By Katie Story
In an imposing, gray building, sitting in the flat she had lived in her entire life, Jirina Siklova says that the Czech Republic had achieved gender equality. By contrast, in an abandoned clinic shut down numerous times by the police, Tereza Zvolska says that feminism looks to find its place among Czech culture because national culture itself, specifically in Prague, is still finding itself.
“Czech people are still sort of searching for an identity in general, and I think it’s basically connected to the feminism as well,” Zvolska says. “We need to build our own tradition in this field.”
According to the European Commission website, “There are practically no differences between women and men in the areas of access to education, health care and services.”
The government subsidizes contraceptives, and abortions are legal up to three months of the pregnancy. However, there are still areas that can be improved. Jitka Hausenblasova is project manager at the Gender Studies center, set up in 1991. It started as a library but now also publishes many pieces on gender related issues. Hausenblasova deals with issues in corporations that have low percentages of women in upper echelons.
“Here we have a lot of areas that are feminized, so that means these professions are less valued than others that are perceived as male professions,” Hausenblasova says. “This is one of the problems that [show that] women in general are valued as less.”
At the institute, education is crucial to inform both genders about inequalities in modern society—like in the business world. After the fall of communism, people assumed equality between men and women had been achieved because government mandated it, however Hausenblasova says that women may believe their own problems are unique to them when there could be a larger, systematic issue in place. Bringing to light these systematic issues is still something she and the center hopes to address.
Zvolska recently graduated from Charles University with a Masters in gender studies. Although she says people scoff at her degree and complain that she wasted their tax dollars in a major that could lead nowhere, she believes that in every facet of daily life there are feminist issues that need to be addressed.
The big issue brought up at the lecture at the Klinika was the dearth of women in politics, and if quotas were appropriate to fix this issue. Though there has been an increase during the past two decades, women only make up about 20 percent of elected officials in the Parliament Senate, according to a summary to the report “Political Participation of Women in the Czech Republic,” published by the European Commission, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Programme in 2012.
The Czech Republic scores higher than the United States for percentage of women in the Lower or Single House, with the U.S. only having about 19 percent. According to the Inter-Parliamentary Union, which focuses on worldwide dialogue among parliaments, both countries fall behind about 68 other countries when it comes to percentage of women in government.
However, bringing up these issues and tying them to the overall movement of feminism causes mixed reactions. Hausenblasova said that people react negatively because they see feminism only as the western feminism, which was imported and flooded into the country after the fall of communism. As well, people have misconceptions of what a feminist really is. They might think that feminism is synonymous to man-hating.
Because of the communist roots when equality was required by the state, many feel that equality has already been achieved and shouldn’t be so zealously sought for. The state required that all must work, therefore equality was just something that had to happen.
“The ideology [was] that men and women should go to work," Hausenblasova says. "Women should be freed from things like ironing...[the government] had plans for...services. The ideal community was some kind of unit, and everyday people should be going to work and all the other things should be provided by the services...like laundry services."
However, women still ended up with two “jobs” because the services the state was supposed to provide never came into fruition.
“It was just a theory, but in reality the communist planning just didn’t work,” says Hausenblasova in reference to this idealist social framework.
As Siklova explained that “feminisms” were simple and many questions revolving around it were simple, it seems that the younger generation is struggling with that concept and what it means for their Czech Republic. Sometimes older traditions of superficial security, like communism of the 1950s, are as empty as the concept of equality preached by older generations today.
Sitting among the borrowed couches and books surrounded by anarchist and ideological slogans plastered all over the Klinika, any outsider could see that young Prague people are searching for what they want to believe in and how to reconcile their Western European identity with more extreme, Western movements. Although the Czech Republic has its own, local problems, Zvolska believes that hardly anyone even knows that these problems exist.
“We don’t really have the issue...but in every field there are feminist issues,” Zvolska says. "But nobody really points at that. Society is quite ignorant."
By Casey Drum
Study abroad programs are advertised to college students from the moment they attend orientation. Eager freshman are drawn in by the tri-fold presentations with alluring pictures from places ranging from Australia to Ireland. Many of these students will load up on brochures ready to convince their parents to let them spend a future summer, or even semester, in another country.
