Thursday, April 14, 2016

Ahoj From Praha!

My name is Emily Levine, and I am a junior public relations major and drama minor from Mansfield, Massachusetts. If you had told me as a senior in high school that in three years I’d be sitting in a flat in Prague, Czech Republic writing about my European adventures, I’d have probably responded, “Only in my wildest dreams.” Sometimes, I still have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming and that I actually am spending the semester studying abroad in Prague (AKA the most beautiful city in the entire world).

View from the Prague Castle
As I embarked on my semester in Prague, I was reassured by many people who’d been here before that “It’s totally fine that you don’t speak a work of Czech because everyone there speaks English!” After two months of living here, I’ve found this to be a bit of an exaggeration. As I’ve ventured further out into the country, I’ve definitely relied on some hand gestures and the few Czech phrases I’ve been able to pick up! It definitely gives me an appreciation for people from around the world who speak English in addition to their native language.

Brandenburg Gate in Berlin
This semester has also taught me to be more self-sufficient, especially when traveling to other cities. I’ve been lucky enough to take short trips to many other European cities since being here, and I’ve realized just how much I rely on my Google Maps app to get around when I’m at home in the U.S. I don’t have a phone plan with data here, so I can only use my phone when I have WiFi. On one hand, this is extremely liberating, but on the other, it means having to be very prepared when traveling and using real maps to find my way around new cities, which has been really fun.

The famous “John Lennon Wall”
One of the coolest parts about my semester here in Prague is that I’m taking classes with students from all around the world. I’m attending Anglo American University in Prague (AAU) which is actually located in a renovated palace! One of my classes, called Media in a Democracy, is centered around discussions about free press, and the ways in which we consume media. Instead of just reading a text book about the media environments of other countries, I’m able to hear first-hand accounts from classmates from around the globe about what media is like in their countries.

Eating Nutella-filled “trdelniks” on the Charles Bridge
Experiencing new cultures and traveling on my own has taught me so much more than I could learn in any classroom, and it’s given me the opportunity to learn new things about myself along the way. I definitely miss the familiarity of being back home at Hofstra, but I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything. I can’t believe I only have six weeks left in this fairytale city! But no matter where your heart is, studying abroad is something I’d highly recommend to every college student. When else will you have the chance to drop everything and live in a foreign country for four months? 

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