“Studying abroad is going to be an amazing experience, you’re going to learn so much.” -everyone
I heard this phrase, or one just like this, countless times from family, friends, teachers – almost everyone I talked to about my plans for my spring semester. I responded each time with a big smile and something to the effect of “I am so excited, I can’t wait.” The response had become almost instinctive, and behind that smile hid uncertainty and a wonderful sense of anticipation.
|My favorite view of the Charles Bridge from the banks of the Vltava River.|
Throughout the process of planning and applying to study abroad you are flooded with information and through photos, videos, and conversations with students who have done the same, you attempt to get a sense of what the experience will be like. But, even after hours of preparation, the day you board that plane you truly have no idea what you are about to experience.
As I look back and try to reflect on the past three months, I am so truly thankful for all that I have experienced. I can’t say that every moment was amazing, or every day was perfect, but I can say that I am thankful for it all. I’m thankful for the incredible moments, new cities, new cultures, new friends, and I’m thankful for the mishaps, lost phones, pickpockets, and missing trains. It’s not just the good or just the bad, but the crazy combination of both that transformed me these past few months.
|A view of the Prague Castle and surrounding city from the top of Petřín Tower.|
I’ve learned what it truly means to be independent, in various ways. The day-to-day independence that comes from grocery shopping and cooking for myself has taught me how to live without mom’s cooking or my cafeteria meal plan. The ability to plan, navigate, and experience a new place, both in Prague and all the places I have traveled has shown me what it’s like to be a world traveler. I’ve learned how to improvise in a split second, thanks to pickpockets in Rome who took off with my roommate’s passport. I’ve found peace in getting lost, and taking long walks alone. Buses, trains, and planes became the primary place I studied which taught me a new sense of time management in balancing school and travel.
|My four beautiful roommates have made this experience unforgettable and so much fun!|
|Old Town Square in springtime with beautiful, blooming flowers.|
Prague, specifically, has become so familiar and a special place I will never forget. I am thankful for my flat in the heart of the city despite the bed bugs that tried to invade (twice). My wonderful and crazy roommates made it a place I could call home that I looked forward to coming back to. I am thankful for the city’s incredible contrast of natural and urban beauty, found around every corner. I respect the culture and enjoyed the Czech Republic’s reserved yet genuine people. I will never eat meat and potatoes without thinking back to my semester full of Czech cuisine. I’m thankful for my teachers and international classmates that challenged me academically through cultural immersion.
It turns out, everyone I talked to was right – I’ve learned so much through an amazing experience. It’s hard to put into words but I hope this provides a glimpse into everything I’ve experienced. I’m already looking forward to returning, but until then, na sheldanou (Czech for goodbye)!
Eliza J. is the Spring 2017 MOJO Blogger in Prague, Czech Republic. She is currently a Sophomore studying Media Communications at Point Loma Nazarene University.
|A beautiful Prague sunset from the top of the Dancing House|
Eliza Jason is the Spring 2017 CEA MOJO Blogger in Prague, Czech Republic in Prague, Czech Republic, and is currently studying at Point Loma Nazarene University.