Distance Learning Coordinator of Grady College, Kelly Meyer, urges students to study abroad at least once. She preaches that traveling abroad helps students to broaden their perspectives of the world as they step out of their comfort zone. Study abroad programs often force students to become a minority while in a foreign country and face new challenges such as language barriers and traveling in large groups.
Study abroad programs take immense planning, from passports to money usage to health choices. The planning process is exciting as it builds anticipation to your future trip. It is important for students to be prepared before traveling abroad. You will be making lifelong memories. While it’s important to plan for a study abroad, it’s also important to plan to make the most out of your trip. From one study abroad traveler to another, here are some tips to make your trip the best it can be:
Take pictures of scenery and of yourself. Friends and family will be asking you for pictures from every new place that you visit, and you will be grateful for all of your pictures when you return home. Not only will you have pristine Instagram pictures, but the digital treasures will act as a reminder of your amazing trip. Your friends and followers will be excited to see your updates from your trip, so get ready for the most likes and comments of your social media life to date.
You will be studying and traveling with your peers for the majority of your program, so make friends. Not only should you practice the buddy system while traveling abroad, but it is also more enjoyable to make memories with others. By the time your program is over, you could have a whole new friend group that you may have never connected with on campus. When you get home, some of your best nights back in Athens will be reminiscing with your study abroad friends (shout-out to my Prague Dawgs).
Take your classes seriously.
Meyer says that many students have the misconception that study abroad classes will be easy, but this is often not the case. “Focus on your studies, but don’t let classes hold you back from experiencing the foreign country around you,” says Kate Braun, a senior accounting major from Midway. Most study abroad classes are not merely lecture style. The course study may allow the students to go out into the foreign country where they are studying and have unique experiences. Although this may seem like a challenge at first, most students find that the hands-on style is more rewarding in the long run.
Do something different. You are in a foreign country! Try their food, experience their culture and simply try something new everyday. You can have a reasonable bedtime when you get back to Athens. Go out, see why people rage over international clubs, let loose with your new friends, stay out until sunrise. Some of your best memories will come from these nights. Remember to always be safe, and make smart decisions.
Don’t say no to a weekend trip to another city/country.
If you are studying in a place with easy access to other destinations, go. Commonly, the most expensive part of a trip abroad is the airfare to get there. Once you are there, do not waste your time. Many international countries have reliable bus or train systems allowing easy travel across borders.
Stay in a hostel.
Hostels are notoriously infamous for being gross and unsafe, but realistically they are often cheap, safe and convenient. You may stay in a room with nine other people in cheap bunk beds, and you may not shower for three days, but in the end, it is all about the unforgettable experience and the memories.
Don’t penny-pinch too much.
This may not be your parents’ favorite advice because saving money is important. However, you will probably only get to study abroad once, and it is all about making the most of your time. Pay the fare to see that museum or take that river cruise or buy that extra souvenir. Again, it is all about the memories!
Call your parents.
They miss you. They may say they aren’t worried about you, but they are. Check in with them as much as you can. Meyer advises you to take the time to teach them how to use technology, such as Skype, and then designate some time to call them once you are abroad. They will be excited to see you and hear your stories, and you will enjoy a little taste of home.
Write a blog/journal.
It may be time-consuming, but it is important. You will want to remember your entire trip. Write down what you saw, who you were with and what you felt. Trips abroad are exciting and can be overwhelming. Write it all down, so you don’t forget anything. Blogs and social media updates are also a great way to keep others updated on your trip.
Wi-Fi is your best friend.
“Ranking restaurants based on Wi-Fi availability before food preferences is totally okay,” says Kaitlyn Yarborough, a junior magazine journalism major from Albany. Yarborough studied in Prague, Czech Republic, on Grady College’s Travel Writing program in the summer of 2015. You will find yourself choosing your restaurants, hostels and destinations based on Wi-Fi availability. If you do not pay the extra fees to have cellular data while abroad, you will have to get used to not having instant Internet access at your fingertips at all times. Take advantage of Wi-Fi wherever you are lucky enough to find it, but don’t forget to put your phone down and experience your trip. (Tip: You can take Snapchats without an Internet connection and send them or add them to your story when you are on Wi-Fi later.)
Learn the transportation systems.
