Catching a game of Hockey in Prague

Sept. 30

On Tuesday afternoon—our last in Prague—Pat and I were given the chance to tag along with a group of students at the CERGE Economics Institute to a hockey match between Prague’s home team and the team from the Czech equivalent of Pittsburgh. Whatever it was called, it was the first town I’ve ever been told “you don’t want to go there.” Jordan, CERGE’s program coordinator had a train layover there once, and outlined quite a dire picture of the steel town.

But back to the hockey. My first thoughts went to how there was hardly a clear spot on the ice. Capitalism has hit this country hard, and nearly every square inch of the ice, jerseys, and even ref uniforms is covered in some sort of advertisement or another.  Then it became quickly apparent that this type of hockey has a touch more finesse than it’s North American counterpart. The rink is bigger, so the same number of people split a much larger playing field. Even so, there is substantial contact, a welcome breath of fresh violence, er, air, after watching soccer for the last few weeks. If someone is hurt on the ice, they get themselves up and skate off rather than beg for a penalty.

Besides the written and spoken language in this hockey arena, nearly everything was the same as one back in Everett, Washington. You could still get brats and beers, and even Haagen-Dazs. And it was fun to watch the Czech children right across the aisle from us picking up the rules being explained by their father.  Hockey is one more thing, to me, that continuously shrinks this world. The fans are just as rabid as those of the Seattle Thunderbirds, and their air horns are just as obnoxious. But time and again, I’ve found I really enjoy being in the presence of international communities excited about anything; whether it’s politics, or sports games, or even how good a beer tastes, being in the crowd makes you one of them regardless of the language barrier. 


Alison Wendler, Universsity of Washington

Happy Backpackers

I had an absolutely amazing time on my WSA trip to Krakow, Poland. I felt like a got a lot out of my money and it was so nice not to have to worry about anything because WSA takes care of it all. Our guide was absolutely fantastic and was there with us for everything we needed-it was great to have someone around with you who knew the city so well. This is definitely a trip I will never forget. I already want to start planning my next WSA trip. What amazing destination to pick next is the hard part!

Alison Wendler, Universsity of Washington ~ National University of Ireland, Galway, Spring 2016

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