Mid-semester, a Current UPCES Student Shares Her Reflections on Prague

By Meaghan Dempsey, Fall 2013

Before going abroad this semester, I had never been to Europe. I had always been dying to go and saw “abroad” as my chance to really explore and immerse myself in different cultures. I knew from the pictures of friends that went abroad in past years that this would be my chance to really see this part of the world, to take advantage of my long weekends and use them to travel to every place I’ve ever wanted to go.

I got to Prague and immediately started planning all of my trips, making sure to coordinate with my friends in different countries, and booking as quickly as I could. A significant part of me regrets jumping the gun on my travel plans. Prague is the most incredible city and I feel so lucky that I get to live here. Even after a couple weeks of exploring, I realized I still had so much left to see of this city. I’ve traveled to a number of different places, and of course I had an amazing time in each of them, as everywhere I’ve seen is so different and exciting; but I can honestly say the most fun weekends I’ve had while I’ve been abroad have been in Prague.

I knew absolutely nothing about Prague before I applied. It wasn’t even until I started my application that I had to Google “What country is Prague in?” But this city that I knew nothing about has quickly become a new place to call home for me. There’s so much to do and see, and no where I’ve been can compare to how beautiful my city is. I’m not saying don’t travel. Definitely travel—take advantage of how easy and cheap it is to travel throughout Europe, explore, see the sights, be a tourist. I’m saying that for me, personally, when I saw how much I hated leaving Prague every single weekend, and how happy and relieved I felt when I got back home, I found myself cancelling some of my trips. I think a mistake that abroad students can make is not fully appreciating their home base.

It’s when I’m running through the fallen fall-colored leaves in Letna Park, or dodging street performers in Old Town Square on my way to school, or talking with my friends in a café in Wenceslas Square with live music in the background, that I find myself the most content. It’s these times that I know going abroad was the best decision I’ve ever made. I’m sad that at this point I’m already halfway through my semester, but at the same time, I still have half left. The most exciting thing about this is that I still have so much left of Prague to see, and so much to do that I haven’t done. There really is nowhere else like this city, and if I could do it all over, I would choose to study in Prague again and again.