International countries have different transportation options than Athens. Learning how to utilize local metros, buses and trams will be extremely helpful. Don’t be embarrassed to be the tourist with the map for your first week. By the end of your trip you will be getting around like a local. “The metro is scary at first, but it is the most helpful thing by far once you master it,” Yarborough says. “Make sure to know what times it opens and closes, so you aren’t stranded.”
The overall best advice to give future travelers is to be prepared for some of the best times of their lives. Whether you are studying abroad for three weeks or an entire semester, remember to make the most of your time. See as much and do as much as you can, and come back with tons of great stories for your family and friends.
The World Food Travel Association defines food tourism as “the pursuit and enjoyment of unique and memorable food and drink experiences, both far and near.”
Food tourism isn’t just about gourmet food, but it is also about the stumble-uponhappenings when exploring a new place, especially a new country. These experiences include: food carts, locals-only places, fresh markets, pubs, wineries and one-of-a-kind restaurants. Establishments that are unsuspecting during the day may come alive at night. A prime example of this is The Hoftgarten in Innsbruck, Austria, in the heart of the Alps. This beautifully quaint collection of landscape architecture transforms into a sprawling biergarten with outdoor and indoor bars, dance floors and copious picnic tables. All of these are lit by twinkle lights dangling ever so gently from the trees. With its central mountainous appeal and small town charm, Innsbruck lends traditional Austrian cuisine as well as foods from across Europe. “Acropolis is my favorite Greek Restaurant in Innsbruck. It is so authentic,” says Elisabeth Keinprecht, junior pedagogy major at Karl-Franzens-University in Graz, Austria.
As a more popular tourist destination filled with art, history, romance and stunning beauty everywhere you turn, Prague, Czech Republic, is indisputably a shining star in Central Europe. Lit by the lanterns from the maze of shops leading to Old Town and Wenceslaus Square, Prague offers many street-side restaurants to nosh at as well as posh places like Hotel U’s rooftop restaurant. “That was seriously the best food I have ever put in my mouth. The rooftop view from Hotel U was breathtaking,” says Gabby Roe, member of the UNO-UGA Innsbruck Study Abroad and senior accounting major from New Orleans, Louisiana, from Trinity College in San Antonio, Texas.
In one of the most exciting and compelling cities in the world, Paris provides a gamut of eateries to visit. From gourmet creperies to hole-in-the-wall snack nooks, Paris’ sweet and savory foods surely do not disappoint. Not to mention, every other bakery should be well supplied with a variety of fresh macaroons. One place not to miss is La Creperie de Josselin, Yelp’s number one creperie in Paris.
Naturally, Italy is molto famoso (very famous) for its classics: rolling countryside hills, warm colors, historic cities, pasta and vino. Therefore, when tasting your way through, it is imperative to stick with those classic Italian dishes. Pasta Bolognese, bruschetta, gnocchi, specialty regional lasagna, various cheeses, over 100 gelato flavors and a taste of the local wine is enough to carry your soul as well as your taste buds into the next century. “Each dish from the Golden View Restaurant in Florence, Italy, was perfect. The wait staff was also more than friendly,” says Allie Cimini, member of the UNO-UGA Innsbruck Study Abroad and junior media production major at Loyola University from New Orleans, Louisiana.
So whether you’re studying abroad, backpacking across Europe, train hopping to save your life, traveling the world or all of the above, remember the wise words of Anthony Bourdain, “...food, for me, has always been an adventure.”
Check out these top foodie hot spots for locally sourced, fresh, homemade eats, as well as student-priced, upscale foods paired with regional wines and handcrafted cocktails. Here are a handful of countries in the heart of Europe offering more than amazing restaurants for great meals or just an afternoon nosh:
Beef gyros with sautéed onions, French fries, pan-fried zucchini, tzatziki sauce and fresh herbs from the Greek restaurant, Acropolis
Pasta Carbonara from Santa Maria in Prague’s town center
Crepe filled with Chorizo, Bacon, Ground Beef, Shredded Chicken, Gouda, Sauteed Onions, Green Peppers, and topped with an Egg from La Creperie de Josselin
House Bolognese, also known as “The Best in Venice”
Cheesy oven baked Lasagna with homemade Italian red sauce and seasoned ground beef and toasted on the stovetop to brown the edges
Four Cheese Gnocchi with creamy spinach leaves from The Golden View Restaurant
Banana and Nutella Mouse Gelato on a homemade cone