Seeing as though we are focusing on study abroad this week, I thought that I would fill our HC readers in on my own adventure which begins very soon! The destination I chose was Prague, which is located in the Czech Republic (formally known as the Czechoslovakia). It is a beautiful city known for its vibrant Bohemian culture and history! I simply cannot wait to get there. But in the days leading up to my departure, there are many things I have to do to prepare for my journey abroad! Going to live in a foreign country is no piece of cake…
What Do I Bring?
How do I fit my life into only two suitcases? Well it isn’t easy seeing as though I have always been an over-packer. But the key is to remember to only bring what is necessary. Seeing as though it is going to be very chilly the majority of the time that I am in Prague (the Czech Republic has very cold winters and very warm summers), I am packing lots of sweaters and warm attire. What about shoes? Boots are key since I will be trudging through snow-covered roads on my way to class. I suppose I will just have to survive without some of my favorite heels and flats for a few months! I am stocking up on some things such as shampoo and eyeliner but I have to remember that I can buy much of my beauty care products in Prague (and it’s even cheaper there!). I’m leaving the hair dryer and straightener in the States (I can buy a dryer there if I really need it). Packing for this voyage has certainly made me realize that simplicity is necessary. And also that living without some certain appliances or products for a few months really isn’t the worse thing (I hope).
What Will the Adjustment Be Like?
First off, I am going to have to get used to the currency change of course. The Czech Republic doesn’t use the euro, but instead uses the koruna (or some call it a crown). The exchange rate is very good (much better than euro); about 18 korunas is equal to 1 crown. Needless to say, Prague is very cheap compared to both the U.S and other countries. Taking money out of the ATM there is much less expensive than using a credit or debit card. So I need to get used of carrying cash instead of just my debit card!
Prague is similar to other European cities in that the pace of life is much slower. Their way of life is much more relaxed and mellow as opposed to U.S cities which are always bustling. I don’t think that will be too much of an adjustment because I am definitely ready to slow down a bit! The major adjustment will probably be the food and drink. Although they have American (and many types of ethnic food) food here, I will have to get used to eating traditional Czech cuisine. It is very hearty with lots of meat and potatoes. I’m not much of a hearty eater so I will have to get used of that! So although there will be certain adjustments, I think that my excitement over living in Europe will make them much easier!
How Will I Communicate With My Friends and Family?
Technology has made communication overseas very easy! The main way that I plan on talking to all my loved ones back home is through Skype which allows you to video chat, call, and instant message anyone who you want to talk to for free. I will also be using e-mail quite frequently and have an international phone for when I need to make emergency calls. And personally, I am a lover of “snail mail” and will be both sending and receiving letters from people in the States. In today’s day and age, going to live in a foreign country does not mean that you have to cut off communication from your closest friends and family. However, I think that not texting all the time will be a good change for me!
How Am I Feeling?
I am truly feeling such a mixture of emotions. I am SO excited to go and explore this new city that has developed so much in the past twenty years (the Czech Republic had been under communism up until 1989). I want to see all the tourist sites (especially Prague castle and the Kafka Museum) when I get there, but as time goes on, I want to discover the unknown parts and really make Prague my home. I also can’t wait to travel to other countries and cities (Berlin, Vienna, and Krakow are only train rides away). So yes I am excited about all of these things, but I can’t deny the fact that I am a little nervous. Studying abroad is a HUGE deal and like I said, going to live in a foreign country will be no piece of cake. But I am up to the challenge of getting to know a new language and a new place. And as much as I am going to miss my friends and family, I know that this experience will be worth it!
So stayed tuned for some updates about my journey in Prague!