Ashley Young

International Experience Country:
Czech Republic
Cohort Year:
Home Institution:

Waynesburg University

Heinz Programming Area:
Children, Youth, and Families
International Experience Summary:

Ashley Young was given the opportunity to travel to Prague, Czech Republic to learn about the Czech language and how social change can impact a culture. For five weeks, she lived in an apartment with a local Czech student, to whom she refers to as a “Czech Buddy” and took classes through CIEE. Ashley was enrolled in Psychology of Transformation and Transition and an Introduction to Czech Language course. Through her psychology course, she learned about the individuals of Czech Republic who have been influential who were influential since the end of World War II. The course also focused on learning about the current aid that is available in the Czech Republic for those who have a mental illness, a physical or mental disability and anyone who is homeless. During trips with her class, Ashley was able to talk with a woman who is wheelchair-bound and hear her explain how the system works in the country. The biggest eye opening experience she was given was getting a tour of the city by a woman who has been homeless for more than 15 years. During this tour, Ashley saw the city of Prague in a different way. She learned more about the daily struggles of a person who is homeless and what is all available, or not available to them. Ashley’s teacher for her language course was taught by a man named Ludek Broucek, who was enthusiastic about teaching the native language and sharing the country’s history with us. Outside of class, Ashley had the opportunity to talk at length with him about the Czech Republic’s change from a totalitarian government to a democratic one and to learn about his firsthand experience of it. Outside of class, Ashley enjoyed sitting by the river or in a park and exploring the city. Through the Czech buddies, Ashley got to experience what people her age enjoy doing in their free time: going to the soccer game, painting on the Lennon wall, and going to an opera. Ashley also had the opportunity to visit Bruno, Trunov and Křivoklát. Since Ashley was living in an apartment with other students, she spent a little more than she had planned on food and different toiletries. She had given herself a budget of $600 and spent about $750 by the end of her stay. To her, some things like buying food at the grocery store, seemed much cheaper than in America, but after having a conversation with one of the Czech buddies she learned that the city of Prague is actually rather expensive to live in for Czech residents. 

Community Engagement Experience Summary:

CEE Title: The Truth Behind the Cities; What Goes on Behind the Picture Perfect Moments
As one of the recipients from Waynesburg University 2017, I along with the three others planned our CEE around different serious social issues we each saw in the countries we choose to study at and wanted to bring attention to them in our community. The event we held had three parts to it; presentation, round table discussion, and panel. As those who were in attendance came into the room, we gave each one a notecard of a different color. Before our presentation, we asked them to write down there first thoughts of each country. In the presentation portion of the event, each recipient gave a presentation on an issue they saw in their respective countries. These issues included Chelsea speaking about poverty and water shortage in India, Anna spoke about opioid use in Ireland, Marla spoke about greyhound racing in Australia, and I spoke about homelessness and human trafficking in the Czech Republic. Once the presentations were completed, the round table portion of the night began. We explained to the audience that the color of their notecard indicates which table to go to and which country they will discuss first. Each member prepared six to ten discussion questions dealing with the issues we presented on and relating them back to the United States, specifically Greene County. After fifteen minutes, we had everyone switch tables and go to the country of their choosing for another fifteen minutes. We concluded the night with a panel of all the members in order for the audience to freely ask questions about the issues we discussed and our experience. There was desserts and drinks from the different countries for those in attendance to try.