Kaylee Johnson is a student at the University of Colorado Boulder and an ISA Featured Photo Blogger. She studied abroad with ISA in Prague, Czech Republic.
1. It won’t always be easy.
When you think of studying abroad, you may think of traveling the world with friends in pure bliss. This will become a reality, but you will have to give it some time. When arriving in a country so different from your own it can take time to adjust. The culture is different than what you might be used to, which means many aspects of your daily life will be different too. The locals won’t speak your language, the food will be different, and the way of life will be something you need to get used to. When everything is so different from what you’re used to, it’s not uncommon to become a bit homesick in the beginning. I never really considered this before going abroad, but I would have benefited if I did. Luckily, I adjusted quickly and my time in Prague was nothing short of amazing.
2. Time will fly!
When you first come abroad, you’ll feel like you have all the time in the world. Semesters back home seem to drag on, but when you’re abroad it’s a totally different story. I traveled to 11 countries in 15 weeks, which meant that I was constantly on the go. I would come back to Prague after a trip, attend my classes, and then pack my bags and head off to the next destination. This made the time fly! By the time I had one week left in my program, I’d felt as if I’d just gotten to the Czech Republic. My biggest piece of advice is to enjoy the moment- there’s no need to rush, because when your time abroad is over, you’ll wish you could live it again.
3. The locals don’t always smile, and that’s okay!
The culture in Prague is much different than anything I’ve ever experienced. The biggest difference was the people, and it was hard for me to adjust when I first got here. Locals would think it was weird if we smiled at them on the street, or even smiled at them in general. However, don’t get discouraged if the locals don’t smile at you- it doesn’t mean they don’t like you! I have learned that Czech people have a different way of displaying their emotions than Americans, and that it’s totally okay! I’m accustomed to it now- I just need to remember to turn my smile back on when I return to the states!
4. Leave time to spend in your host city.
When you first arrive in your “host” city, you and your new friends will be on a mission to book trips to visit nearby countries during your free time. It can be overwhelming and exciting at first, but when you are in the midst of booking your trips, don’t forget to leave time to explore your host city! I grew to love Prague- it is my favorite city I have been to, and I wish I would have left more weekends to spend here.
Your Discovery. Our People… The World Awaits.