I was lucky enough to study abroad for three months in Prague with CEA, which was an incredible and transformative experience. While I was there, I took a Czech language class that ended up having a very strong impact on my outlook on a culture that is drastically different from my own.
Prague is in the Czech Republic and they speak the Czech language there. The first day I arrived, I was leaving the grocery store and a cashier came running out after me, hollering in Czech. It took me 20 minutes to finally understand that I hadn’t signed my receipt from the self-checkout machine, meaning my payment didn’t go through.
After that, I was less nervous about and more excited to take a Czech language class at my host university. It was super hard because Czech is totally different from English. For example, the word “four” is pronounced as “shtizzy.” However, the class didn’t only teach me the Czech numbers. It immersed me in the Czech culture and taught me to appreciate its uniqueness instead of expecting the country and its people to conform to me. I realized that we might speak a different language or have different traditions, but deep down, we are all more similar than different. And we can learn to love the parts where we’re different.
Taking the Czech language class had an imperative effect on my time abroad, and I recommend anyone going abroad to do the same as I did.
Stella Bradley is a CEA Alumni Ambassador who studied abroad in Prague, Czech Republic, during the Fall 2019 semester. She is currently a student at Cal Poly - San Luis Obispo.
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