university

Iva on Cafedu – Prague’s popular study café

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As someone who both works and studies, I find it extremely hard at the end of the day to actually open up a textbook, let alone even think about studying at all. A friend of mine who was a med student kept talking about this café next to Muzeum metro station that I had to try out. So one day I finally bit the bullet and checked out Cafedu, as well as the studyroom upstairs. Low and behold, I actually got some work done. The coffee is good, the decor nice, and there are so many windows to let in natural light and keep you sane while you’re furiously cramming before an exam. But I think the best thing for me is the diversity. So many different languages, and so many different students – but we all have one thing in common, we’re all freaking out about that work we’ve left until the last minute.. It sounds bad, but it makes me more comfortable when other people are stressing about this stuff rather than just myself 😉 The studyroom is open 24 hours and is extremely affordable, as is the café downstairs. Cafedu recently celebrated their first birthday with an awesome party hosted by owner and founder Iva Pejsarová. Check out our interview with Iva on her inspiration and journey of opening the café.

Are you from Prague originally?

Yes, I am. Born and bred.

Tell us a bit about your childhood..

I grew up with my mom and twin brother in the southern suburbs of Prague. I think I had a great childhood, I had many cool friends, there was no Facebook yet so I think growing up was a bit easier. I spent a lot of time outside and also did quite well at school. Just a normal happy childhood.

What did you want to be when you were young?

As far as I remember I wanted to be a psychologist. When I grew up a bit and was choosing my major at university, I really wanted to work for the United Nations.

Very nice, and you have a twin brother, I’ve always wanted a twin. Tell us about it..

It’s just a “normal thing” for me to have a twin… I’ve never not had a twin brother, so it’s hard to say how different it is. We were very close until we turned 11 – until then we spent 99% of our time together. We went to the same kindergarden, the same school, the same class… So being twins allowed us to spend A LOT of time together which definitely makes people close (but of course we fought like crazy a lot too!). I went to a different school at the age of 11 and that seperated us a little bit. But all in all, I think we are quite close – and Cafedu has actually forced us back together a little bit and I am really quite grateful for that :).

How did you get the idea to open this cafe? Tell us a bit about the process.

When I studied abroad, I was really inspired by my classmates. I thought how important it is to have such interesting and inspiring people around oneself, people who represent good values. We spent quite a lot of time at the university library that was open nonstop, and since I’m not a morning person, I spent a lot of nights there. I missed this motivating environment when I returned to Prague and felt that Czech students were starting to change their approach to studying and were becoming more active. So the main idea was to open a nonstop studyroom that would be alive with students; the coffee bar was just a necessary thing to cover the expenses. On the other hand, a coffee place can provide another cozy place to study/work in that it is more lively and “louder”, so it took up its own role and became an indispensable part of the whole project. Having had absolutely zero experience with business or coffee, you can imagine that the whole process was quite overwhelming.

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Well, you certainly did a good job. What different kinds of students are in there?

Mostly human. A couple of puppies visit us as well from time to time 🙂 There are lots of medical students, law students, economics and natural science students. Mostly studying at university – we don’t have that many high school students showing up. There are people who come in groups, but there are also “loners”. I think about half of them are foreign and half are Czech.

Why is it better than or different to other study places?

The studyroom is open nonstop. You can bring coffee, drinks or food up there (but we really prefer if people buy those things downstairs at the coffee bar, as that’s a way to support us – the rent and all the service around the studyroom are quite expensive). You can meet a bunch of really cool people there and make new friends. There are power points at every table and the tables are large enough for all your notebooks/laptops etc. (even in the coffee room). It’s a just a youthful, lively and inspirational place.

What did you study?

I studied economics. In fact, I’m still a student.

Do you think certain students have a certain look? For example do you ever laugh and think “he’s definitely a med student, or she’s definitely studying law”?

Of course! But you cannot always tell and I misjudge people a lot. But yes, mathematicians, computer-scientists and lawyers may give themselves away ;).

Will you open another cafe?

Seeing how nicely Cafedu was accepted and how people are really using it, I think it may be a good idea to expand.

Where do you like to hang out in Prague?

That’s a good question! In fact, I don’t hang out that much anywhere. I do meet with my girlfriends in one of the places in the southern suburbs where we all come from. Nonetheless, we keep telling ourselves we need to explore much more! When the weather is nice, I like to stay out, so I’m usually looking for outside seating in Prague’s parks.

How would you describe Prague?

A beautiful, historical, cozy and open-minded home.

If you could go back in time and see anything, what would you choose to see?

Wow, that’s a very difficult question! Maybe one of these “unfortunately-we-will-never-find-outs”. Maybe the Big Bang… if there was any…from a safe “distance”.

What’s your favourite word in Czech and in English?

Never thought about it… but the first things that come to mind are: koblížek (donut) and fun.

For more info on Cafedu check out their Facebook

Written and photographed by Ryan Keating-Lambert.

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