Three Years Gone
So, sitting here today, now three years removed from the start of the greatest four month adventure, memories of Prague still remain vivid. Sure, a lot has changed since returning such as finishing my bachelors degree, completing my masters and starting to become a CPA. But Prague still remains a focal point in my memory. So how did a city I knew so little about become so magical?
Until I stepped onto the plane on that late January night in 2011, the primary images of my college career consisted of palm trees, beaches and parties. A temporary change of culture was certainly welcomed. An incredible experience was undoubtedly expected, but to that extent? Even the optimist in me couldn’t have predicted what was to come. As our group arrived, my images of palm trees and beaches were replaced with castles, bridges and churches. We aimlessly wandered the streets of Prague at the beginning of this journey trying to soak everything in and quickly knew how special this place was. Arriving in the dead of winter, the staff, including the legendary Z, alerted us that this city transforms itself upon the arrival of Spring.
With tourists so few and far between at the beginning of the semester, we were able to wander anywhere with the incredibly efficient public transit system and take in the incredible architecture and atmosphere by ourselves. You can walk a mile in any direction in Prague and likely discover something from the 1400’s or earlier.
But one of the critical moments of the semester occurred around the middle of March. The transformation Z referred to in January was starting to unfold in front of our eyes. The gloomy gray skies of winter started to give way to blue skies. The grass woke up and flowers bloomed everywhere. Parks became a primary destination for running and sightseeing. Paddle-boating on the Vltava river opened with the opportunity to soak in the atmosphere and watch the amazing sunsets over the Prague Castle. It felt like the city was reborn and its true magic was unveiled. Tourists flocked from all over the globe to visit the same sights we had just immersed ourselves in a few weeks prior.
Upon the end of the semester, I remember just about everyone in the group had no desire to leave Prague as it quickly became our favorite city. I didn’t truly realize at the time how much I enjoyed the past 4 months as I was seemingly content with returning home to the United States. A quote that I kept in mind during the end of my experience was, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” In short, the simple message of this reflection is, if you have the chance and ability to travel abroad at any point in your life, GO and don’t think twice about it. You won’t regret it. I know I don’t.
Thank you Kevin for sharing your wonderful words about Prague. Find out more about studying there on our website. Na zdraví!