Studying abroad was a no-question decision for me. I knew I would always regret it if I didn’t take advantage of the only time in life where you can just pick up and move to another continent for a few months, fully immerse yourself in a different culture, and gain an incredibly unique college experience.
I had a lot of options for how I could study abroad, but CEA was a clear standout from the beginning of my research due to its full curriculum options that align perfectly with my plan to complete general education courses. Also because it allows you to diversify the people you surround yourself with. International professors provide fresh perspectives and insight, you get to meet international students in your classes, and you become friends with other study abroad students who come from all over the United States. Not to mention, the chance to become friends with some incredibly kind locals is a one of a kind opportunity.
As with any major life change, I did have some worries about going abroad. First of all, the Czech language is not the most simple of languages to get by on, full of consonant clusters and sounds that are foreign to someone who has never spoken a Slavic language. However, learning basic phrases is more than enough to get by on, since many residents speak English. Also, I will shamelessly admit that Google Translate really helps when it comes to challenges like signs and menus. While it is possible to get by on English, I did enroll in a Czech language course in hopes that I can fit in more by the end of the semester and talk to more locals!
Anyone who knows me can attest that I am a very picky eater, so adjusting to local food was a major worry of mine because I had never tried Czech food. Something I didn’t anticipate was that no matter how picky you are, you will end up at McDonald’s and KFC more than you think. It just happens. However, I can confirm that Czech food is completely amazing. I could eat the beef goulash everyday, and most of the meals consist of some variation of meat and bread, which is completely ideal for me. But no matter what, grocery shopping is easy, cheap, and has a lot of food options!
My worries that seemed like a big deal ended up being far smaller issues once I actually got to Prague. It’s not hard to navigate, the language barrier is manageable, the food is wonderful, and making friends is so much easier than I imagined. Each day has a certain level of spontaneity and challenges, but it has already been one of the best experiences of my life, and it’s barely begun. Studying abroad allows you to learn so much, gain a broader perspective of the world, and realize that there’s more out there than the standard American college experience.
Whitney Knorp is the Fall 2018 CEA MOJO Blogger in Prague, Czech Republic, and is currently studying at California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo.