Happy Travel Tuesday! We are back in Prague from the incredible little Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany (I can’t wait to share pictures with you!) and I started my job yesterday. I will share more soon, but I first I wanted to tell you all about the English Camp I attended in the Krkonoše Mountains of the Czech Republic and Poland.
When we started shooting our CVs all over Prague near the end of our course, the first email both E and I got was for a week-long camp in the mountains. Although it was only a temporary job, we were intrigued, so we both applied. We heard back from our future boss right away, who offered us both a position. Since we had nothing else on our plates, we agreed, thinking it would be an adventure if anything else (as well as a way to earn a little bit of money and avoid paying for food for a week!).
Although the English Camp, with 42 18-year-old Czech girls (and one Czech boy), two Czech teachers, and two other American teachers, did make it difficult for us to work in September (although we found other temporary work, luckily), I’m so glad we did it!
The Czech school system is unusual (to me), meaning that students can begin to specialize much earlier than they do in the U.S. That means they start nursing school, engineering school, or whichever they choose, at around the age when most American students are just starting high school. There is an option for a general high school, which I’ve heard called a “gymnasium.”
All of our students were at a nursing school (which explains the fact that there was only one boy–gendered careers are alive and well here in the Czech Republic), so many of our English lessons incorporated medical English.
What I expected to be an easy, somewhat relaxed week wandering around the Czech mountains and dealing with whiny teenagers ended up being an incredibly active, busy week full of (mostly) engaged students and English activities.
We stayed at a mountain lodge of sorts, or “cottage” as they call them here, where our meals, classrooms, technology and rooms were provided. I immediately sensed the week would be much different when we arrived, and the Czech teacher (who teaches English but is a native Czech) took us up to the lodge on a “little jaunt,” right after strapping on her serious hiking boots and grabbing her hiking poles. While it was a paved road, much of it was straight uphill and I was not prepared. Almost every day included a hike, until the big one: the highest mountain in the Czech Republic, Snežka!
I was definitely unprepared, in my street-ready Reebok sneakers and leggings (plus, candid moment, no sports bra–ouch) but I’m so happy we were able to climb it. The scenery was incredible, and every student made it up the mountain! I was sure I wouldn’t be able to walk for a week but I felt okay the next day…I guess I don’t actually have that much of an excuse to be a wuss as I thought.
While we were climbing the mountain and I was cursing the person who invented hiking (it was hard and if I didn’t want to be humiliated in front of a bunch of teenagers I probably would have given up), a few of the students mentioned how they had never done this. The Czech teacher informed us that many of the students have never left their hometown, and may not ever: this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for them. For me it was a lark (hey, I grew up in Montana–I’ve climbed a few mountains in my time) just to say I’d done it, but for them it was one of their highlights. Because of this attitude, it became a highlight for me, too. It was also a highlight because, on the way down, we walked briefly through Poland! I’ve never been but it looked beautiful from there, so I think I will probably have to cross a proper border.
It’s funny–since coming back from English Camp, I’ve found myself homesick for it! It was a fun, exciting week that somehow seemed simpler that life does in Prague. And not just because we didn’t have to cook there.
This week I am spotlighting the Czechesotans and their post about Mushrooming here in the Czech Republic! Mushrooming is a common practice for Czechs, and ever since I’ve learned about it (my students were going almost every weekend this past month) I’ve been hoping for an invite. No such luck so far, but I was happy to live vicariously through the Czechesotans! To find out more about mushrooming, check out their awesome post!
THEMED TRAVEL TUESDAY PROMPT
Next week it is time for this month’s travel-themed prompt! The prompt for this month is for you to share a weird or unexpected layover with us. What have you managed to accomplish during a layover? Have you ever made a flight despite so many bad circumstances? Can’t wait to hear your stories!
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