By Becky Ross, Exchange to University of Economics, Prague, Czech Republic
My Spring 2013 semester was spent at the University of Economics, Prague in the Czech Republic. The most amazing three months took place in Prague from February to May, followed by an additional two months spent travelling around Europe.
I believe Prague is the most beautiful city. When I first arrived, I was worried that I would be very unhappy there; it was freezing and I was extremely jetlagged. However, two weeks in and I had already fallen in love with the city.
Czech people can seem unfriendly (which many guidebooks and websites had warned me about), but you get used to it and you shouldn’t take anything personally. Communication can be a challenge as many Czech people speak very little English, or none at all. The younger generation has a much stronger grasp of the English language than the older generation, but you can still get by without too much trouble. For instance, it can be hard in restaurants because some of them will only have a Czech menu and the servers may not speak English well. It helps if you are able to recognize some of the basic Czech words (e.g. chicken, beef, vegetables, etc.) because at least then you will have an idea of what you’re ordering. Beware – Czech food is very meat-oriented.
While on exchange, I did weekend trips to Krakow, Poland; Berlin and Dresden, Germany; and Budapest, Hungary. I didn’t travel that much compared to some of my friends, but these trips were some of the highlights of my semester. It’s such an amazing experience to travel to new destinations with new friends on exchange.
Keeping in touch with the friends you make on exchange is very important. I have made some lifelong friends and even though it was hard to leave them, I can’t wait until I get to see them again (whenever that may be)! I have met people from all over the globe and I feel like no matter where I travel in the future, I will have a friend close by.