When I first decided to study abroad in Prague, I had no idea what it entailed. Although the preparation was a bit tedious (including convincing my parents, figuring out classes I could take, and doing all the paperwork), it was all 100% worth it. It was the most amazing opportunity and I’m so grateful I took advantage of it. The numerous museums there were fascinating — such as the Medieval Torture Museum, Museum of Communism, and the Franz Kafka Museum. The Lennon Wall, Charles Bridge, Prague Castle, and the astronomical clock were all just as amazing as everyone hyped up, even though they’re very touristy sites. CEA set up a few activities we could choose to participate in, which helped us immerse ourselves even more in the culture. Through CEA, I was able to see the Prague Zoo, a ballet of Franz Kafka’s The Trial, and explore the cities of Kutna Hora and Karlštejn, just to name a few.
Although I missed my animals and friends/family, I absolutely loved the culture, food, and overall atmosphere so much in Prague. My classes were fun and I learned a lot, and I was able to connect with some locals through the classes. The food was so fresh and delicious; I had the best fruit of my life there! I was able to try pork knuckle, beef goulash, kebabs, roasted duck, and the list goes on… The travel is also so much cheaper, I can’t believe I went to Budapest for only 40 euros round trip! It helps that Prague is a travel hub, as I was able to visit Italy, Poland, Germany, Hungary, and the Netherlands. Even after traveling to all these places, Prague was still my all-time favorite. I was able to try so many new things and new experiences I would never be able to get in the U.S., and I’m just so thankful I was able to go on this trip.
I took this trip by myself, and although I was nervous, I knew I would never go if I waited for a friend to commit to it with me. As I learned later, many other students also traveled alone, which made it even easier to make friends. It may be difficult, but it's important to force yourself completely out of your comfort zone. In CEA’s words, “You paid to come over here and immerse yourself in a completely new culture. You’re going to be uncomfortable at times, and that’s OK. It’s how you handle being uncomfortable that helps you grow as an individual.”
Maranda Crittenden is a CEA Fall 2019 Alumni Ambassador who studied in Prague, Czech Republic, during Summer 2019. She is currently a student at the University of Louisville.
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