Coming back from study abroad was definitely the hardest part of my summer. After spending almost three months in beautiful cities built centuries ago and meeting a new abroad family, it was not easy to return to the U.S. Simple things like walking to class seem so different when I’m not hopping on the metro with hundreds of other people speaking a language I don’t understand. I think people underestimate how quickly a new situation can become your norm. I truly felt like a local during my time in Prague and it has driven me to look into possible careers in Europe. Having a difficult time coming home made me realize how much of an impact study abroad had on my life. If you ever have the chance to study abroad I would urge you to take it. The experience was something I could never have expected and I am so grateful I had the opportunity.
As my time in Prague draws nearer to a close, I thought it would be an ideal time to share some of the insight I have acquired during the past 8 weeks I have spent in Europe. One of the things I fantasized about the most about my time abroad was taking speedy weekend trips to the countries surrounding the Czech Republic. Now, the number one thing I have learned in regards to this topic is that it is important to make sure you spend plenty of time in your host country. There are so many hidden gems in Prague, 9 weeks would never be enough to make time for all of them, but I found myself having to rush to make time for all of the things on my must-do list. As for the weekend trips, keep it to one city. If there is no city in europe you can “do in a day”, at least not if you want the full experience. The most exciting part of my weekend trips was finding the underappreciated, scarcely known tidbits of culture that you won’t be exposed to if you don’t get passed the famous landmarks. During my time in Paris, I spent my first two days going to a festival and seeing the major sights such as the Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel tower and the Louvre, and as fun as it was to see the sights I had dreamt of for so long, it was the third day that I will remember the most. I spend my final day walking around the tiny streets visiting formaggeria and bakeries that the locals shopped at, watching the locals at a small city park, and perusing tiny hidden art galleries. Needless to say, sometimes less can be more when it comes to traveling. There is so much to see in the world, but traveling is much more than checking countries off a list, it is about full cultural immersion and connecting to a place vastly different than what you may know.