Filip Ryant [2008-2014], Michal Kowalski [2015 - ]
When Professors George Demko and Ivan Bicik founded the American Term (The Prague Foreign Study Program) in 1994 we were certain then that our mission would be a successful and valuable intellectual venture for faculty and students alike. The faculty of both institutions have made a long-term and serious commitment to the quality and rigor of our joint efforts. This commitment has also included flexibility and continual evaluation and re-ordering of components of the program. As each year concludes successfully, we all wish the American Term, "sto let"- a hundred more years!

The so-called "American term" has taken place annually at the Faculty of Natural Science at Charles University since 1994. It is administered by Charles University in Prague in co-operation with Dartmouth College (New Hampshire, USA) on the basis of agreement signed in 1993. Dartmouth College is ranked as one of the most prestigious universities (Ivy League) in the United States of America and Charles University is the oldest and one of the most distinguished universities in Central Europe.

The main goal of the teaching and research program of the American term is to provide 10-20 American students of geography with an integrated view of the geography of the Czech Republic in the context of the development of contemporary Europe, with a special focus on the transformation processes of the Central and Eastern European countries and their harmonization with the EU structures. The program includes lectures, field work and research projects.

From the Czech perspective, international co-operation with a prestigious American university opens new and enriching learning experience and the possibility to develop new academic and personal connections. Joint research and related exchanges are also a future possibility as a consequence of the program. Each year, one member of the Czech faculty has the opportunity to make a short-term visit to Dartmouth College. Another benefit of the program is the possibility for Czech students and professors to improve their English through daily contact with American English and the opportunity to learn about American culture. A very positive response to the American term has established an excellent reputation for the Czech Republic, Charles University, the Faculty of Science and Czech geography as a whole in the USA.

Program structure

Students in their second or third year of undergraduate study at Dartmouth College are eligible to participate in the American term. The program begins with a one-week intensive course in Czech language and an opportunity for students to orient themselves in Prague. This is followed by a one-month block of lectures in English with a related set of special field trips to complement the lectures. Students complete individual research projects during the last month of the program.

Particular emphasis is placed on the geographical aspects of the transformation of Czech society and economy, and accession to the European Union. On the whole, more than 20 lectures are given each year covering a diversity of topics (each 120 minute lecture includes time for discussion). The majority of the lecturers are members of the Department of Social Geography and Regional Development of Charles University.

Several one-day, half-day and multi-day excursions run parallel to the lectures. They are organized so as to complement lectures and discussions and document a variety of topics discussed in the lectures. The final and main focus for the students is their individual research project. Through knowledge and experience gained in readings, lectures and field trips along with consultations with Czech scholars and with assistance from Czech students, Dartmouth students are required to produce a research project. The American term culminates with the public oral defense of the students´ completed research projects.

A variety of social, cultural and sporting events are also provided throughout the duration of the American term for both professors and students. Some examples of popular events include: concerts at the Prague Spring music festival, soccer and ice-hockey matches, and canoeing down the Sázava river. On the weekends, students have the opportunity to visit other countries in Europe or get to know life in Czechia together with their Czech friends.