Home Sick for Prague – Finding My Way Back
When I first came to the Czech Republic in 2015, I had no idea what to expect. I was nervous and excited that I was going to be going to living in a beautiful city for a year, but had no idea how much my life was going to change. I had no idea how to speak the language, didn’t know how I was going to handle going to the grocery store, academics, traveling, and actually living in a country halfway across the world. I expected there to be good days and bad days but all in all, I didn’t know what the rollercoaster of studying abroad and living abroad would bring. But then it all changed.
Classes began, I made friends with the people in my apartment building and some of the international students I studied with and everything started to fall into place. All my qualms disappeared and I began to immerse myself into Czech culture. Throughout the year I learned so much about myself — especially after going on my first solo travel trip after a friend got sick unexpectedly over Spring Break and couldn’t make it, to traveling around Europe for 2 months in the summer by myself. I was once told that you truly don’t know who you are or how you will adapt until you travel. Go outside your comfort zone and see what the world has to offer you. Despite the Paris and Brussels attacks that occurred during my time here in Europe, I was determined to travel Europe and see all the amazing cities, and meet all the amazing people this continent has to offer. Once my program ended, I knew that I needed to come back to Prague. I needed to come back to the country where the language is not native to me, to the cobblestone streets, to the original architecture… my heart yearned for this magical city.
Upon my return to the U.S. to complete my final year at University, I joined the CEA Alumni Ambassador program, helping spread the word of studying abroad. Through the Alumni program, I heard of the potential opportunity to return to Prague as an On-Site Ambassador and knew that this was my golden ticket to the city that stole my heart. I applied to the On-Site program as well as applying for jobs as graduation started to become a reality, but nothing struck a chord with me like returning back to Prague.
Today, I have been back in Prague for two weeks, and in that time I have remastered the Tesco grocery store that I once feared, walked the cobblestone streets, and have re-fallen in love the architecture and the city that stole my heart two years ago. I have also been working alongside the very people who made my study abroad experience amazing. I always knew what the staff here did, but after meeting with them, my admiration for them has grown immensely. Helping prepare and working on projects for the incoming students has been an amazing experience. I am so excited to be working with the amazing staff here in Prague, and look forward to meeting all the incoming students! I hope you all fall in love with this magical city like I did.
Noa B. is a CEA On-Site Ambassador in Prague. She studiedCommunications at University of Colorado – Denver and studied abroad in Prague with CEA in Fall 2015.If you’d like to learn more about the ambassador program, here is more information.