Meet NYU Prague Global Ambassador, Jasmine W.!

Throughout the semester, you will have the opportunity to hear from NYU Prague alumni to gain their firsthand insight and tips.

Today, meet Jasmine W., who studied in Prague in Fall 2015.

Jasmine
Major:
Music Business

What advice would you give about housing?  Housing was great besides sometime the internet was not too stable.

What is your favorite memory about your time abroad? All the travel I did and how beautiful Europe is.

What was the most interesting course you took and why?  The most interesting course I took was Russia and East Central Europe. Firstly, I have never anticipated that the Russian History can ever be so interesting and I really appreciate that I can actually relate to what I learn in class when I travel.

What two things do you wish you had packed?  I should have packed winter boots/ rain boots because I didn’t know that Prague would be so cold. Also I should have packed some shorts because at the start of semester it was actually quite hot.

What do you miss the most? I miss my professors the most!

 

Summer Blog Schedule – Every Other Week

Now that it is almost officially summer (or at least according to the academic calendar), blog posts will be reduced to every other week leading up to your departure in August. The posts might be less frequent, but they will still be full of important information about things like upcoming deadlines, academic updates, and housing placements so make sure you stay on top of them!

Our office will stay open all summer during regular office hours, Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm EDT.  If I’m going to be out of the office for any extended period of time (we take vacations too!) I’ll give you fair warning in advance, but you can always call the main line for help: +1 212-998-4433.

Visiting Students: NYU Email ONLY!

After today, May 19, we’ll be emailing all correspondence, including blog updates, to your NYU Email account ONLY. Please make sure you have activated it so you receive important communications such as your ebill and visa instructions!

It’s easy to do: see here for details, including how to set up mail forwarding so messages sent to your NYU Email address also go directly to the email address of your choice.

About the Staff

We are all looking forward to having you come to Prague this fall. When we ask our students what they like about NYU Prague, they often tell us that it’s the sense of community and the opportunity to get to know our staff. Below you can read a bit about us!

Jiri Pehe

Jiri Pehe has been the Director of NYU Prague since 1998.  He was the Director of the Political Department of the Czech President Václav Havel from 1997 to 1999.  He studied law and philosophy at Charles University in Prague and received a doctorate in law.  He fled Czechoslovakia in 1981 and eventually settled in the U.S.A. where he graduated from the School of International Affairs at Columbia University in New York.  He is a regular contributor to various Czech newspapers and regularly comments on political developments for international media. He has written several books about the political situation in post-Communist countries, and has also written several novels.

Thea FavaloroThea Favaloro (Associate Director of NYU Prague) has worked at NYU Prague since it opened its doors to students in 1998, and she has worked in all aspects of the organization.  Born in San Francisco and raised in upstate New York, Thea considers herself lucky to call Prague her adopted home.  She is currently working on her PhD. in history at Charles University. She enjoys reading, running and mushroom picking in Czech forests.

 

Vanda ThorneVanda Thorne (Assistant Director for Academic Affairs) has been teaching sociology courses at NYU Prague for the last 14 years.  Last year, she joined our administrative staff last year to further develop the excellence of our academic program.  Vanda has been nurturing several new programs at NYU Prague, including an exciting partnership with a nonprofit organization dedicated to archiving and publicizing the stories of former political prisoners. Vanda received her Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh, as well as an M.A. in Gender and Culture from the Central European University in Budapest, Hungary and an M.A. in English and American Literature from Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic.

 

Martina FaltovaMartina Faltova (Assistant Director for Student Life) first became acquainted with NYU when she came to New York to work as an au pair for the children of the late NYU Professor Tony Judt. Now she is our Assistant Director of Student Life and working on on-site orientation, housing, health, wellness and much more.  She loves travelling and has worked at the NYU Global offices in New York and Madrid.

 

Sarah CoffeySarah Coffey (Program Coordinator, Music Program) is a native of the UK who moved to New York when she was a teenager. Now she’s happy to be back in Europe, and loves Prague – especially the music scene – she’s a member of a professional choir and teaches piano on the side.  Sarah also runs our Kulturama-Praha program which helps our students learn about European culture through culture and the arts!

 

Darima BatorovaIf you will live in Osadni dorm, you will get to know Darima Batorova (Bulidng Manager, Osadni) very well! Darima is from Buryatia in Siberia – close to Lake Baikal. She came to Prague to go to Charles University and is now working on her PhD. She loves gardening, and launched a fantastic urban garden in our Osadni dorm!

