Dobry den! Greetings from the Czech Republic! My name is Paige Kristensen and I am a sophomore at UNK studying Business Administration and Sports Management. It seems like I have been waiting since I opened my acceptance letter to start sharing about what studying abroad is like. I talk fast so I hope you can keep up!
Tomorrow marks two weeks since hopping on a plane and flying across the Atlantic. Traveling to Olomouc went smoothly (For me, anyway. A few of my friends can't say the same). There were six of us brave enough to travel together, and let me tell you nothing forges a friendship faster than being lost in a German airport at 4:00 am. We arrived in Prague a few days early just in case anything happened with flight cancellations. Lucky for us- we didn't have to deal with that. My first conversation with a local was our taxi driver from the airport. It was something along the lines of "We are here to study abroad" and his response being "Your American school must be really bad if you have to come all the way over here to school." Safe to say I wanted to throw my Lopes and walk the rest of the way. We then had our first hostel experience, and after 24 hours of travel, any bed was a welcome sight.
On our official first day in Prague we set out on our own to see what there was to see. We gravitated toward a beautiful church that made a perfect spot to take a picture to send home as proof we were still alive.
|Just after this photo was taken a puppy came up to us wanting some cuddles. I think I am going to like it here.|
It hadn't really hit us yet that we were here. "Guys. We are doing this." was said over and over just to make it seem more real.
We had one more day before going to meet the group at the airport, and we decided to to test our knowledge of navigating Czech train stations after being in the country for 24 hours. Okay, now that I put it that way it is no surprise it was a complete disaster. When I say disaster, I mean we looked at the ticket and didn't know if it was for one person.. or six people (one ticket was for one person, the other was for the other five. Duh. Why didn't we think of that). That was before we even stepped foot on a train! After 8 hours of "riding the rails" we called it quits and headed to get burritos (I know I know, not exactly fine Czech cuisine. But hey- we have time for that later). It was a humbling day of experiences to say the least.
Seeing fellow Lopers at the airport the next day was so exciting! We all traded travel stories that we had experienced so far and before we knew it it was time to get on a bus and head to Olomouc. The dorms are cozy (that is HGTV talk for small), but they are similar to a Mantor/Randall room on campus. We were provided sheets and bedding but not towels. Dr. Biggs had to tell us about the "Walmart" (Globus) that was a short walk for all of the essentials (i.e. chips, oreos, diet coke, gum, and juice. It's good to know that no matter where you are Walmart runs all boil down to the same things).
|Dr. Biggs was impressed with our shopping skills.|
University orientation was interesting because they embrace all of their international students so much! We felt welcome right away. Part of orientation included a walking tour, and I was in awe of the town that I now get to call home.
|All of the buildings are so colorful!|
Classes so far have been challenging! Everything is so new and different that it is just a little overwhelming at first. After a few sessions, I am feeling more confident. Czech language class flies by because there is so much to absorb! The locals giggle at our accent and after we say "dobry den" (hello) they respond, "So what part of America are you from?" Our history classes are so interesting, and I can't wait until we get to visit the places we are learning about.
The first few weeks have been an absolute roller coaster. One day I feel like I have Europe figured out and then the next day the washing machine has me defeated. I have to keep finding the silver linings in everything and reminding myself that these will be great stories one day. Who wants to hear about a trip that went perfectly smooth? Life is fun, and I can't wait to keep laughing at our mistakes and moving to the next adventure- even if it is mastering how do laundry.