Ask me where I've been: Czech Republic
Why study abroad?
I’ve known that I wanted to study abroad since before I even started applying to colleges. In fact, one of the things that first attracted me to Scripps was how accommodating they were about spending time abroad. I wholeheartedly believe that disrupting one’s personal routine and really pushing personal boundaries is an essential part of an education. By living and learning in a foreign country, I was given the opportunity to view the world from a different perspective and to really expand my understanding (both personally and academically).
Why did you choose Czech Republic?
I knew that I wanted to go somewhere in Europe with a rich history and lots of original architecture (for my Art History Major.) I also knew that I wanted to study somewhere that I had never been before. I had heard tons of great things about Prague as a city and was relieved that the CHP program did not have a language prerequisite. Practically speaking, Prague was also an obvious choice because of its proximity to other European countries, as I planned on doing a lot of weekend traveling and exploring. The low coast of living was also a huge bonus because it allowed me to save money on day-to-day spending and opened opportunities for larger trips and adventures.
What courses did you enroll in while abroad?
The semester started with a two-week orientation course called Czech Culture and Civilization. We then got to choose from a variety of classes. I took Elementary Czech Language, Reading Prague: The City as a Metaphor of Human Existence, Modern Czech Film, and “Baroque-Classicism” Polarity in the Art of Central Europe.
What was your living situation?
We all lived in a sort of Dorm/Hostel/Hotel hybrid called The Jerome House. Everyone on the program gets a private room with its own bathroom and shower, plus access to a full kitchen. We all lived on the same floor so it was also a great way to get to know other students on the program. Jerome is about a five minute walk from the school and about a ten minute walk from the city center.
What did you do for fun?
I spent a lot of time just walking and wandering around the city discovering hidden gems, (restaurants, art galleries, farmer’s markets), and trying to blend in with the locals. The nightlife in Prague is also pretty incredible and my friends and I had a blast visiting crazy little bars and clubs, when we weren't traveling on the weekends.
Highlights of the program:
There are too many to list but I loved seeing a Czech opera, traveling to the coast of Croatia, getting a tour of the Czech Breweries, Going crazy at the Christmas Markets in Old Town Square, having picnics in the park along the river, visiting the Communism Museum, Going to the largest club in central Europe for my 21st birthday, and learning Czech!
The most challenging aspects of your experience:
The Czech language was definitely my biggest challenge while abroad, however it was also one of the most satisfying things I accomplished. My language professor was absolutely incredible and taught me a lot in a relatively short amount of time. I also have a personal deficiency when it comes to directions and navigation so I feel like I spent most of the semester lost and trying to circle my way back to the dorm.
Final comments or suggestions for future participants:
Go Abroad! Just do it. It is intimidating and scary but also totally and completely worth it. Soak up every minute of your time there and try to live every moment to the absolute fullest. This is an incredible opportunity—take advantage of it!