Experience of a Lifetime

Where do I even start! These past two weeks since the last time I blogged have been the most eye opening experiences of my life and something that I will always remember. Let me talk about what has happened since my last post, which seems like yesterday but was actually 2 weeks ago.

The festivities I talked about in my last post was called the Sant Joan Barcelona Festival and the best way for me to describe the area that I went to was just like the 4th of July back in the United States! The group I was with went to the beach and there were thousands of people gathering together to celebrate the Spanish midsummers eve, and there were fireworks EVERYWHERE. So many people with different fireworks from all age ranges, even children that were probably 6 years old were running around lighting fire crackers and have an absolute blast.

After that eventful night, I completed both of my midterms for my classes (which weren’t too difficult) and went on the most interesting, intriguing, culture shock of an experience I have ever seen in my life. A group of six of us flew to Marrakech, Morocco which is in Africa and I had no idea what I had gotten myself into. The first night we got there at midnight and checked into our hostel and the following day we had a long journey south of Marrakech to the Sahara Desert to spend the night in the desert and ride camels! That was one of the coolest things I had done in a very long time, and don’t know if I’ll ever get the opportunity to do it again so I really appreciated it. After we spent the night in the Sahara, we took a bus back to Marrakech and went to the Berber Market in the evening and at night, and this place was one of the most interesting events I have ever seen. First, there are people everywhere and vendors trying to sell you anything you can imagine; food, clothing, purses, plates, earrings, shoes, watches, etc. The list can go on and on because of the mass amounts of vendors in the stalls across the entire market, I couldn’t even put a number on how many stalls there were because there were so many. There were also monkeys, iguanas, turtles, and the most “fascinating” of all was the king cobras that the snake charmers were interacting with. I never got to actually watch them do anything to the snakes because if you barely look at them they charge you for anything, even taking a picture so I didn’t get the chance to actually see the snake in action, but they were everywhere. The following day we took a trip to the Ouzoud Waterfalls, and they were beautiful. We also got to see monkeys up close because they came and stole our food after we were finished eating. After our trip to the waterfalls we made our way back to Marrakech, went to the Berber Market for a few hours and then hopped on a plane back to Barcelona. This trip to Africa might be the most eye-opening experience I will ever have, because it makes me realize how privileged so many people are in the United States without even knowing it. So many Americans complain about the smallest things such as no air constituting in their cars, when we should appreciate the fact that we have that car to get us from place to place. During our trip we learned that these people in Africa have to walk 6 kilometers (roughly 4 miles) a day just for fresh water and their houses are made out of dried mud with their air conditioning being holes in the wall for air to flow through. It was such a culture shock and made me appreciate the smallest things in the United States so much more that so many people take for granted.

The following weekend a group of four of us traveled to Rome, Italy which was nothing like Morocco. In fact, it was totally different because of all the rich history this city offers to everyone who visits. During my stay I visited the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Trajan Baths, the Trajan Column, the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, the Altare della Patria, the Roman Forums, Palatine Hill, the Sistine Chapel, St. Peters Basilica, Vatican City and many other places. Rome was a great trip that I would recommend to everyone because of the amount of knowledge you can gain. I would definitely go back because I was there for three days and still feel like I could have seen more. If you go, be sure to give yourself enough time to see everything!

This upcoming weekend our group is visiting the South of France and then the next week we have finals and then I’m flying back to the United States. I’m shocked how fast these 5 weeks have gone because I have met so many amazing people and done so many amazing things, I’m sad it’s coming to an end. I would highly recommend that if given the opportunity, take advantage of studying abroad because you can learn so much about yourself, your culture, you meet so many people, and it’s fun! The next time I blog will probably be my last day in Europe or when I’m back in the United States!

Hasta luego,

Matt Schafer


I have been in Prague for 3 weeks now and I couldn’t love it any more. Prague is a very clean city with unbelievable sights. People here do no speak as much English as I was expecting so that has been hard to get used to. Younger people are usually pretty nice if you ask them for help translating something though. Getting around the city is very easy, it only took me about a couple of days to understand how the tram and metro worked. I would say the most important thing if coming to Prague would be to try and learn the public transportation as fast as possible, and always have a map on you the first week because thats the easiest way to learn the city. A important tip is to get the AAA taxi app for Prague, you press a button on the app and a taxi will show up in less than 5 minutes usually. Also if you use the app the transaction is registered with the store so the taxi driver has to charge the right price, and he can’t rip you off.

We have done something completely different every day and we still have so much to see! Some things we have done so far include a boat cruise down the river at night, going to beer tasting event at the Royal Gardens, and toured the castle.

I honestly believe Prague is the best place to study abroad because its a safe place to be with plenty to do. Also its right in the middle of Europe so traveling to other countries is very easy. If not studying in Prague, do yourself a favor and at least visit it!