 

Marketa HelbrantovaMarketa Helebrantova  is the Facilties Manager of the Slezska Dorm. Before working at NYU, Marketa spent several years on the road as a dancer with one of Prague’s theatres. She is still closely connected to the contemporary dance world and has coordinated dance workshops for NYU Prague students.

 

Kristyna CermakovaKristyna Cermakova  (Facilities Manager, Machova Dorm) has been living with NYU Prague students since 2011, when she started as an RA.  Tyna loves organizing trips – especially sports-related trips, such as hiking up the Czech Republic’s highest mountains, and cultural exchange trips where students stay overnight with Czech families.  She is an avid participant in Czech orienteering competitions – navigating her way through forests and fields – as well as a singer and love of Czech folk dancing.

 

Dr. Desiree Gonzales Désirée Gonzalo is our global counselor. She is a clinical psychologist and her main role is in providing students with assessment and treatment for mental health difficulties. Désirée, originally from Spain, studied in the UK, and has worked with university students in the UK and the Czech Republic. She enjoys helping students to gain the self-knowledge, insight and confidence they need to reach their potential in life.

 

Maria Dzurnakova Maria Skripenova (Facilities Manager, Academic Center) has been coming to NYU Prague since she was a student at the Prague Economics University.  She has worked for us as an RA, Facilities Manager of the Osadni Dorm, and now is working on campus.  She plays the violin and loves sports.

 

Lenka VavruskovaLenka Vavruskova (librarian) started working at NYU Prague in 2005 and set up a system to catalogue the 10,000 books and films in our collection.  She spends her spare time gardening and being with her three grandchildren.

 

Jan HovorkaJan Hovorka–known by everyone on campus as Honza–started out at NYU Prague as an RA in the Machova dorm in 2005. He’s now the IT Manager at NYU Prague.  Honza acquired a love of basketball when he spent a year abroad as a high school student in Louisiana, and he’s spent a lot of time shooting hoops with our students when he’s not figuring out how to bring the latest technology into buildings with Renaissance ceilings and Gothic doorway.

Passport Upload Fixed

The passport upload, managed by OGS, is now functional again.  If you have not already done so, please upload a copy of your passport via this link. If you have already uploaded a copy of your passport using the above link or emailed us a copy, you do not need to complete this step again.

If you have yet to complete the Student Information Form, please complete this step as well.  Note that both the Passport Upload and the Student Information Form are PAST DUE!

OGS will be contacting students who have not completed these steps, as they are vital to ensuring your immigration progress is on track.  To avoid receiving these emails, please complete the above steps as soon as possible.

Visa Application Receipt Number

If you have submitted your visa application to the Czech Consulate, please send your receipt number to OGS using this form. As a reminder, this Visa Status Survey is sent out to students on a rolling basis (depending on when you completed the Student Information Form and Passport Upload). If you have already submitted your application but have not yet received the form directly, you are still eligible to complete it using the link above.

Planning Ahead: Preparing Your Family for Your Time Away

You may be the first to study abroad in your family, or you simply have people who care and worry about you. Consider sharing this article with family and friends!  The below quote provides initial context, but please see the full article for valuable pieces of practical advice.

“As a parent, your kids expect you to worry. You expect you to worry. Worrying, to an extent, is healthy. But it’s equally important to have realistic concerns and try to mitigate them as much as possible through knowledge and planning.”

Top Security Tips for Students

During your study away experience, please note that your safety is our top priority.

Upon arrival, you will hear from NYU Prague staff about safely navigating the semester away – you will receive 24 hour emergency numbers, tips about the city, and a better understanding of the facilities in your home away from home.  We are there to support you throughout the entire process.  Help us keep you safe by keeping these initial tips in mind:

