Here are some tips for your big study abroad adventure in Prague, Czech Republic!
1. Have local currency.
Not all merchants will take card and foreign transactions fees can add up!
Also, try to have smaller bills because not all merchants will have change for larger bills. Unlike places such as the United States, a lot of people do not have change for larger bills. Paying for a $5 ice cream with a $20 in the States is common, but that is not the case everywhere and it can be a challenge to keep in mind.
2. Learn how to say key words in the local language.
Examples: hello, thank you, sorry (which you will find yourself saying a lot), excuse me, please and good day.
Even if you can only say one or two words in the local language, it will make your interactions much more pleasant. The more you try to speak the language, the easier it becomes.
3. Make it a point to explore past the tourists’ areas.
There is a lot to see past the city center that will give you a better experience of your new city.
The square is usually the center of the city, and almost everything will likely be twice as expensive in that area as well. It pays to venture out and into the local areas and get a better feel for your new surroundings.
4. Begin your bucket list early!
The days will turn into weeks, and you don’t want to miss out on anything your new home has to offer.
If you have a schedule set up so that you have free time during the day, even a couple of hours, use that to your advantage! Checking off even one small item from your list everyday will make it a lot easier to manage.
5. Learn the public transportation system.
Knowing where the stops are located and what the hours of operation are for each mode of transportation will help you when you begin to go exploring alone.
Also, keep in mind that public transportation usually changes according to the day of the week, construction disturbances, and holidays. If there is a certain pass you need to carry, keep it in your bag at all times so you never have to worry about being stopped without it.
6. Keep yourself in check in your new surroundings and educate yourself on the culture.
You do not want to offend anyone or any culture.
It is important to remember you are not in your home country, and it is important to represent your country positively. Not everything is going to be as easy or as comfortable as it is at home, so keep that in mind.
7. Try to attend as many events held by your program or local university as possible!
This is a great way to see your new city from the perspective of people who live in the area, as well as an opportunity to interact with program members and advisors.
8. Take care of your body.
Make sure your health is a priority and don’t push yourself to do too much.
Most of the time, your days will be very long and there is likely to be a lot of walking involved. Your health is the most important thing, so do not over do it. Be prepared to make an adjustment and find a happy medium between exploring and resting that suits you personally.