During my time in the Czech Republic, I was luck enough to visit two continents and seven different countries. I was also taken back by how immersive the experience was as well as the cultural immersion in general. The program/school I attended (VSE, Prague) actually had an enormous international student population. There were around 600 of us. We all lived in set-aside dorms near campus and the city center. I was the only student from A&M to attend, and it was unbelievable to be surrounded by other eager, open-minded, fun individuals of other nationalities who had chosen to partake in this experience as well. The program set up by the university was incredible, it was very easy to make friends and participate in the local community/culture. Because of this, I not only learned a great deal about Czech culture, but Australian, Kiwi, French, you name it.
The culture (as I mentioned in my prior post) took a bit of getting used to. The older generations especially preferred the quiet and minimal social interaction , in large part due to the bloody recent past of their country, but upon getting to know them, are all wonderful people. Many of my classes were very immersive, with both international and Czech students. Because of this, I could actually see how greatly general business practices and etiquette vary across cultures. And even more meaningful, I was able to witness how said cultures can effectively blend together in order to create a broader, more knowledgeable, work environment.
Most of my travels were in western and central Europe (with the exception of Morocco). When I traveled, a lot of the history revolved around communism, totalitarianism, and the Holocaust. While these certainly are not uplifting topics, they are important to history nonetheless. Reading about it in books back home is drastically different from witnessing where such practices occurred in person, and how their shadows still linger today. Learning about topics such as these made me more mindful to what others in the world must endure as well as opened my eyes to why certain people and cultures operate in which they ways they do.
On a lighter note, the city of Prague was well as the others I visited (Berlin, Vienna, Krakow, Morocco, Paris, and Budapest) full of beauty, fantastic food, cheap drinks, and never-ending entertainment. I’ll share some of my favorite pictures from my trips below!
Prague, Czech Republic
Sahara Desert, Morocco
I hope whoever reads this post gets a bit of insight into what a great experience my exchange was. It is an experience unlike any other and highly recommend!