When I started researching this piece, I was initially pessimistic about what courses would be available in English. Sure, I expected to find university courses, but what about dance, photography, or ceramics? Surprisingly, you’ll find courses taught in English for a wide range of interests. Here’s a just a sample.
Setting the Tongue Free
Since you live in the Czech Republic, you might consider learning the local language. Charles University runs a number of programs which promise either basic communication or something more advanced. The courses can be intensive or over the course of a year. There is even the possibility for private tuition. Beginners are usually placed in groups with students who have the same mother tongue. As people progress, the groups become mixed. Group sizes are usually between ten and twelve.
Based on a lesson I observed, the methodology is modern and communicative, with a focus on what you need to know and with an emphasis on getting students to speak together. The university also runs a literature club, film club, and drama club to help students get more in touch with the local culture. Apart from Charles University, there are many more language schools offering Czech courses.
Nor are you limited to Czech. You can consider German at the Goethe Institute (in Czech), French at Institut Français de Prague, or Spanish at Instituto Cervantes. All the centers teach in an immersion method, so the target language is the only language used in class. Representatives from the institutes said their courses were suitable for beginners.
If you are interested in learning a language other than those above, you could try the O’Key School. The school offers Russian, Turkish, Japanese, and Chinese, though availability of the latter two is subject to demand. Class sizes are usually three to six, and the school also teaches in the target language.
Though all the schools favor using the target language in class, it is possible to speak with staff in English.
Finding Your Voice
Maybe you’ve considered putting your voice to another use than speaking; in that case, the Prague Choir could be worth checking out. They’re currently auditioning for the new season, and according to choirmaster Brendan Coleman, the choir is a mixed group with people of different levels of experience. Coleman described the choir as a lot of fun, with opportunities for socializing along with the singing practice.
Lights, Camera, Action
Given the Czech Republic’s history of film, it should be no surprise that people come here to study film as well. If you’ve ever entertained the idea of getting into film but don’t have the time to commit to a full program, FAMU (Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts) offers a one year non-degree program.
The Prague Film School is another possibility for those who want to get into film. They offer 4-week intensive courses from June to August. Each year, about ten films produced by students are in circulation at festivals. One of their graduates is Marcus Schwenzel, whose documentary about Chernobyl, “Seven Years of Winter”, has been nominated for a number of awards.
Strike a Pose
If you prefer your images not to move, PvM Studio offers courses in photography from beginners to advanced. The school is run by Pavel Matela, whose work has been widely exhibited. Matela was also the former photo editor for the Czech daily MF Dnes. He admits that while the courses are fun, there is a strong educational component. He wants the photos by his students to be of exhibition quality.
Shaping your Free Time
The Ceramic Studio Prague caters to those, who wish to express themselves more with their hands. Depending on your budget and love of pottery, the studio offers one day, weekend and week-long courses for beginners to more advanced students.
In a country in which going to balls is still an important social event, it could be a good idea to pick up some dance steps. Fortunately, there are classes in English, such as those by Martin Kopecký from Dance for People. The lessons are ideal for a beginner. Martin is patient, friendly and breaks everything down, so even after one lesson you feel like you’ve got a handle on the basics.
Getting a Grip
Dance is not the only way to be active and meet people. With its many rock formations, the Czech Republic is an ideal place for climbers. Horo Guru provides group or individual courses in bouldering or climbing with rope for beginners or advanced climbers. These courses can be in a climbing gym, or outdoors in the rocks. It is possible to have lessons in English, but group courses require a minimum of four people. Or, if you’re really keen, you can contact the school and after an individual consultation, they’ll place you in a Czech group where the instructor will translate into English.
Finding your Part
Prepare to drop your inhibitions in the Prague Playhouse acting classes. Instructor Brian Caspe draws on the Meisner technique. Put simply, this approach builds on spontaneous interaction, improvisation, and emotion, so sessions can be pretty intense. But Brian’s open and supportive nature and serious regard for his craft means the class is appropriate for those with no experience.
The Spices of Life
There are a few possibilities for cooking classes in Prague. Chef Parade offers evening classes in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. There are three workstations per class, which are ideal for two or three people. At the moment, they are preparing classes for next year in English. One of their chefs, Radek, who I had the chance to speak with, has been cooking for 11 years, including half a year under Gordon Ramsey in England. The lessons focus on the techniques, preparation, ingredients, and culture of the food.
If there is one comment that was typical for many of these courses, it was that instructors were more than willing to run courses, but they need the numbers. So if you’ve been thinking about doing any of the above, grab a couple of friends and try it out. Who knows, you might learn something.
Broadening the Mind
Most of the universities in Prague offer courses in English. Apart from the standard degree programs, you can also enroll in individual courses.
Charles University is the Czech Republic’s oldest and most prestigious university. It offers a number of programs in English. On the linked page, you’ll find information on Bachelor’s and Master’s programs, as well as non-degree programs and summer courses.
The Anglo-American University offers Bachelor’s and Master’s programs in business administration, international relations and diplomacy, humanities and social sciences, journalism, and law. For those who don’t have time to commit to a degree or just want to study for a semester in Prague, the Anglo-American University offers the ‘Freemoving Student‘ option. For those oriented toward business, the university has a MBA program which is accredited by Chapman University in California.
Prague College is one of the newest universities in Prague. It offers courses in business, computing, and art and design. As with the Anglo-American University, it is possible to take individual courses.
The University of New York In Prague offers courses only in English. It is possible to do non-degree courses but it depends on availability. Regarding their degree program, it is possible to graduate with a European and American degree for the same course.
As ever, we’d love to read your comments and experience.