While most of us were packing our cars full of dorm decorations and making our way back to campus, some Wake Forest students were hopping on planes to fly from country to country for a completely different semester experience.
By trading in their student IDs for passports, these students travel far and wide for good food, new people and a window into another culture. This week, I asked a few juniors about their experiences so far in the city of Prague in the Czech Republic this semester.
Although exciting and refreshing, picking up and moving to an entirely new country for three months is quite an adjustment. “The first few days are weird because at first you’re spending so much energy on the small things, like using Google Translate everywhere you go and trying to figure out how to work the transportation systems,” said junior Elly Anderson.
Students described the drastically different schedules, with classes at strange times and an abundance of free time. However, this new schedule allows them to travel nearly anywhere in Europe on the weekends.
Junior Abigail Anderson recounted her recent trip to Greece. She and her friends had the opportunity to visit Athens, tour the Acropolis and enjoy authentic Greek food on a boat cruise in Santorini.
From an academic standpoint, the classes in Prague offer a new perspective into Czech culture. Through classes that fulfill major and minor requirements, students are able to relate their studies to both current and historical events in Czech Republic.
Anderson detailed how her communications classes focused on how American media impacted post-communist Czech media. She also explained how her psychology classes explored the way communism affected Czech culture and the way people think today. “It’s really cool how the classes for my major here tie into relevant issues within Czech culture today,” said Anderson.
Most students that go abroad choose to go with a group of close friends, no matter where they decide to study. Traveling from one country to the next with your best friends sounds more like a vacation than school, and Wake Forest students in Prague agree that this is one of the best parts of the experience.
“There’s so much opportunity to branch out and get to know other people that you wouldn’t have met if you weren’t living abroad with them. I can’t imagine not having friends from school here too; it’s made the transition so much easier,” Anderson said.
There’s no doubt that relaxing on a beach in Greece or walking the streets of Prague seems infinitely more appealing than studying in ZSR all night or sitting in class all day. Wake Forest has programs in over 70 countries, and it’s no wonder so many of the students jump at the chance to explore these opportunities. Juniors currently studying abroad agree that it’s nice to be in a different place for a few months after staying at Wake Forest for two years, and they look forward to a semester full of new experiences ahead of them.