A Letter to Myself Regarding Study Abroad

Dear Laura,

First thing: calm down. You are panicking thinking everything will go horribly wrong. You couldn’t be more wrong about that. You will come out of this experience more confident and more certain that you can do anything than you have ever been in your life. This is the trip of a lifetime and you are going to love every minute of it. Relax, breathe and enjoy it, it goes by way too fast.

Second: learn a little Czech before you go. I know it seems impossible because there are so many consonants and you have no idea how to pronounce anything you’re reading but the basics (hello, thank you, etc.) are so helpful and there are a lot more resources available than you think. Orientation your first full day will be a lot less stressful if you have a head start on the language portion.

Third: don’t panic about the packing. I know you are worried about it but you actually do a pretty darn good job. Maybe throw a pair of capris in there, I’m not sure what I was thinking not including those, but otherwise well done. And that lightweight suitcase was an amazing investment, never let anyone tell you otherwise.

Fourth: Travel. Just travel as much and as many places as you can. The only thing I regret about this trip is not taking the opportunity to travel even more than I did. And when you aren’t traveling remember that wandering the city is a valid pastime. There are tons of museums and monuments to visit and look at and there are so many beautiful things to see while just walking down the street. Find yourself a walking tour or a list of attractions and get out there.

Fifth: The public transportation system is awesome. I know it seems intimidating and you aren’t sure you will ever understand the tram schedules. It’s way simpler than you think, and you will be able to go so many places you could never find on foot. You will amaze yourself with how well you can navigate without google maps or anyone else’s help. You’ll even end up giving people directions a few times.

Sixth: You can be self-sufficient. You don’t need your family or your friends to do things. You can go out and navigate and visit places all by yourself and nothing bad will happen. Your confidence gets so much better once you realize that. Just go for it and you will amaze yourself with what you can do on your own. And once you realize you can do it by yourself in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language, know that it only gets easier when you get home. The extra independence and confidence doesn’t end when you leave Prague.

Seventh, and last: don’t forget to have fun. Sure, you’re there to study and to travel but the underlying aim to this whole trip is to have fun. You will get through the stress and the doubt and you will be stronger for it, but the point isn’t to struggle through it. The point is to enjoy it.

Be safe. Have fun. And enjoy every minute of it. I know I did,


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