Illustration by Dulce Pop Bonini

Your sign to study away at NYU Prague

Despite the hassle of securing a visa, and fear of missing out on the New York experience, studying away in Prague was the best decision I made.

Located in the heart of Old Town, NYU Prague looks and feels as though it is straight out of a postcard — literally. With its two main academic buildings within walking distance from one another in the picturesque Male Namesti square, it sits right in the heart of one of the most historic cities in the world. Although it is a popular J-Term destination for NYU Abu Dhabi students, few if any choose it as a study away location. In fact, I was the only NYUAD student in the program in the Fall of 2022, and due to strict visa requirements and embassy bureaucracy, many students are unable to secure the coveted residence Schengen visa that is required for the semester of study.
My morning walk to class through Old Town Square, Prague, CZ.
Picture courtesy of Shyalina Muthumudalige
Through all the pain and heartache of the visa process, I regretted giving away my NYC study away spot for this European adventure, but in the end it was definitely worth the trouble. The NYU Prague program is very small and there were approximately 100 students studying away there with me.
Picture courtesy of Shyalina Muthumudalige
As a result, there was a real sense of community within the program and by the end the staff, RA’s and students were all very close, and goodbyes were teary-eyed. Students in the program were from the various NYU campuses with a majority being from New York, but it was also host to many students from different universities across America such as Reed College, Carleton College and Ohio State University (to name a few). Here are some highlights of the program that made my study abroad semester special:
NYU Prague sponsored events and trips
Picture courtesy of Shyalina Muthumudalige
Throughout the semester there were a variety of events and activities organized by the staff and local RA’s which were a great way to get to know the city and country as well as make new friends. Some of the most memorable events include Laser Tag, Ice Skating, attending a queer film festival, and going to a Halloween themed drag show! The RA’s were all local Czech students who were pursuing their master’s degrees and so we got to meet lots of local students and be part of the Czech student ‘scene’ in Prague.
Picture courtesy of Shyalina Muthumudalige
We also got the opportunity to sign up for a variety of trips around the Czech Republic and while some of them were one-day excursions most of the interesting ones were overnight trips over a weekend. My favorite trip was to South Moravia where we explored a small town called Mikulov which is famous for its fabulous wines. NYU Prague doesn’t hold classes on Friday in order to allow students to travel and explore over the weekends which was an incredible perk of being there.
History and Culture: right at your doorstep
For the Literature geeks out there, the Academic center is located across the street from the birthplace of Franz Kafka (which was pretty wild). Old town is a very touristy city but it was a surreal experience walking across Old Town Square to get to class everyday. There is so much to see and do at all times (without breaking the bank!) with something for absolutely everyone. I would often sit and work at the coffee shop at the National Gallery in Prague between classes and explore hidden thrift stores and galleries in my free time.
Picture courtesy of Shyalina Muthumudalige
Travel, travel, travel
While some students were off to a new European destination every weekend, I decided to explore the region I was in and planned my weekend travel strategically. The hassle-free travel in the Schengen area was refreshing, and Prague is located so centrally that destinations such as Berlin, Budapest and Krakow were only 4-5 hour train rides away. NYU Prague even treated the Music Program students to a sponsored trip to Vienna over a weekend which was lots of fun.
Picture courtesy of Shyalina Muthumudalige
Overall, studying away in Prague was one of the best decisions I have ever made, and most students who studied away with me will say the same. The lack of a campus did not take away from the sense of community, but rather gave me a sense of freedom that I didn’t realize I was missing. To anyone who is on the fence about missing out on the NYC experience, I promise that Prague is worth it, and if you’re interested in reading more about the program, check out the NYU Prague Now blog or the Instagram Page to see what we got up to!
Shyalina Muthumudalige is a Staff Writer. Email her at
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