Fairy Houses, Sandstones, and Ice Cream

During my time abroad I am not only preparing for my time as a Fulbright ETA by taking a TEFL class, I am also working in Prague as an In-Country Program Assistant for Charles University – in short I am a New Paltz representative in the ECES office and I assist the staff on various excursions throughout the Czech Republic. Getting the opportunity to work in the ECES office has been really great. From being a student at Charles, to then working on the New Paltz end of the program in the study abroad office, to now working in the Charles University study abroad office has only once again proven to me how much study abroad has shaped my life for the better. It has been very interesting and exciting for me to work in a foreign office setting. Somethings are exactly the same, but I have also learned so much more about what it means to work internationally. This experience has opened up so many new ideas about where I can take my career as an educator and I am so, so grateful for that.

 

This experience has also brought me on some pretty great excursions throughout the Czech Republic. This past weekend we went on a hiking trip through the Bohemian Paradise in Cesky Raj. A Czech university student who comes from this part of the country lead the day and it was fantastic. We hiked through the Sandstone City, I had no idea how diverse the Czech countryside was before this weekend. It was a really nice break from life in the city. Spending the past four years in New Paltz and being a big hiker my entire life city life is definitely an adjustment and this past weekend I remembered how much I missed spending days hiking around and just walking with no buildings or streets by my side.

 

We saw people mushrooming, the number one sport in the country, we built fairy houses, and stopped by a local ice cream shop. I had remembered hearing about mushrooming from the last time I was in CR, but I had never seen it in action. People actually walk around with baskets and pick mushrooms, ALL DAY! The Czech girl leading us around got very excited about this and ecstatic when she would find a mushroom herself. She actually ended up finding quite a lot and on our hike we stopped by her house, her mom fried them up, and we all had some lovely, fresh, fried, Czech mushrooms – the perfect hiking snack. She then had us pair up and have a fairy house competition. Apparently this is something people knew about from their childhood, but I had never done this – I loved it. I am doing this whenever I go hiking from now on. All in all it was a wonderful weekend roaming about the Czech countryside. Breathing some fresh crisp autumn air, fresh mushrooms, and climbing through the sandstone formations was a real retreat from Praha.

apple picking

apple picking

mushrooms

mushrooms

fairy houses

fairy houses

cesky raj

cesky raj

IMG_8584

sandstone city

My name is Kelly and I am a recent graduate of SUNY New Paltz. I have my bachelors in Secondary Education and English and during my time as an undergrad I spent a semester studying abroad in Prague, Czech Republic. I enjoyed living in Prague so I have decided to come back for a little while. I will be living in Prague for the next 3 and half months during which I will be taking a TEFL course (teaching english as a foreign language) to prepare myself for my next adventure. Upon graduating New Paltz I received a Fulbright scholarship to teach in Malaysia for 2015. When I leave Prague in December I will be headed to Malaysia and will be a teaching assistant in an English class. I have been traveling to other countries since I was 15 years old and I guess you could say I’ve been bit hard by the travel bug. =)

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