Prague study abroad program is a low-cost option for music students interested in traveling to Europe

Church of Our Lady before Týn towers over Prague at sunset
in January 2019. Lauren J. Mapp

Students who are both interested in learning about music and traveling during their summer break can merge those two goals by studying abroad through the Music and Culture in Prague program next summer.

Led by San Diego State artist-in-residence Yale Strom, the 2019 program will be the second time that it has been available, faculty-led study abroad adviser Amanda Chamberlain from the Department of Extended Studies said.

During this study abroad trip, students can take music and culture either as an anthropology course to fulfill their cultural diversity or humanities requirement or as a general studies course to fulfill just their humanities requirement, according to the online brochure.

Since the classes fulfill general education requirements, any student on campus is potentially eligible to participate in this program, Chamberlain said.

“It does focus on the history of music in Prague,” Chamberlain said. “(Strom) is very passionate about that topic, particularly Jewish music and things like that, which you might not always learn about.”

Compared to other destinations in Europe, Prague tends to be a more affordable city for students, SDSU study abroad ​assistant director Inemesit Williams said.

“It’s known to be a very low-cost place to go, so people like that,” Williams said. “It’s also in a region that allows them to explore parts of Europe that are lesser explored by most U.S. travelers or study abroad participants, and most of those parts are also lower cost.”

After being accepted to this program, students will receive the Marie Hornik Scholarship for Study Abroad in the Czech Republic, according to the online brochure.

Programs through the College of Extended Studies differ slightly from other study abroad programs at SDSU.

In addition to being short-term programs during winter, spring and summer break, faculty-led programs are comprised of SDSU classes taught by college faculty. Because of this, students who choose this study abroad option do not have to worry about whether or not their classes will count toward graduation.

“You get to take an actual SDSU course with an actual SDSU professor, you’re just taking that course in another country,” Chamberlain said. “You’re able to complete a course in a much shorter amount of time.”

Through programs such as Music and Culture in Prague, students can interact and engage with their professors more than they typically due while in San Diego, Chamberlain said.

“I think the other nice thing about faculty-led programs is you really get to build a closer relationship to the faculty on campus,” Chamberlain said. “Particularly with a lot of undergrad classes, you’re in really large courses with hundreds of students. This is a good opportunity to be in a smaller program, take it on a smaller scale and potentially build a great relationship with faculty.”

Those who might be nervous about studying abroad may benefit from having the chance to travel with other SDSU students in a well-organized, structured trip, Chamberlain said.

“A lot of times how the actual course works is in the morning, you might have lectures with your professors,” Chamberlain said. “Then in the afternoon, you’re going on a company visit or a cultural excursion that’s related to you program. It’s a much more hands-on way of learning than doing something in a classroom.

Permissible participants in this trip include SDSU students, those who are not currently enrolled at a university and college students from other universities. The minimum GPA for this program is 2.0 and students must be over 18 to attend, according to the brochure.

The deadline to apply for this and other study abroad summer programs through the College of Extended Studies is March 15, Chamberlain said.

This story was first published in The Daily Aztec on Oct. 10, 2018.


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