By Christopher Ott
Tens of thousands of Americans have made the capital of the Czech Republic their home. If you haven’t already been there yourself, you may understand their impulse to relocate the moment you set foot in Prague’s beautiful historic center. The problem is that the longer you stay in Prague, the more reasons you’ll need to speak the language—and, unfortunately, Czech is not among the world’s easiest languages to learn.
If you’re looking for a way to begin—or continue—your study of Czech in the country where it’s spoken, there may be no better way than the Summer School of Slavonic Studies (in Czech, the “Letni Skoly Slovanskych Studii,” or LSSS), a four-week intensive program with four hours of daily Czech instruction, plus dozens of field trips, cultural events (lectures, concerts, screenings of Czech films, etc.), and excursions throughout the country on afternoons and weekends. The 2000 program, offered by the Faculty of Arts and Philosophy of Prague’s prestigious Charles Univ., will run from July 28-August 25.
Prices for classes, books, meals, and accommodations, plus all fees for officially organized afternoon and weekend trips, cost $980, or $460 if you arrange your own meals and accommodations.
At a little more than $30 a day for everything but your airfare and money for your own expenses, the LSSS is a great value. A few shortcomings aside—the grammar tends to be literary rather than everyday and the outings to historic sites rather than to businesses and breweries—LSSS is an outstanding program that introduces you to the Czech Republic in a way that most of Prague’s millions of visitors will never know. For more information see the LSSS web site: www.pf.jcu.cz/stru/katedry/cj/lsss03en.phtml.
CHRIS OTT, a writer in Madision, WI, completed the LSSS in summer 1999.