As my first week abroad comes to an end, many of my pre-departure concerns and apprehensions have seemed to fall into place. The anxiety has been wiped away (for the most part) and replaced by the mystery of what the future has to bring: How will my classes be? Who will I become close with? What other countries am I going to see? The possibilities are endless! The great thing about being abroad is that there is no set routine and you really don’t know what to expect, something I am not accustomed too but definitely welcome open armed.
Unfortunately, almost the moment I stepped onto this beautiful land of the Czech Republic I became very sick and had to helplessly suffer in the hotel room practically dying for five straight days (missing the start of the programs orientation). Now after recovering from that traumatizing experience, I moved in with my new suitemates in our incredible flat, survived my first intensive Czech class (even if I can only recite one word), shopped at a local department store where you had to pay for a moving cart, and lost around seven pounds (perks of being sick). Not a bad week.
Did I get to do the initial meet and greet that the other students went through during the first couple of days? Sadly no. But I am slowly creeping into the pre-friendship developmental stage that occurs during any drastic social transition amongst huge groups of young people. No I didn’t get wasted at the local pub with everyone or dance at the industrial nightclub or casually drink three beers at lunch. Luckily I have four months to do that. Of course I am a little bummed about missing out on those small yet lasting bonding experiences. However, I am determined to make the most of my situation and still have an incredible experience. Now here are some fun facts that all future abroadees should be aware of.
Americans can be spotted instantly… anywhere at anytime. Just look for the loud group of college kids messing around on the metro rail. Or the pedestrians taking non-stop pictures/selfies, shoving their maps in the air, and complaining about the foreign food. Yes our kind is not hard to spot; it’s amazing how loud we actually are! Any abroad student’s mission is to successfully blend in with the locals. Keep to yourself and try to mock how the locals act. For example, the Czech people are very reserved and quiet so just try to imitate that.
Now currency is whole other issue, figuring out the dollar to crown ratio (Czech Korunas) is challenging but not impossible. A friendly surprise was discovering that the dollar is actually worth a lot more than crowns making everything cheaper and easier, obviously this will not be the case in all countries so try to research this info before committing to a program.
In Addition, one should know there is an endless supply of beer in this city; beer lovers take note to spend a night in Prague in future journeys. Buckets of beer all day and all night: regular, wheat, cider, gluten free, fruit flavored. Name it and they have it. Generally, I’ve come to find all types of alcohol can easily be purchased for all types of liquor are sold everywhere, packaged in all shapes and sizes ranging from small portable Absinth bottles to boxes of cheap wine. Can’t wait until I can sample them all!
So yes going abroad is terrifying but don’t forget you are not the only one going through it! The beauty of the whole process is that you are thrown in a group of fifty something strangers where everyone manages to come together and have the time of their lives. My personal experience has had a bumpy start but I know the ride will be well worth my while and I will keep you posted every step of the way!
What do you think?
How do you picture your first week abroad? In the country you want to go to is the dollar worth more or less? Have you already experienced an amazing abroad adventure?