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CZECH REPUBLIC - AIFS Prague at Charles University

Study Czech art, history, language, culture and more during a semester abroad with AIFS in Prague, Czech Republic.  Long hidden behind the Iron Curtain, Prague’s collection of Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance architecture makes it one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. 

Eligibility

To be eligible to participate in this program, students must meet the following requirements:

  • Good academic and judicial standing during time of application AND time of participation in program
  • Undergraduates must have completed at least two semesters of study at Lake Forest College AND have second-semester sophomore status or higher before participation. (Transfer students may participate after the first semester on campus)  Junior status or higher is strongly preferred.
  • At least 18 years of age by the program’s departure date. 
  • Be able to stay at the host program for the duration of the semester, including through the exam and travel periods
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0. Students with a GPA between 2.7 - 2.99 may be considered on a case-by-case basis. 
Location

 Wander the cobblestone streets of central Prague, comparing the Gothic, Baroque, Renaissance, Art Nouveau and other architectural styles on display in the city, or relax in the spa towns of West Bohemia. 

The AIFS Office is right in the heart of the city in one of the oldest parts of Prague conveniently located within walking distance of the University. There is a student center and a computer lab in the office, with PCs for college work or leisure. Free printing is also available, making it ideal for students to print their projects and essays on their way to class. Staff are always there to help with any issues that might arise.

Academics

Charles University is the oldest university in Central Europe having been founded as Prague University in 1348 by Charles IV, King of Bohemia and of the Romans. The University continued to develop until all Czech universities were closed during the Nazi occupation in World War II. Charles University reopened again in 1945 under Communist rule. The Velvet Revolution of 1989 saw students and faculty at Charles University fight for the social and academic freedom enjoyed today.

Currently hosting more than 20,000 undergraduate and 25,000 graduate students, it is the largest and most prestigious academic institution in the Czech Republic with a reputation for international research and the creativity of its teaching. Charles University has partnerships with over 170 foreign universities and has hosted international students from its beginning. Former students include the author Franz Kafka who enrolled at Charles University in 1901 for eight semesters of law school.

This program is designed for students wishing to gain insight into the history, culture, and development of Eastern and Central Europe by taking courses taught in English across a range of subject fields including art and culture, film, economics and politics, history, Czech language, literature, sociology and psychology.

The program begins with a required 2-week orientation in Czech language and culture. This includes Czech language instruction, cultural activities and excursions throughout Prague to help you to adjust and make the transition to living in the Czech Republic as smooth as possible. Students then take 4-5 courses at Charles University.

AIFS students may enroll for either individual or group courses at the Academy of Performing Arts, studying music, film or performing arts. Fees range from approximately $100 to $130 per week for 13 weeks. Group instruction is at a lower rate than individual courses. Class time is approximately 40 to 52 hours per semester. Students should request 3 transfer credits from their home institution. Contact the AIFS Admissions Officer for details of courses available

Though letter grades will appear on the Lake Forest transcript, they will not factor into a student’s GPA except in calculations of honors or the Dean’s List.  Students must take a minimum of 15 credit hours to obtain the equivalent of 4 Lake Forest College credits.

For more information on courses available. please visit the AIFS page.

 

Student Life

Included in your program fee is a range of activities which will take you outside Prague and deepen your social, historical and cultural understanding of the Czech Republic. 

  Volunteer/Internship Opportunities

AIFS can arrange volunteer activities with a range of organizations and across a variety of fields including:

  • With a Czech Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) to assist with social work in and around the community
  • Volunteer English conversation practice in a local high school
  • Czech Radio – Pamet Naroda: providing editing assistance on a project concerning totalitarian regimes of the 20th century

 

In a globalized world, practical experience in an international environment is an invaluable addition to classroom learning. Students in Prague may take a 3-credit International Internship, offered and accredited by Richmond, the American International University in London. Richmond is an independent, non-profit international university of liberal arts and professional studies with a student population of approximately 1,500. It is accredited by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, one of the regional accrediting bodies recognized by the U.S Department of Education. In addition to the U.S. degree granting authority, it has U.K. taught degree awarding powers granted by the U.K. Privy Council. It is the first university in the U.K. to have dual degree awarding powers. Students will receive credit from Richmond for the internship course. In addition to the internship, students select up to 4 courses from the East and Central European Studies Program (ECES) at Charles University.

Interns will be engaged in different fields ranging from production, marketing, IT and administrative assistant placements with the Prague Shakespeare Company to teaching English in a local elementary school. Students may work in small or large organizations, located in different areas of the city. Students must attend interviews with suitable organizations; this is a competitive process. Final selection is always at the discretion of the organization and the Internship Program is not able to honor specific requests to join a particular organization or guarantee that students will be successful at interviewing.

 

Housing and Meals

Student Residence Hall

The self-catering residence hall is located within walking distance of stores, restaurants, grocery stores, and the Metro station. You will share a room with another AIFS student and have access to shared bathroom and kitchenette facilities to prepare your own meals.

You will be given a meal allowance worth $800 to subsidize the cost of meals which students find a great help when managing their living costs in Prague. The meal allowance is intended for use in local Czech restaurants and the University cafeteria or to purchase food to cook meals in the student residence. 

Financial Information

For all approved programs for guaranteed financial aid transferability, students pay their Lake Forest College tuition plus a program fee. The program fee for the AIFS Prague program includes orientation, on-site director, university fees, housing, several excursions, and insurance. A stipend is provided to help cover the cost of some meals and grocery shopping.

Here is an estimated budget for the Fall 2018/Spring 2019 programs:

Budget Item

Amount

Lake Forest College Tuition

$23,160

Program fee (estimated)

Note: Spring may have added cost

TBD

Total Expected Billed by Lake Forest College

TBD

Meals

$800

Estimated Airfare

$1,700

Estimated Personal Expenses (passport, visas, immunizations, textbooks, supplies, personal expenses, additional national insurance if required, travel insurance, additional travel etc.)

$3,000

Total Expected Out-of-Pocket Expenses

$5,500

Total

TBD

Tuition rates and program fees are subject to change each year, but this information was up-to-date as of February 2018. We will notify applicants, and update this page if the program fee or other estimates change.

You can discuss with Financial Aid your specific aid package and your expected family contribution.

Keep in mind that you may spend more or less in certain areas like personal expenses, travel, meals, or airfare, depending on exchange rates and your own spending habits. Classroom or lab fees are not included in this estimate and will depend on your course registration choices.  

Don’t forget to apply for scholarships! A great listing can be found here

  • Contact:

    For Questions About the Initial Application Process:

    Alexandra Olson
    Coordinator of the Global Engagement Office
    847-735-5231
    aolson@lakeforest.edu