My name is Bram and I am a sophomore accounting major. I am finishing up my semester abroad at The University of Economics in Prague, Czech Republic. This semester abroad I have traveled to 14 different countries, made some great new friends, and learned more skills and life lessons in 4 months than I ever imagined.
Studying in Prague is rewarding and extremely challenging. Going to the local market and trying to buy groceries for my apartment proved to be one of my hardest tasks. Only about 1/5th of Czech people speak English and although I am taking language courses, it can take 5-10 years to learn the Czech language. Every day is a new adventure in Prague. The people in Prague are full of surprises and still learning how to live without communist government. Many of the local students I have met still remember what it was like during the era when soviets forces controlled Czech lands. Learning about their lives and their parents helped me better understand the people of the Czech Republic. Even today most Czech people don’t smile in public and struggle to adapt to a democratic system.
A typical week for me in Prague is usually very busy. The week starts with classes and a tram ride to the nearest grocery store to buy some food for the week. Usually after my classes end on Tuesday and Wednesday I will go out and explore different areas of Prague. Even in my final week in Prague I am finding more new beautiful areas to explore. Prague seems like a fairy-tale land filled with medieval buildings all untouched by WWI and WWII. Most evenings my friends and I will get together to do something. Whether that is having a potluck, going to an AC Sparta soccer game, or taking paddle boats out on the Vltava river there never seems to be a lack of things to do during the week.
For me, the weekends mean travel time. On Thursday night I pack for my next weekend trip. After traveling across Europe on trains, planes, and buses, I have decided train travel is my favorite. My friends and I all load up into a coach car, close the door, and be whisked away like we were off to Hogwarts for the weekend. Traveling for me is one of the biggest reasons I wanted to study abroad: I wanted to see as much of Europe as I could in my 4 months. I love everywhere I’ve traveled and love all the experiences from climbing mountains to visiting some of the most famous cities in the world. Traveling on the weekends is exhausting, long travel days, sleeping in hostels, and walking up to 10 miles a day is the normal schedule during a weekend of travel. My goals when traveling are to leave each city with no regrets, spend money on experiences not comfort, and most importantly see and try everything that city has to offer. As Sunday rolls around it is time to gather my things from the hostel and head back home to Prague. Everyone refers to Prague as “home” or “our city” so every weekend when I travel it is just as exciting to return home as it is to leave because I know I have another week of brand new experiences ahead of me.
The experiences I have had abroad are once in a lifetime opportunities and I truly feel studying abroad has been the best decision I have made in my life. Even though it is sad to leave Europe, studying abroad has rekindled my passion for Indiana State, my academics, my career path, and my involvement on campus. Upon my return I hope to use the skills I have gained studying abroad to be the best Sycamore possible.