This is the fourth and last part of a multi-part series chronicling Zoe Monahan’s travels to the ICMA International Regional Summit.
The last few days of my travels were full of study tours to community’s north and south of Prague as well as Bratislava, Slovakia.
In northern Bohemia, we visited the City of Děčín. The City is located along the Labe River with a population of about 50,000 residents. We had the opportunity to take a river boat cruise to see the landscape, international bike trail and rock climbing areas. The international bike trail connects Germany to the Czech Republic. This community is an outdoor enthusiast dream!
In southern Bohemia, we visited the Town of Český Krumlov which is a lovely community with a growing number of tourists. They sit along the Vitava River where you can find people rafting and kayaking. The history of the community is still visible today, with a castle on the hill and housing below.
We also visited the Town of Tábor which is a lovely community with a local chocolate museum. The museum has chocolate and marzipan art including hats, cars and a life sized chocolate Jaromír Jágr sculpture! We finished up the day at a medieval themed dinner and visit to the film’s armory. The armory included all kinds of armor and weapons created for movies. Many of the items were made in the Czech Republic and some of the movies were filmed in the Country as well.
The last study tour was to Bratislava, Slovakia. The town is beautiful and we had the opportunity to see all of the highlights. The City has a walkable old town area with public art and a castle. The public art includes a statue of Napoleon and a man coming out of a manhole. We also had the opportunity to go to the top of the “UFO”, similar to the Space Needle, to see outstanding views Bratislava.
These two countries have a lot to offer and interesting forms of government. In addition, the knowledge I gained, I also had the opportunity to meet some incredible local government professionals from the United States, Europe and Australia. I was reminded of the importance of networking in this profession. I was pleased to have the opportunity to learn from a number of conference participants and speakers. It can be hard to interact with new people at conferences since we naturally gravitate towards the colleagues we already know. This experience reminded me about the importance of getting out of my comfort zone and connecting with new people. You never know who you will meet!
I would not have had this opportunity without the generous scholarship that I received from ICMA. ICMA offers two scholarships for the International Regional Summit every year. The John Garvey Scholarship, which I received, is for early career professionals and the William H. Hansell, Jr. Scholarship which is available for mid- career professionals. You can learn more about these scholarship opportunities online here.
My incredible journey in the Czech Republic and Slovakia has come to an end. It was an amazing adventure in exploring new cities, learning and networking. I hope these updates have been interesting and valuable to you. Thank you for following my travels to the 2016 ICMA International Regional Summit!