Monday, November 28, 2011

Charles University @ Prague # Fall 2011

Priscilla HIDALGO

How is it to be a TEMA student at Charles University?

First of all, we should mention that the Faculty of Arts could not have a better location. It is just in the city center, so everything is near. Charging your phone, the bank, restaurants, all types of transportation are just a few steps away. So, whenever you feel stressed just go out and have a look at the Castle or take a walk to the Old Town Square… this is the best way of realizing how lucky you are of having the opportunity of studying in a fairy tale city.
Sometimes you might be lost in translation though, but don’t get desperate. Taking basic Czech classes might help you, and if not, remember the importance of body language and mostly remember that smiles are universal. Apart from some bureaucratic procedures like opening a bank account, police and migration, and so on, you can survive in English; just remember to ask for help from the Erasmus Coordinating department when you are not sure about an administrative procedure or you have any other.
Last but not least, Charles University has a lot of Erasmus students, so you will definitely have the chance of experiencing a multicultural environment not only in lectures, but also at the cafeteria, library, etc.

The building of the Faculty of Arts on the riverbank of the Vltava


The Comparative History subject mainly focuses on exploring comparative history as a tool of systematic analysis and interpretation. But, how do we do this? Reading and class discussions are the basic tasks in order to get familiarized with Comparative History.
The readings are particular, since the approach is of Central Europe; this means that you will have the opportunity to get to know new authors that might have different ways of thinking, compared to the classical Western Europe approach.
Another interesting point is the feedback you get from classmates -some of them are Czech, which helps you indirectly to get to know better Charles University, and the Czech vision and history.


As its title states, this is an introductory course about what Europe is as a concept and as an idea, from a European point of view. It is based mainly on a historical voyage through the Industrial Revolution until the post-WWII context.
With the European studies lectures you will be able to level your knowledge regarding Europe (economic, political, military and cultural general aspects) in case you are not too familiar with it. Also, it also helps you to get to know in details the process of identity building in Europe, and at the same time, it makes you understand better the people and the continent you will be living in for the next two years.


The aim of the methodological seminar is to help you to realize that actually you have to write a MA thesis, and that in this process every week improvements, changes and step backs do count in order to accomplish your goal.
You will mainly have to talk about the books you read, about the structure of you work, the steps in which you are constructing your object of study, with a very interesting variable: sometimes you will have to do this with your MA thesis director, other times with visiting professors.
This is without a doubt a great tool for a social researcher, because it involves a lot of feedback, allowing you to decide which critiques, ideas and opinions you are willing to include in your work, and which not. In this way you get to know better your work and what you want your research to become, it will help you to shape your thesis and delimitate it.

The general reading room of the Czech National Library [Klementinum]


The TEMA Seminar is the theoretical complement of the Methodological Seminar. It is the time of the week when you get the chance of focusing on key concepts of your thesis and for the TEMA program as well. Different approaches to the notions of Nation, Civilization, Region and City region will help you to set the conceptual bases for your work, as well as to know different tendencies in epistemology and social theories.
Also, there is a great amount of transfer of ideas when the visiting professors explain their works and how they use these concepts.


The main point in this subject is to understand civilization. How? By getting to know in a deeper way the “image of the other”, which would lead to the better understanding of one’s own place in the world at the same time.
In other words, the main point of the Old and the New World is to establish the pertinence the Czech and Moravians had when the American conquest and colony took place. It is an excellent way of establishing the mutual influence America and Europe have upon each other.

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