I have always talked about going out and seeing the world. “When I was older, professional, wealthier, etc,” I thought. However, I didn’t know it would be so soon. The concept of studying abroad had always floated around in my brain, but I hadn’t truly thought about it until one of my professors brought up an opportunity to me: to study Digital Media in Prague, Czech Republic. This was an opportunity to do two things I love: travel and learn more about digital media. This quickly became an opportunity I could not pass up.
Dealing with Fear
However, I had a lot of fears regarding studying in a foreign country. I had never left the United States before. I had never been in areas where the native language wasn’t English. I didn’t know how I would be able to communicate, and how I would learn to get around the city of Prague. Despite these fears, I committed to the study abroad program because I wanted to further my skills with digital technology and media which Prague College would help me do.
The first few days were tough. I didn’t know what to say when I ordered food or drinks, I didn’t know how to approach people, and I did not know how to get ANYWHERE. Thankfully, as each day of orientation went on, the more I learned about the city and the Czech culture. I learned simple phrases to say such as “dobry den” which means “hello” in Czech or “prosim” which means “please” or “sorry”. I learned that street names are pasted on the buildings and NOT on street posts. And I learned many other things from the introductions from orientation.
Getting Around Prague
Each day I am here in Prague I learn something new from the things I see, the people I meet, and the simple interactions that I have. As I became more comfortable with living in a foreign country, I grew so much as a person. My independence in doing activities and maneuvering myself around has developed in ways it never had before, or never would have if I were to have stayed at my home university this semester. Despite my fear of foreign transportation systems, I have learned how the metro and tram system within Prague works and have successfully (and sometimes unsuccessfully) used it to get to where I want to go. I have learned to ask people in public questions in Czech (such as if they speak English).
Live and Learn
As it becomes mid-semester at Prague College, I feel I am completely immersed in the culture and customs of the Czech people. Although I do not know all rituals in which to follow, I feel that I have a pretty good grasp on how to fit in and not come off as a tourist or a foreigner. Living in Czech Republic for the last two months have made me want to further my travels to new countries and destinations to see what other skills I can develop. If I wouldn’t have moved to Prague for this semester, I never would have gotten over my fear of living in foreign places. I am eternally grateful for this experience and getting over the “hump” and I hope I can continue to travel and experiment with foreign countries in my future. Living in Prague has sparked a travel bug and my curiosity for the world. This experience has inspired me to pursue jobs (and any opportunities) abroad or in any area which is foreign to me.