Katharina Werner

Home university: Ruhr-Universität Bochum

Guest university: Charles University Prague (and University of Zagreb)

City/country: Prague, Cech Republic (Zagreb, Croatia)

Subject: Social Science and German Studies

Erasmus stay: 2016 and 2017

Current occupation: Student at Ruhr-Universität

How to start? If I think about the 5 months I spent in the beautiful city of Praha there are so many different encounters, experiences and events coming to my mind at the same time. First I have to say that it was my second Erasmus semester; last year I studied in Zagreb, the capital of Croatia. After spending there an unforgettable half year I decided – still abroad – to apply for another semester, this time in Czech Republic.
One might say that because of my earlier experiences living in Prague was not that special or exciting since I knew what it was like to be in another country and studying at another university. Of course I was a little bit less nervous when I crossed the Vltava (the longest river in the Czech Republic that crosses the centre of Prague) for the first time, also because I’ve visited Prague three years ago already. But when I entered the stunning building of the Faculty of Arts (which was one of the four main faculties when the Charles University was opened in 1348) and saw all the other exchange students I got quite nervous again. Luckily I was obviously not the only one who felt like that so during short time I made new friends with whom I stuck until the very last day in Prague.

Katha in Zagreb in 2016

Studying and living in this great city was just amazing since there are millions of possibilities for young people. I lived in a shared flat a little outside of the city with a Czech student. I’ve chosen this way of living because I had a really good experience of living with a local in Zagreb. My Croatian friend Ivan showed me the city, cool, unknown places and introduced me to his friends back then. Unfortunately my flatmate in Prague was out of the flat most of the time so it wasn’t possible to improve my Czech skills. Yet, I was very lucky because our faculty offered a Czech course for free and at the end of my stay I could finally understand the Czech waiters or cashiers when they answered in Czech.
Talking about the free time in Prague I have to state that I hardly know any city, which offers as much as Prague does. Almost every day there was a concert, lecture or party going on and because there are around one hundred theatres you could go every other evening to a new place to enjoy different kinds of plays. As a student who always has to watch his or her money, Prague is the ideal place to see and experience a lot without paying much (I also made this experience in Zagreb). I have to admit that the low prices all over the city made my two Erasmus experiences much more intensive even though I wouldn’t have guessed that money would play a big role if you are once abroad. When you pay 1, 20€ for a beer, 5€ for a concert or 2€ for a theatre or exhibition ticket you are able to enjoy the culture in the capital at its best. Counting beer to one of the aspect of Czech culture is certainly not a joke: Drinking pivo and having some rohlík (a bread roll) is something you’ll see pretty often in a Czech hospoda (a bar) – the stereotype about the Czechs’ love for beer is apparently true!

Katha in Prague in 2017

The university life in the city of Franz Kafka was a unique experience, too. Since there weren’t that many students who were studying German language and literature the courses were kind of small so it was possible to have a lot of interesting and inspiring discussions. The atmosphere between the teachers and students was very relaxed as well and I liked it a lot that the person who is holding the lecture actually knows your name.
Overall, I am more than glad and thankful that I had the possibility to make these two experiences, which were both great but also very different from each other and therefore gave me a lot of new insights and inspiration.