Wrapping Up Prague

My time here in Prague is wrapping up quickly, and it’s so bittersweet. Although I miss my animals and friends/family, I absolutely love the culture, food, and overall atmosphere so much in Prague. I’ve been able to try so many new things and new experiences I would never be able to get in the US, and I’m just so thankful I was able to go on this trip. My classes went really well, and it was awesome to be able to meet some locals through the school. Although my program technically ends this Saturday, I decided to extend my trip by a few days to travel to Amsterdam which I’m very excited about.

My experience here has made me want to investigate coming back next year, possibly even for a potential career. The food is so fresh and delicious, I’ve had the best fruit of my life here! I’ve been able to try pork knuckle, beef goulash, kebabs, roasted duck, the list goes on… The travel is also so much cheaper, I can’t believe I went to Budapest for only 40 euros round trip! Budapest was so beautiful; we visited many gorgeous buildings such as the Parliament House and Fishermen’s Bastion. The night life was a lot of fun as well, but I still love Prague the most. So thankful this was the city I chose to spend the majority of my nine weeks here!

To say the time has flown by is a huge understatement. When I officially signed up, 9 weeks seemed like a long time. I’ve since been in Prague for 5 weeks, and it only feels like 2! I’ve been travelling on the weekends, visiting Germany, Poland, and Italy. Although they’ve all been beautiful in their own way, I’m so glad I’ve loved Prague the most.

Munich and Nuremberg in Germany were gorgeous, though I did prefer Munich more since it had more things to do. Italy was gorgeous but pricey. Rome was very touristy so I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would, but Florence was gorgeous and had a lot to do! Venice was also beautiful, and of course I took a gondola ride. The best advice I have for those visiting Italy would be to haggle with the street vendors or pretty much anyone who tries to sell you something, you can typically get a few euros off the price. In Poland, I stayed right by the Wawel Castle which was beautiful, walked around downtown, stumbled upon a Polish festival which was a lot of fun, and then did a tour of Auschwitz. I HIGHLY recommend anyone visiting Europe to walk through Auschwitz; it was incredibly emotional and very intense, but I learned so much more about the history than I ever learned in class.

Back in Prague, the numerous museums here have been fascinating—Medieval Torture museum, Museum of Communism, Franz Kafka museum. I have also gone to the Prague zoo and see a ballet of Franz Kafka’s The Trial. I had never seen a ballet before, and it was such a cool experience! Even though I’ve been here over a month, there is still so much to do—the activities never stop!

Off to Prague!

When I first decided to study abroad, I had no idea what it all entailed. Next thing I know, I’ve been thrown into this crazy process of preparing to go abroad. I decided on the Czech Republic for 9 weeks. I had no idea what to expect. Frankly, I didn’t think a whole lot about what it was like once I got over here. I was too preoccupied trying to make sure I had all my paperwork and everything turned in. Many were shocked I chose such a long program even though I didn’t know anyone and had never been to Europe before, but I’m incredibly happy with my decision. My first piece of advice? Don’t wait on friends to commit with you to go.

Force yourself completely out of your comfort zone. In my third party program’s words, “You paid to come over here and immerse yourself in a completely new culture. You’re going to be uncomfortable at times, and that’s ok. It’s how you handle being uncomfortable that helps you grow as an individual.” It’s two days in, and I have already made numerous friends within my program and we’re all having a blast! I have toured many parts of the city already including the Lennon Wall, Charles Bridge, and Prague Castle. Most of the other students came by themselves as well, so we are all looking to make friends on the fly. My second piece of advice? Go on spontaneous adventures! Whether it’s to try a new restaurant or visit a historical site, the spontaneous adventures have a tendency to be the best adventures!

Although Europe has some similarities with America, it most definitely has its differences. In housing, we have no clothes dryer and no A/C. The bathrooms are much smaller, but it makes you realize how “extra” America can be with housing. At first I thought the Czechs seemed stand-offish, but I learned they simply don’t interact how Americans do. As Americans, we tend to smile a lot, show lots of emotion, and be friendly to strangers. The Czechs are not stand-offish at all, they simply have their own day to go about and respect that you do too. That being said, whenever I have needed help with the tram or public transportation, they have always been very willing to help me out! There is a lot more English speakers than I expected, but I’m of course trying my hand at Czech. It’s a bit of a struggle currently, but I’m hoping I’ll get there. My third piece of advice? Do your best to learn the native language! You may feel like you’re butchering their language (I know I do!), but they seem to truly appreciate our efforts.

I’m already loving it here, I can’t wait to see where the rest of this adventure takes me!