For more than 25 years, the International Leadership Institute has built bridges between two very different countries: the Czech Republic and the United States of America.
We have helped more than 350 Czech business executives develop and practice leadership skills by arranging US business internships and academic courses, and seminars at American universities and businesses, and by facilitating friendships between people in both countries.
As well, we have helped more than 150 Czech students improve their English language skills by placing the students in US home stays and university classes, and through arranging visits for them to exciting tourist sites, state and national parks, and religious centers in the US.
Our involvement in the Czech Republic has proven to be long-lasting and deep-rooted. The people we've known there and in the US as customers, colleagues, volunteer hosts, university professors delivering classes and seminars, program partners and government officials have all enriched our lives in ways that are hard to enumerate.
But the biggest blessing of these 25 years has been the way that our work has helped us to better appreciate both the Czech Republic and the US, as we stand between these two countries and try to bridge the many gaps of understanding, culture, history, language and values that exist. It's been the experience of a lifetime to work with so many interesting and ambitious people, trying to help them grow as leaders and develop their skills, to help them set goals and achieve them, and to accept their help when we needed it. We have enjoyed every minute!
For photos of our latest trip to Prague, August-September 2014, please go to the page "News and a few photos."
Prague for Beginners, a novel of Prague in 1994, by Sara Tusek
The Castle, Hradcany, in Prague
"Part I: May 1994
Chapter One: Friday at the station and a return ticket to Bamberg
The Prague main train station (Hlavní nádraží) is grimy, dim and full of people crisscrossing the stained concrete floor from all directions. This is the main departure room, one level under the street, with the same charm and brightness as your average New York City subway platform. Tunnels run off to the left, leading to stairways up to the platforms.
I’m looking for the International Ticket Desk, which my friend Marek told me is down here, tucked away under a staircase. The challenge for today is to buy a round-trip ticket to Bamberg, six hours west of Prague, This should not be too difficult and should cost only about $30.00, Marek tells me. But seven months of living here has taught me that what should be easy is usually hard, or even impossible, while what I fear will be difficult is often laughably easy. In this case, I have to find the right counter for International Tickets, which I can only hope is open, and then track down that mythical creature, the ticket agent who speaks English."
Elizabeth goes to Prague to teach English to beginners, but she discovers she's only a beginner when it comes to understanding other people.
Prague for Beginners will be published in Spring 2015 at amazon.com
Sunshine on St Vitus Cathedral, at the Hrad
In Žižkov, near Elizabeth's flat
What was it like to teach English in Prague in 1994? The Communists had only been gone for 5 years, the city was in the throes of adjusting to the open market, and English-speakers were flooding in to teach Czechs how to communicate in the business languages of the world, English. Tennessee-born Elizabeth, not what you'd call a risk-taker by nature, takes her chances on teaching English in Prague!
Prague for Beginners follows Elizabeth as she lives and loves in Prague; she likes to teach beginners, but finds she's the beginner when it comes to stepping outside her own culture and really understanding why she is in Prague.
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