Emily Johnson, a second year sociology major, is participating on the AIFS Abroad in Prague, Charles University global education program in spring semester 2022.
My program is based in Prague, Czech Republic and all of my courses are through Charles University, Faculty of Arts. The Czech Republic has a rich history that started thousands of years ago and has continued to this day. Charles University, as the oldest university in Central Europe, gives me incredible access to that history. Being here, I am able to truly divulge myself into the culture of the Czech Republic and gain insight that is immeasurable in my understanding of the world around me. Our program includes trips to surrounding towns and historical landmarks in Prague, which allow me to see with my own eyes where the events took place. With Prague’s location being so central in Europe, I’m able to make the most of my time abroad by visiting many neighboring countries. Also, the Czech Republic is extremely affordable so I’m able to take advantage of opportunities I might not get to elsewhere. I chose this program for the location, but will leave loving it because of the culture.
Being abroad is truly so surreal. This time last year, I would have never thought that I’d get this opportunity. Despite my pessimism, I took all the steps needed to prepare in the case that it could happen. Now, I’m here in the Czech Republic living out what is truly my biggest dream. The past few years have been so difficult—from my senior year of high school being cut short to attending my first-year of college as a first generation student amidst a pandemic—but they have led me to this opportunity and for that I am so thankful. I could have never imagined that this experience could be so fulfilling. My perspective of the world, of life and of myself have changed in such a beautiful way. I am so humbled by this experience, and it will be something that I carry with me forever.
Studying abroad gives you a perspective on the world that you simply can’t obtain from textbooks. You can read all about Prague but until you know what the inside of St. Vitus Cathedral smells like, you can never truly understand. Pictures are beautiful, but the real things are breathtaking. Studying abroad pushes you outside of your comfort zone and teaches you things about yourself you didn’t know before—and may never know unless you do it. You will meet people and see places that will change your perspective on life; and the best part is that you then have the opportunity to share that perspective with others. I love Ohio State so much and have definitely missed Columbus while I’m away, but the opportunity to study abroad is truly the best experience I could ask for. If you ever have even the smallest opportunity to study abroad—grasp it. It will be the most fulfilling thing you ever do.