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An Eye-Opening Experience

November 24, 2016
by Betsy Kaplan
I can't even begin to explain how my study abroad experience has impacted my life. Before Prague, I had never traveled outside the United States other than to Israel on a Birthright trip. Traveling around Europe for a semester has been extremely eye-opening to how incredibly fortunate I am to have been brought up in the United States. However, seeing parts of the world I’ve always dreamed of seeing has been a true blessing.
 Overview of Český Krumlov Castle in the Czech Republic.

I think it is safe to say I’ve fallen in love with Europe and leaving Prague will be extremely difficult. During my stay in Europe, I obviously encountered many culture shocks, none being negative. Well, besides having to pay for water and to use a public restroom, but that’s beside the point.
 Street musician in Galway, Ireland.

In the United States, we create a sort of bubble where it’s hard to even imagine life beyond the States. The atmosphere in Europe is completely different with it’s architecture, culture, and overall sense of place. Studying abroad has taught me that, yes, there are many other places around the world where the people live a completely different lifestyle than we do. It’s so hard to imagine until you actually experience it first-hand.
 Beautiful canal in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Coming out of this experience, I am more open to opportunities I never thought I’d be up for. I’m a more grounded person and see myself in an entirely different way than I have ever before. The friendships I’ve made along the way I will cherish forever, as these people have helped me realize the person who was stuck inside their “United States bubble.” I am forever grateful for this experience, and I hope to return to Europe in the near future.
 People crowding around the Mona Lisa.

Betsy K. is the Fall 2016 CEA MOJO in Prague, Czech Republic. She is currently a junior studying Journalism at University of Arizona.

Betsy Kaplan is the Fall 2016 CEA MOJO Blogger in Prague, Czech Republic, and is currently studying at University of Arizona.
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