I blinked and have somehow already been living and studying in Prague for a full two weeks! It’s been a crazy several days, and I’m excited to share how my abroad experience has been treating me so far, from the unexpected differences from the U.S. to sightseeing and food.
My Prague study abroad journey has been a long time coming—I knew since my freshman year of college (I’m now a junior... who allowed that to happen?) that I wanted to study abroad. It was an opportunity filled with limitless possibilities of living in a different part of the world and meeting new people that I wasn’t going to let slip by.
Thus began my almost one-year-in-advance process of finding the right program in the right location, with the right classes and resources. With the help of my study abroad advisor back in Iowa City, I found CEA. The classes they offered allowed me to stay on track to graduate in four years, placed me in a gorgeous city and introduced me to some wonderful people in a short amount of time.
Of course, it wasn’t all an easy process. I was incredibly nervous to leave my friends and family for such a long time. I was overwhelmed thinking about not knowing the native language or how to get around the city. And what if making friends was going to be harder than I thought? Taking this giant leap of faith, at times, felt like a wrong turn.
But now that I’ve had time to adjust, those worries are the furthest thing from my mind. I still miss the familiarity of home, but I now embrace the challenges I face, knowing I made the right decision to fly across the world. These first two weeks have allowed me to get adjusted — a.k.a., learn some survival Czech, understand how the currency works, and remember to bring a bag when getting groceries because they don’t bag anything for you (miss you, Costco).
That said, I’ve also been lucky to just walk around the city a bit and explore whatever I find. Some streets and areas are almost unbearably crowded, like the Charles Bridge mid-afternoon. But there are so many hidden gems just steps off the beaten path, like the ones pictured here.
I’ll sign off with some hopefully unconventional travel tips for upcoming abroad students.
1. You don’t need to bring full-sized shampoo and conditioner. Plenty of stores will have at least something similar.
2. Bring small clips to close bags of snacks so they don’t get stale.
3. Bring a few photos of your family or friends in your backpack so they’re never too far away.
Caley Griebenow is the Fall 2019 CEA MOJO Blogger in Prague, Czech Republic, and is currently studying at University of Iowa.