  1. Have a cell phone that works locally.  Ensure to update your Albert account with this information, share with local site staff, and also share with your family back home.
  2. Add an emergency contact to the Study Away Confirmation Portal
  3. Keep the NYU Prague site staff informed of your independent travel and always register trips in NYU Traveler prior to out-of-town travel. Additionally, let your roommates and RA know of any traveling that you plan to do.
  4. Do not travel alone. Do not walk alone at night. Do not take a taxi alone and especially not at night.
  5. Avoid underage and excessive alcohol consumption.  Know your limits! Students’ with impaired judgement are more likely to be victims of a crime or injury.
  6. Always obey the local laws.  All students are expected to respect the culture, customs, and laws of the host nation as indicated in the study away standard.
  7. Do not leave your bags or belongings unattended at any time.  Be conscientious of keeping your wallets, cell phones, laptops and other valuables with you. These are the types of property that are commonly reported stolen.
  8. Avoid traveling in poorly maintained vehicles. Inquire about the safety records of different bus companies. When taking a taxi only use those that are licensed and always sit in the back seat.
  9. Never keep all of your documents and money in one place or one suitcase.
  10. If you find yourself in uncomfortable surroundings, try to act like you know what you are doing and where you are going.
  11. In your residence, always close and lock your door even if you leave for just a minute.  Insist your roommate(s) do the same.  Establish rules with your roommate(s) regarding visitors.
  12. Have sufficient funds or a credit card on hand to purchase emergency items such as an airline ticket.
  13. Be alert to your surroundings and the people with whom you have contact. Be wary of people who seem overly friendly or overly interested in you. Be cautious when you meet new people, and do not give out your address or phone number. Be careful with information about other students or group events. Be alert to anyone who might appear to be following you, and to any unusual activity around your place of residence or classroom. Report any unusual people or activities to on-site staff immediately.
  14. Exercise good judgment about what places to frequent during the day and at night, and avoid being on the street at late hours more than necessary.
  15. Do not flash money or documents in public places. Avoid carrying large sums of cash —  keep small bills in your pocket and use them whenever possible to pay for things. Be discrete in displaying your passport.  Keep in mind the best time to use ATMs is during the daylight hours. Use bank affiliated ATMs whenever possible.
  16. Do not carry weapons.  Something as simple as a pocket knife can result in a serious weapon charge while on foreign soil.
  17. Be aware of pickpocket situations — crowded areas e.g. subways. Carry wallets and cell phones in the front pants pocket, or use bags, pocketbooks etc. that zipper well; keep pocketbooks on your lap when in restaurants etc. Avoid the backs of chairs or under the table, carry your bag close to your body, tucked in the bend of your elbow. Avoid bags that clasp or snap shut, zippered bags are preferable.
  18. Use your street smarts and be aware of your surroundings.

Introducing Your Student Senators Council Site Ambassador

The Student Senators Council at NYU has selected a group of your peers studying away in the fall of 2016 as student representatives who will work to improve student life across NYU’s Global Network University.  Known as your Site Ambassadors, they will act as a general liaison between students at your site and global programs initiatives in Abu Dhabi, New York, or Shanghai.

Without further ado, we would like to introduce Angela Lin.

 

My name is Angela Lin and to be honest, I can’t pinpoint a geographical location as to where I am from. I grew up in Taiwan, but also lived briefly in California and China, before moving to Paris for my freshmen year with NYU. I am currently majoring in Media, Culture, and Communications with a minor in French and Education. I will be studying abroad in Prague during the Fall semester of 2016 and I am excited to assist in any way possible to make fellow study abroad students transition smoothly into a new culture. Having traveled extensively across Europe, I believe I can provide insightful tips and advices during our semester abroad. As a Site Ambassador, I hope to actively participate and listen to my peers in order to make our study abroad experience memorable. Looking forward to embark on this adventure!

 

About NYU Prague Faculty

Former students often say that what they like about NYU Prague is how accessible and dedicated the professors are – many of whom are members of government, leading musicians and working journalists. It is indeed these connections that give them the ability to provide unique insights about the most pressing topics of the day.

How do Europeans and Americans see each other? Students in the class European American Relations in the 21st Centurylearn about the complexities of the European migrant crisis and other issues with the former Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs Josef Zieleniec. The class Imagining America, Imagining Europe, American Literature from a European Perspective with Hana Ulmanova – a regular broadcaster on Czech public radio – gives students an inside view on how Europeans view the USA through stories and literature.

Several of our professors teach classes that explore the legacy of Communism – including Monika MacDonagh Pajerova (Civil Resistance in Central and Eastern Europe), Vanda Thorne (Collective Identity in a Totalitarian Regime), and Jan Urban (Modern Dissent in Europe). They have started to work in close cooperation with a non-profit called Political Prisoners, archiving the atrocities committed by the Communist regime and visiting uranium mines where prisoners were forced to work.

Jeremy Druker (Social Media Networking) runs a Prague-based organization that supports international journalists working in regimes that do not support a free media. NYU Prague marketing students from Hana Huntova’s class helped shape the campaign, even coming up with its name “Press Start.”

Our music students work with some of the most famous Czech musicians. Students in Michal Rataj’s Electroacoustic Composition class always create fascinating pieces inspired by local sounds and even history and culture of this region. At the end of the semester, music students also perform with their professors at the Gala event in some of Prague’s most prestigious music

The city is your classroom for many of our courses.  Professors often take students on field trips, visiting 1000 year old churches, going to the Czech Supreme Court or playing on Baroque historic instruments.