An important aspect of studying away is the opportunity for you to learn more about your chosen host country and how identities may be understood and perceived within this new context. We encouraged you to begin researching some of the challenges and opportunities you may encounter, and plan ahead by identifying people and resources that can help you make the most of your experience away. The information below offers brief descriptions of identity-based topics in Prague, and the Czech Republic more broadly, as well as access to people, resources, and programs you can connect with before and after you get there.
Even though Prague is the most expensive city in the country, it is still cheaper than most of Europe. There are many cheap foods, shops, and sights to explore. You can expect to spend around $100 on transit throughout the semester. Groceries are about 147.22 percent lower in Prague than in NYC. Likewise, the cost of airfare is around $1,200. These numbers will vary depending on your spending patterns.
As the Czech Republic has evolved into a modern country, its urban centers have made great strives to accommodate people with physical disabilities with sidewalks, public transport, and public buildings generally being accessible. The metro stations are generally not accessible for wheelchair users but the above-ground trams and buses are equipped with fold-out ramps. Prague’s main train station, the Praha Hlavni Nadrazi, is fully accessible so travel around Europe by train is definitely an option.
Prague has a far way to go in terms of gender equality with a wage gap of 22 percent and less than 4 percent of CEOs being women. Some look at the recent communist regime as the origin for these inequalities. As other countries continue to improve, the Czech Republic falls behind further. Similar to rates across western democracies, about 32 percent of women experienced physical and/or sexual violence after the age of 15.
Gender Equality Index 2017: Czech Republic (PDF)
Czech Society Continues to Discriminate Against Women
The Czech Republic is considered to be one of the most liberal countries in Central Europe regarding gay rights with Prague being seen as one of the most gay-friendly cities in Europe. Same-sex sexual activity was decriminalized in 1962 and has recognized same-sex partnerships since 2006. LGBTQ+ folks are also protected by anti-discrimination laws. In line with the country’s progressive gay rights laws, the Czech Republic is considered one of the most gay-friendly countries in Europe. It is important to note, however, that areas outside of Prague tend to be more conservative and less friendly towards LGBTQ+ folks.
Race & Ethnicity
The Czech Republic is a racially homogenous country, with the Vietnamese being the largest with over 400,000 people living in the country. Anti-minority sentiments tend to be more nationalistic and focused more on groups for their national histories, such as Romani people (often referred to as Roma) or immigrant status than their race. Nonetheless, many report that even in small villages darker-skinned people do not attract unwanted stares. Compared with the rest of the country, Prague is relatively diverse, with people of various backgrounds living and working there.
Religion & Spirituality
The Czech Republic has one of the least religious populations in the world with a majority of Czechs being agnostic or unaffiliated with any religion. Despite this lack of religiosity, religion is not castigated in the Czech Republic and you should still feel comfortable practicing your faith there. Following the unaffiliated portion of the Czech population, the next largest group is Roman Catholic. The remainder of Czechs tend to be Protestant, Muslim, or Jewish.