered in a blanket of fresh snow.
The first week at NYU Prague consisted of orientation, where we learned enough Czech to (hopefully) get by in the city, and learned the most important elements of the extensive and complicated history of the Czech Republic. The campus at NYU Prague consists of two buildings situated a few minutes away from the Old Town Square, one of the oldest and most important historical squares in all of Prague. Although the classrooms in the UC and LC of Stern are great, I love being able to look out the window of my classrooms and see the vibrant and lively city outside.
What’s really great about studying abroad is the opportunity to immerse yourself in another country’s culture, and NYU Prague tries to make that process as easy as possible. For example, during orientation week, I had the opportunity to see the Czech Philharmonic perform. I played piano for over 10 years, and hearing the philharmonic play brought out the music nerd in me. The concert master was an extremely talented Czech violinist named Josef Špaček who was named one of the most influential “30 under 30” people of the Czech Republic’s edition of Forbes Magazine!
NYU Prague also offered walking tours of Prague, and I went on one that explored the most important landmarks of Prague, such as the Old Town Square, the Charles Bridge and Prague Castle (which offered a great bird's-eye view of Prague). The second tour I went on focused on the Art Nouveau and Cubism movements that can be seen through Czech architecture. From both these tours, I saw that Prague uniquely featured architecture from many different styles right next to each other. In the Old Town Square alone, there were buildings built in the Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque styles.
The professors here really encourage students to travel, and I can’t wait to begin traveling throughout Europe! This weekend, I am planning a trip to Budapest. I’m excited for all the new adventures and experiences this semester has in store for me! Stay tuned for more updates!