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Life After Studying Abroad in Prague

In the past many of my friends had studied abroad; when they returned from their travels I always asked them, “How was studying abroad?”  Their answer was undeniably, “It was amazing.  It changed my life.” I always found it interesting that they felt they changed so much when to me it seemed like they were the same person they were before they left.  However, now that I have studied abroad, I can finally understand exactly how they felt.

Studying abroad gives you the opportunity to see the world and your life in a different perspective.  The amount of places that you visit, tours that you go on, museums that you walk through, cities that you get lost in, languages that you try to learn, friends that you make, and memories that you hold forever…is absolutely unfathomable.

Four months of traveling the world. You will change. You may think you won’t, but inevitably you will. At first you might notice the small things like eating strange foods that you would have never tried prior to living abroad, but then you will notice the big things like how your entire outlook on life has changed. At least that’s how it happened for me.

As I head toward my last year as an undergrad and move forward to “the real world” I have realized that studying abroad has helped me grow as an individual. I didn’t realize it until now; until I look back and see just how far I have come since I first stepped off that airplane. Prior to traveling abroad, I was constantly caught up in the hectic lifestyle of American society, never recognizing the opportunities that I was letting pass by. I was living life. But I wasn’t experiencing life.
Life is all about the little things. Taking a walk through a park. Watching the sunrise. Giving someone directions. Going on a picnic. Singing at the top of your lungs. Having no voice the next day. Hiking to a mountaintop. Taking in the view. Waking up early. Staying out late. Doing something that scares you. Taking a risk. Crying when it goes wrong. Laughing when it goes right. Making memories.  Remembering them forever. Experiencing life.

It is difficult to express how strong of an impact studying abroad has had on my life. The positivity that flows from the things that I have experienced is overwhelming. These experiences are forever mine and no one can ever take them away. They are memories that will come back to me in my future and put a smile on my face.
It breaks my heart to have to leave the place I love and have called my home for the past four months. And that broken piece of my heart will always be in Prague. And when someone asks me, “How was studying abroad?” I will have a smile on my face when I answer, “It was amazing. It changed my life.”

Jenna Kerr is the Spring 2013 CEA MOJO in Prague, Czech Republic 

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