University of Delaware
Prague, Czech Republic
1. How has your study abroad experience impacted your life, academics, and/or future career goals?
Prior to study abroad, I decided to add a minor in Global Studies. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to use it towards a future career, as I am majoring in a science field. Regardless, I had room in my schedule and really enjoyed taking the classes. Throughout my semester abroad, I learned that an international perspective can be applied to any field. Issues in conservation demand an understanding of the surrounding culture, as well as the ability to communicate with people unlike yourself. I now understand just how interconnected we are, both with the environment and other people. Because of study abroad, I would like to incorporate this lesson into whatever I do, perhaps through community based conservation.
2. If you learned another language while you were abroad, what tips and tricks can you offer future study abroad students?
While studying abroad in Prague, I took an introductory language course. While I won’t be reading a Czech novel any time soon, the class did allow me to connect better with the community. I may have struggled with pronunciation, but the locals seemed to genuinely appreciate my effort to immerse myself. Some would laugh along with me when I stumbled or used the completely wrong word. Others would attempt to help me, and even teach me more vocabulary. The most important thing is to try. Whenever you go to a restaurant or cafe, order in the local language. Read the labels at the grocery store and practice with your friends. Google translate becomes easy to rely on, but break the addiction. It can be frustrating and embarrassing, but with patience, learning the local language can be one of the most rewarding parts of your trip.