By Margaret Woodcock, Spring 2015


The study abroad experience is often discussed between friends and strangers alike as the epitome of the college adventure. I landed in Prague with two guidebooks, and countless stories from UPCES alum about all the good times that were waiting for me in this post-iron curtain oasis. Though I headed into Prague with detailed instructions about where to find a decent burrito at 2am and a warning about my over friendly nature, I found myself running around Old Town like a chicken with my head cut off.

When I listened to my friends recount their time abroad they used language that brushed over the mundane, as if every minute was filled with pure ecstasy. Rather than question their enthusiasm, I drooled over every syllable and prepared for when my day would come.  

I do not know if it was my over confidence – or just my inability to fully comprehend what my time in a new city, not knowing a lick of Czech, surrounded by complete strangers was going to be – but I found myself wildly overwhelmed. Luckily the time of utter insanity was fleeting and forgiving, as I made friends, learned to successfully count to 25 in Czech, and stopped grinning at strangers. 

I have accidentally bought buttermilk twice, gotten lost trying to find school on three separate occasions, and eaten an obscene amount of fried cheese. I’ve also had my breath taken away by the beauty of this city, gone to a club where Rihanna filmed a music video, laughed uncontrollably, mastered public transportation, and all around been welcomed by such an incredible place. 

Prague is in a time of transition, with a population still processing the aftermath of communism while simultaneously opening their arms to the complex modernization that is in full swing. It is a metropolis and a haven, with a rich history and gracious population.

I expected my relationship with Prague to be love at first sight, and though the city is very easy on the eyes, it has been a slow process, as everyday is met with new trials and triumphs. I feel confident saying, on the cusp of my two-month anniversary with the Czech Republic, that I am very excited for all that awaits me.