UMD: A Globally Connected University
SIT Study Abroad Czech Republic: Arts and Social Change
Explore the Czech Republic’s contemporary art scene and the role of art as a social change agent throughout the country’s history.
- Study with a dynamic community of visual, performing, and literary artists, where art and creative dissent have played a decisive role in shaping social and political change.
- Choose to do either an arts-based or field-based research project.
- Go on excursions to Poland, Slovakia, the former Sudetenland, and Bohemia or Moravia.
- Explore the new challenges facing artists and communities today as a result of globalization and tourism.
- Live in beautiful Prague.
- Participate in civic initiatives that draw upon the creative legacy of Czech underground culture.
- Take part in workshops on ceramics, bookmaking, stop-motion animation, traditional crafts, or architecture.
Please visit the SIT Study Abroad website for details on the program courses (including syllabi), educational excursions, and housing.
Key Topics of Study
- The transformative role of artists and civic leaders in a new democracy
- Critical challenges associated with liberal democracy and the legacy of communism
- Art in relation to open borders, consumerism, and the free market of post-communist Europe
- The relationship between art, politics, and society in the country’s historic and contemporary contexts
Independent Study Project
During the final month of the semester, you will pursue an Independent Study Project (ISP). The ISP gives you a unique opportunity to work directly with professional artists or social innovators to produce a creative project or to critically examine a topic, situation, or community related to the arts or social change in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, or Poland.
Artists, civil society activists, professors, and specialists will help you in the development and implementation of your ISP, which may include daily work with an organization or school or a creative component in visual arts, creative writing, or theater.
Sample topic areas:
- Alternative culture spaces in Prague today
- Memory and memorials to the 1989 Velvet Revolution
- Creative alternatives to institutionalized care for citizens with mental disabilities
- Civic initiatives and the Prague public transport system
- The socialist-era legacy of community centers for children and youth
- The impact of education in secret from members of the Czech Underground at Charles University
- Methods and mechanics of dissent through underground literature
- Legacy of the Czech Underground music scene today
- Czech perspectives and reactions to Putin’s warfare tactics in the Ukraine
Creative projects have included:
- Sculpture and ceramic vessels inspired by the Celts of Central Europe
- Drawings and sculptures inspired by interviews with Czech artists on the topic of public/private dichotomies
- Contemporary dance inspired by Slovak traditional dance
- A CD of Czech folk songs produced with a Czech musical trio
- A theater performance based on contemporary Czech mime and circus acts
- A screenplay inspired by Czech absurdist literature
- A graphic design project inspired by Czech cubist architecture
- Fashion designs using traditional Slovak weaving traditions
Be sure to discuss how study abroad costs are handled at your school with your study abroad advisor.
SIT tuition and room and board fees include the following:
- All educational costs, including educational excursions
- All accommodations and meals for the full program duration
- Transportation to and from the airport, and on all educational excursions
- Health and accident insurance
- SIT awards nearly $1.6 million in scholarships and grants annually.
- All scholarships and grants are need-based.
- Awards generally range from $500 to $5,000.
- The SIT Pell Grant Match provides matching grants to all students receiving Federal Pell Grant funding when it is applied to an SIT Study Abroad semester program.
- Contact the financial aid and/or study abroad office(s) at your college or university to learn if your school’s scholarships and grants and federal and state aid programs can be applied to an SIT Study Abroad program.
Contact SIT Study Abroad
To apply to this program, you must complete two main steps:
- Submit a UMD approval application - start by clicking “apply now” at the top of this page. This application allows UMD Education Abroad to approve your study abroad program selection so you may earn credit in a program outside of UMD.
This application will require you to meet with your EA advisor, who will communicate important details related to participating in this program. If you do not complete this application by the stated deadline, you may not receive credit for your study abroad program and will lose your student status for the time you are not studying at UMD.
- Apply directly to the program provider. After receiving UMD approval, you should submit the program application directly to the program sponsor by their deadline. Your program sponsor will determine your official acceptance to a program. You must adhere to the provider's timeline, eligibility standards, and application requirements.
After being accepted to your program, your EA advisor will guide you through the course pre-approval process where you will determine which credits you will fulfill abroad.
UMD partners with SIT to offer affiliate program options to UMD students across the globe. You will maintain your UMD student status while abroad and you will work directly with SIT program staff as a participant on their program. Your EA advisor will assist you with this process and can answer questions you may have about the application process.
Academics on an SIT program
Visit the Academics & Study Abroad page which outlines key considerations for your academic planning as you navigate different phases of study abroad:
- Pre-Departure Course Selection & Approval
- Finalizing Course Enrollment Abroad
- Transcripts and Credits on your UMD Record
Browse UMD course evaluations in the Study Abroad Course Database:
There may be other course offerings on this program that are not currently listed in the Study Abroad Course Database (SACD). If you are interested in taking a course not listed in the SACD, please submit a transfer credit evaluation request.
Costs & Billing for an SIT program
The affiliate program costs apply to this program. Once accepted into a program by SIT, you will pay a $400 deposit to SIT directly to confirm your participation. The remaining SIT fees, including housing, will be billed directly to your UMD student account. You will be able to apply any financial aid you receive from UMD towards these charges.
All UMD students studying abroad with SIT are automatically eligible for the $1,500 Big Ten Academic Alliance (BTAA) scholarship. Please see below for additional information about scholarship opportunities.
Scholarships for this program are available through the UMD Education Abroad Scholarship and for up to a maximum of $6,000 in SIT Scholarships & Grants, including need-based awards, and automatic SIT scholarships and awards for UMD students.
- *Guaranteed* $1,500 SIT-UMD scholarship - no application needed. Scholarship will reflect as a discount on the program fee charged to your UMD account.
- SIT Pell Grant Match Award- For students receiving Federal Pell Grant funding for the term of study abroad with SIT, SIT will match this funding amount dollar for dollar and apply this as a discount to your program fee. You must complete the scholarship/financial aid portion of the SIT program application to receive this award. For more information, review the SIT scholarships and financial aid web page.
- $3,000 SIT-UMD scholarships - must submit the UMD Education Abroad Fund form in your program application in MyEA.
- Applies to non-Europe semester-length programs only.
- Students must have a completed FAFSA on file.
- Awards based on financial need. Preference given to students traditionally underrepresented in study abroad, specifically first generation college students and minorities.
- Additional SIT scholarships - students with unmet financial need can be considered for additional SIT scholarships. You must complete the scholarship/financial aid portion of the SIT program application to receive this award. For more information, review the SIT scholarships and financial aid web page.