Sarah Wolinsky spent her summer both learning about Czech culture and actively living it. In the classroom, she studied Czech and Central European Art and Architecture at Charles University in Prague, the capital city of the Czech Republic. Through this class, she was able to visit famous works of art, learn the most influential styles of architecture and understand how the history of the small country has shaped its culture. Additionally, Sarah studied Central European literature where she was able to learn about the “kavarna” or coffeehouse literary culture of the nation and even immerse herself in that culture by spending time in the kavarnas, discussing, researching, and writing. Outside of the classroom, Sarah participated in a Culture and Language Exchange Program with local Czech students. She experienced both the Czech and distinct Prague culture from these students with whom she attended the annual Bohemian Jazz Festival and the annual French Week Festival, along with visits to local parks and restaurants. On the weekends, Sarah traveled not only around the Czech Republic but also other parts of Central Europe. She had the opportunity to visit three small towns in the Czech Republic, Plzeň, Karlštejn, and Český Krumlov, where she was able to experience life outside of the large capital city. She also traveled to Budapest, Hungary and Krakow, Poland. While in Poland, Sarah visited the concentration camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau—an extremely emotional and moving experience. Overall, Sarah was able to learn an incredible amount about the Czech people and their culture, and she also was able to learn more about her own culture and what it is like to be a stranger in a foreign country. Because of this, upon her return she joined the International Student Organization at Duquesne University and has become particularly close friends with the two Czech born students at Duquesne.
CEE Title: From Prague to Pittsburgh: Human Trafficking Around the Globe
The Duquesne 2015 Cohort CEE was “From Prague to Pittsburgh: Human Trafficking around the Globe.” The event focused on the realities of human trafficking in four countries: The United States, Spain, The Czech Republic, and Tanzania. After explaining the issues that plague each of the nations in which the cohort members studied, one member showed that human trafficking is not only a problem in other countries, but it is also a problem in the United States, and more specifically it is a major issue in Pittsburgh. In Duquesne’s own backyard, there were human trafficking raids within the past year in the Uptown area. The event highlighted the vast differences between these countries but how the horrors of human trafficking can protrude into any nation. The event concluded with an opportunity to join one of Duquesne’s organizations in their community service project, volunteering at a human trafficking victim’s shelter in Pittsburgh.