If you have decided to read this newsletter because you are on the fence approximately studying abroad, let me say: Do it. I am writing this text now at an airport in Prague; my look at overseas applications has simply ended, and I am already reminiscing about it. From the new meals to the pals made, I can say that analyzing abroad changed into the satisfactory semester I have spent in college. To avoid becoming that-one-friend-who-won’t-close-up-approximately-her-semester-overseas, I will speak approximately it as soon as in this newsletter, after which by no means deliver it up once more. That manner, if one among your real pals also continues occurring about their take a look at overseas revel in, you could show them this and say: “I recognize. I get it!” So without further ado, right here are my largest takeaways from dwelling in Prague this past semester.
You’re going to be worried.
Going to Prague, I became literally flying out of my consolation region to an area wherein I knew nobody, could not speak the language, and changed into — in contrast to in Berkeley — going to be one of the few Asians in the program, let alone the complete us of a. My mind at the plane spanned from “It’ll be satisfied if I don’t make pals” to “Oh my God, what if people yell racial slurs at me? However, I received’t even realize it as it’s in. Czech?” It didn’t help that on my connecting flight from Frankfurt to Prague, it appeared like all and sundry on the plane was going to study overseas, and all by some means knew every other. I concept I had already neglected out at the window to make buddies even though this system hadn’t even started yet.
It’s like freshman year all yet again, simplest this time you could legally drink.
It becomes useless traumatic about all those things because the first weeks of orientation unexpectedly confirmed to me that everyone was looking to make buddies. It felt like a national version of freshman 12 months — people had been discussing their majors, their hometowns, and the faculties they went to. Coming from Berkeley, where it seems like everybody is either from NorCal or SoCal, it turned into thrilling to interact with software full of human beings from the Midwest, East Coast, or even the South. I learned what a Chicago accessory appeared like, what Frank’s RedHot sauce is, and that the word “slaps” is seemingly slanged in Florida. I additionally realized that I assumed every person knew the entirety of approximately California. When I informed people I changed into from the Bay Area, I was given reactions starting from “Cool. Which bay?” to “Oh, so Maryland?” to “Is that Los Angeles?”
Culture shock is real. Very actual.
People don’t smile inside the Czech Republic! There is a component called “Metro face” in Prague, a look of stone-cold indifference that everybody places on. It may additionally seem unfriendly or rude, but that is simply the way it works here. It doesn’t assist that staring is socially ideal, so you may also turn your head at the Metro simplest to come head to head with a Czech citizen churlishly making extreme eye contact with you. By the quit of the semester, I had perfected my Metro face and changed into staring right returned at everyone.
Food, wonderful meals
Czech meals start offevolved and end with various forms of meat — from pork goulash to pork sausages. Being vegetarian, the most effective Czech meals I could certainly devour changed into fried cheese with tartar sauce, which is delicious but very dangerous nutrition-clever. At the same time, it’s your most effective meal alternative. I needed to look outside the nearby cuisine; however, there are many worldwide options within the city. Ironically, pho and burritos have been the food I most often ate, which is my precise weight-reduction plan in Berkeley. It was like I had in no way left. I changed into also fortunate enough to journey to different international locations on the weekends, and I had the first-rate time sampling neighborhood cuisines. Waffles in Belgium! Fondue in Switzerland! Pasta in Italy! More pasta in Italy! The quality factor I ate has been pierogies in Poland, which — and this isn’t an exaggeration — tasted like a little wallet filled with happiness. I fell in love with pierogies so difficult that I went to a 24-hour pierogi area at 2 a.M on our closing night. To eat them one remaining time.
Right earlier than I get off my excessive tour horse, let me say studying abroad forced me to step off my consolation area within a satisfactory manner. Everyone’s look at abroad enjoy going to be distinct, but I can not recommend it enough. I was given to take a smash from the Berkeley bubble and meet people I could never have met in any other case. I had once-in-a-lifetime studies that I will cherish (and subtly brag about to my buddies) for an extended, long term. My stomach is a bit heavier, and my wallet is a bit lighter, but if I could go back and do all of it once more, I could.