Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore. – Andre Gide.
At the beginning of the 19th century, a Frenchman thought it was a good idea to use a camera obscura to capture images. That man was Joseph Nicéphore Niépce and is widely regarded as one of the pioneers of photography, one of the finest art expressions. Little did he know that more than 200 years later, students from different countries would benefit from his trailblazing efforts. They would use cameras to record experiences and memories in the heart of the Czech Republic, Prague. Photographer Destin Sparks says that photography is the art of making memories tangible. On January 27th, this was the focus of our students in Prague: making memories tangible.
Castles, Reformation, and Prehistory
The capital of the Czech Republic has a long history. The first sign of settlement in what today is Prague has been traced to the 9th century. Over the centuries, the city was the stage for many critical events that shaped Europe and the world. From Paleolithic relics to the first events of the Reformation at the beginning of the 1400s and the offspring of the Industrial Revolution, Prague has marked its place in history. Cathedrals, castles, and unique gastronomy – our students had tasted it all.
Even European students were amazed by the architecture of the city. “Prague surprised me. I wasn’t expecting so many cathedrals, big streets, and just beautiful architecture. My favorite spot was the large cathedrals atop the hill,” says Iker from Spain. Every building carries a unique story behind its construction, amazing our students. As a capital city, Prague offers a variety of cuisines from around the world. From Czech to Hungarian, students tasted desserts and dishes only found in Prague. These experiences marked our students deeply and strengthened their relationships.
Our students divided themselves and planned together how they would explore the city. Most of them were traveling out of their country for the first time, and for many, it was also their first time in the Czech Republic. They were not only exploring the city but also hanging out together and making memories that would last a lifetime. We hope they keep those bonds forever. They followed their own pace and visited what they were interested in within the city. As they unfolded this new world, they made sure everything was registered: photos and photos and more photos of our students interacting with each other and the city’s iconic places. The options were endless, from Charles Bridge (Prague’s most ancient bridge) to the notorious Orloj watch. Our students were seeing and photographing everything they could.
They will keep these memories with them forever. French photographer Marc Riboud once observed, “Taking pictures is savoring life intensely, every hundredth of a second.” But not only the historical places were an attraction. Victor from Brazil highlighted how friendly and kind the inhabitants treated them. He was surprised by how they answered their questions and guided them. A student from Ukraine, Margo, was more inclined to learn about life in Prague. In a nutshell, our students enjoyed it as much as they could. Like many European capitals, Prague has the unique talent to combine ancient architecture with modern buildings. Students can shoot a video at Prague Castle, whose construction was finished in the 9th Century, to the Dancing House, designed by the Czech architect Vlado Milunic. This combination – classic and modern – has astonished our students. Marcos from Brazil expressed his excitement, saying, ‘The mesmerizing mix of history and contemporary vibes makes every corner a thrilling adventure. I’m beyond excited to revisit and uncover even more hidden gems.’ Emmanuel From Colombia also felt the historical impact the city provoked on him, “I found Prague dazzling. The buildings and streets are very clean and interesting. The people are friendly and there are many historical and cultural sites to visit and learn more about the history of the city.”
These words were just an appetizer for the entire experience Cumorah Academy’s students had on this memorable day in Prague. By wandering around the capital city, they fulfilled many dreams. It is the first time for most in Europe.
Cumorah Academy desires that all their dreams come true. We want them to grow professionally, spiritually, and intellectually. But also, to make new friends. And there is no better way to know someone while touring. This feeling was perfectly conveyed by an unknown author who wisely observed:
Friends who travel together, stay together.
Written by Fernando Ferreira Jr. Supports by Delton Sambo.