University of Delaware
Prague, Czech Republic
1. One of the best parts about studying abroad? Getting to travel to other cities and countries! Here are my top travel tips:
Do a little research! Make sure to know each airline or bus luggage policy prior to traveling. Certain airlines are strict about the number or size of bags you can bring. If you plan on doing physical activities, pack appropriate clothing wear. Don't do as I did and brave a Norway mountain blizzard in jeans and cotton gloves.
Pay attention to cultural cues and be respectful, but do not be afraid to ask for help. Asking for transportation tips or day activities advice from locals is one of the best ways to learn how to spend your time. They know the best places to eat and visit besides hot spots on Google’s top tourist attractions.
Traveling to other countries is amazing, but don't overdo it. You may be disappointed if you end your studies having only spent one weekend in your host country.
2. How has your study abroad experience shaped you today?
I can confidently say I am a different and better person for having studied abroad. I have never felt an emotional connection to my home university because I did not find effortless connections to most of my classmates. This experience abroad has shown me how many more people, places, and lessons the world has to offer me. Over these past months, I have not only made the sincerest friendships and seen the most breathtaking scenery, but learned who I am, how to adapt, and how to be more independent, confident, and happy.
Moving to a foreign country that I knew little about pushed me far beyond my comfort zone. I was forced to learn how to be open to new friendships with people unlike me, be flexible in my planning, and grow from other cultures. The biggest difference in Europe that has impacted me is the way people talk here. In America, a great deal of conversations are devoted to gossiping to our peers over materialistic things. Living in Europe, people are interested in my life in America, politics, and what I plan to do with my life. I have found that my words, and now thoughts, are centered on more valuable topics than petty judgments.
After four months here, I am more mature and independent. I no longer fear being unsure of my future, because I know there is so much to see outside of Rhode Island and Delaware.