A well-balanced study abroad experience December 14, 2019

By (Texas Tech University) - abroad from 09/01/2017 to 12/10/2018 with

AIFS: Prague - Charles University

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
My confidence in myself improved, I became more open minded and started a more active lifestyle. I learned about sustainable practices in the EU that I have adapted in my American life. I also bonded with some amazing Eastern Europeans who adopted me into their world, and it was the best experience I could ask for.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

classes were just as challenging as at my home university, but also very gratifying. The coursework included readings, seminars, activities, and trips outside the classroom. I loved all of it.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

We had on-site directors and an office in town to reach AIFS staff, and they went above and beyond to help our experience.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

clean and nice, inexpensive washers and driers, biweekly cleaning, 20 minutes away from class

* Food:

delicious cafeteria food and a spending card for groceries and restaurants.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

There were lots of opportunities to become immersed, but many of the Americans stuck together and did not take advantage of the opportunities AIFS provides.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I never needed medical attention, but one of my friends had to go to the hospital and no representative showed up until the next morning. Pharmacies are highly accessible and AIFS offers help scheduling doctor appointments.

* Safety:

I felt MUCH safer in the streets of Prague than I have in any major US city. People were most likely to be pickpocketed, but no one was afraid of violence

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes

I got everything I needed from AIFS and have no regrets!

Finances

* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

Life was very affordable if you cooked a few times a week rather than going out for every meal. Most everything costs less in CZ than the US. Dinners and drinks out can get expensive, but I lived comfortably.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? probably usually around $100 per week on food, travel fare, and any entertainment during the week
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Make a meal plan, enjoy free experiences, flying around Europe is very cheap if its planned well, split things with friends, utilize public transport, don't fall for tourist traps

Language

* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

I loved the opportunity to learn a third language

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? none, just some online research
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? I watched lots of language youtube videos beforehand and phonetically wrote out the Czech alphabet so I could sound out new words.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • location
  • class quality
  • quality of life
* What could be improved?
  • hospital protocol
  • housing
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? The more I put into my growth and immersion, the more I would get out of it.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'