Charles Bridge in Prague

2023 Adventure #2: Cultural Czechia

Location:  Prague, with day-trips to other towns                       

Adventure Dates (to be confirmed):  May 30-June 22, 2023 (including travel days)

Group Leaders:  Prof. John Black, Constance Kovalenka

Adventures in Mind is VIU's educational travel program for the community. It will appeal to life-long learners who are inquisitive, open-minded and looking beyond the usual tourist experience. It is open to free spirits of all ages: a level of physical and mental fitness is highly advisable; curiosity and a sense of community are essential!

Join us in Prague to discover one among the most fascinating national cultures of Central Europe. The city and the Czech lands around it witnessed tremendous changes from the religious wars of the late Renaissance, through the domination of the Hapsburg Empire and the emergence of a nationalist movement in the 19th century, to 20th-century periods of occupation and independence.

Prague today is a cosmopolitan city whose historic buildings and streets echo with the voices of astronomers Brahe and Kepler, composers Dusík, Mozart, Smetana, Dvorák and Janácek, writers Kafka, Rilke, Capek and Kundera, painters Mucha, Schiele and Kokoschka, and playwright and political icon Vaclav Havel.

Our Adventure, involving 10-15 participants, will appeal to those who want an educational component to their travel, but are not interested in university credit. Activities will include visits to buildings, galleries, concerts and other sites of cultural interest, as well as informal seminars in which participants, group leaders and local academics share their understanding of and responses to Czech history and culture.

Apply for the Cultural Czechia 2023 Adventure

Group Leaders

Dr. John Black taught in and co-ordinated the Liberal Studies Abroad credit program from its inception in 1997 until his retirement in 2017. He has Master's degrees from Cambridge and Simon Fraser, and a PhD from UBC, all in Philosophy. He has travelled extensively in Europe, and has led many study groups to Italy, England and the Czech Republic. He values Prague in particular because of the encounters possible there with art, architecture, literature and music across seven centuries of history.

Constance Kovalenka is a graduate of the Liberal Studies BA program at VIU, and an equally experienced European traveller. Aside from her strong connection with visual art, she will bring to the Adventure an unerring eye for interesting places to eat, drink, shop, meet cats and hang out. 

Tentative Itinerary

The schedule below is provisional, and will be updated in light of local contingencies as departure approaches. It will however give you a general idea of what to expect. Additional seminar discussions and other activities will be added as required.

Day 0     Leave Canada
Day 1     Arrive Prague; settle into accommodation
Day 2     Orientation; Lecture on Czech History; Group Lunch; Vysehrad - St. Martin's Rotunda
Day 3     Prague Castle - St. George's Basilica, St. Vitus'  Cathedral
Day 4     Belvedere; Wallenstein Palace and Gardens; Free Afternoon
Day 5     Free Day
Day 6      Lecture on Czech Religious History; Walk in the Historic Centre
Day 7      St. Agnes' Convent; Jewish Quarter; Klementinum
Day 8      Mozart Museum; Church of St. Mikulase
Day 9      Day Trip to Hluboka
Day 10   TBA 
Day 11    Free Day
Day 12    Free Day
Day 13    Mucha Museum; Municipal House
Day 14    Lecture/Seminar on Franz Kafka; Kafka Museum
Day 15    Trade Fair Palace (Gallery of Modern Art)
Day 16    Seminar on Karel Capek; Kampa Island, Park and Gallery
Day 17    Day Trip TBD
Day 18    Free Day
Day 19    Free Day
Day 20    Seminar on Czech Music; Dvorák Museum, Opera
Day 21    River Trip; Final Dinner
Day 22    Free Day
Day 23    Leave Prague

The Adventure will begin with a number of optional preparatory sessions in Nanaimo before departure. These will provide background on the themes of the program and an opportunity to get to know your colleagues.

Inclusive Packages

Package costs include tuition fees, accommodation, all program-related travel within Czechia, tourist guides, educational materials, and admissions to cultural sites and events. Participants must arrange their own air travel to Prague and have adequate travel insurance, including medical. Food is not included, but accommodation is in apartments which have kitchens, so that food costs are minimal.

Adventures in Mind is a not-for-profit initiative of Vancouver Island University: all effort is made to keep costs as low as possible. Payments are refundable only in case of cancellation by VIU.

Program Fee: $4995

Shared Accommodation (Apartment for 3-4 people, with living room, kitchen and bathroom(s); share a bedroom with one other person): included in program fee.
Single Supplement: up to $1500, TBD
Private One-Bedroom Apartments (for one or two) may possibly be available: cost TBD.

Payment Schedule

In order to allow us to make a decision to proceed with the Adventure, which depends upon enrolment, and to make bookings, it is essential that we are able to cover our overheads well in advance of leaving Canada. The following payment schedule is therefore necessary:

  1. Within two weeks of notification of admission: commitment fee of $500.
  2. Due December 15, 2022: booking deposit of $2000.
  3. Due January 15, 2023: payment of remaining balance.

Provided you are accepted into Adventures in Mind, all payments are non-refundable, except in case of cancellation of the Adventure by Vancouver Island University.

Air Travel

Participants must arrange their own air travel, but should not do so until they receive official word (probably in January 2023) that the Adventure will proceed. Before departure you will be given instructions on what to do on arrival in Prague.

Insurance

ALL participants under 70 must purchase travel medical insurance in Vancouver Island University's mandatory comprehensive group plan: for details go to VIU Education Abroad Insurance. Because it is a group plan the rates are very reasonable.

Those 70 or over may choose whether or not to participate in this particular plan, but must in any case have comparable coverage for the duration of the Adventure; before departure they must provide program personnel with details of their insurance policies and sign an exemption form.

Program staff will assist you in making the necessary applications for insurance, or for the exemption where applicable. Please do not buy insurance until the Adventure has been confirmed by VIU. 

You are strongly advised to obtain coverage for trip interruption and cancellation as well as travel medical insurance.

For medical, safety and other advice on travelling overseas, please visit the  website Canadian federal government website.

Passports and Visas

A passport valid until three months after the intended date of departure is required to enter Czechia as a visitor. Canadian passport-holders do not require a visa for stays up to 90 days. On arrival at Czech Immigration, you may be asked to show your return ticket and proof of sufficient funds to support your stay: a recent bank statement and credit cards might be useful. Non-Canadians, depending on nationality, may need a visitor's visa. For details, please consult the Czech Embassy in Ottawa.

Important Notice

A level of physical and medical fitness is required to get the most out of the Adventure. Some of the sites visited are accessible only on foot (some may not be wheelchair-accessible), and some visits may require lengthy periods of walking and standing. On arrival and departure you will have to carry your own luggage. If you have any limitations or concerns in this area, please consult Adventures in Mind personnel before applying.

Admission Process

To discuss your interest in the 2023 Adventure please email AdventuresInMind@viu.ca

Apply for the Cultural Czechia 2023 Adventure

Adventures in Mind is a VIU program and a student record will be created for you if you don’t already have one.

You will be notified by mail when you are accepted into the Adventures in Mind program.
A $500 commitment fee will be payable within 2 weeks of your acceptance. Full details on next steps, including how to pay the commitment fee, will be included in your Letter of Acceptance.