I’ve known that I wanted to study abroad since I was a kid. I’ve always been interested in travelling, but the experience of living in a foreign country as a student is a once in a lifetime experience. I chose Prague due to its central location in Europe, making it quite easy to travel around the region. Also, because it is not in the eurozone, the Czech Republic is a more affordable country than other popular European countries. During my time in Prague, I was surrounded by other international students, allowing me to form strong connections with people that I would never have the opportunity of meeting if I weren’t here. Due to the global health crisis, there was a much smaller number of American students studying abroad, which really incentivized me to leave my comfort zone and involve myself in diverse, very international social circles. I am interested in working in an international business environment in the future; I am immensely grateful for the connections I have made during my time abroad, and look forward to strengthening them in both personal and professional realms.

There were a few unexpected changes in my semester abroad due to the unpredictable impacts of COVID. For example, three days before in-person classes were scheduled to commence, it was announced that classes would be moved to an online format for the semester. While I was not originally excited to hear this, I was able to travel for longer periods of time than I would have been able to had classes been in-person. I spent two weeks traveling around Austria and Poland, as well as 10 days under the warm sun in Croatia (a nice taste of the Texas heat that I was missing). With the extended travel time, I was able to immerse myself more deeply in these destinations and their unique cultural offerings.

As my time in Prague is nearing its end (for now), I am returning home with a greater motivation to enjoy the present moment. While I may wish some moments last forever, I realize now that the impermanence of every moment is the most beautiful part, each a fleeting treasure that makes life worth living.

– Carlos Riddle, ’21