As an international student, I have learned that every culture has something significantly unique to offer this world.

That’s why on February 9, I flew to the historical and baroque city of Prague for my study abroad semester in the Czech Republic.

Since I’m currently studying abroad in the U.S. through Denison, I consider my time in Prague to be an “abroad-abroad” experience.

The program I’m enrolled is called ‘Arts & Social Change,’ organized by the School for International Training (SIT). Throughout the semester, we get to study diverse art forms within the contemporary society of Prague.

We then have to complete an independent study project centered on the topic of art or social justice, where we collect first-hand primary research and present our results with a well-articulated research paper throughout our 15 week stay in the country.

There are seven of us, including me, currently participating in this program. However, I’m the only student from Denison. Although a small group, all of us are American students coming from various backgrounds who strangely bond over different beliefs.

All of us are allowed to choose one elective course in addition to our four classes. As an english major, I thought it would be the most fitting to take creative writing as my elective.

I’ve also had the amazing opportunity to work with Petra Hůlová, one of the leading Czech writers in the country whose exceptional work and dynamic ideas are helping me hone my skills as a writer.

What I appreciate the most about this program is how during school hours, we get to do activities that involve leaving the classroom.

For example, we can visit art galleries, attend theatrical performances and roam around the city looking for quaint cafes to sit to do homework in. After school, we go back to our host families and spend some time with them before going back out again to explore more of the city.                                                                             

This program allows us to go on short excursion trips to the neighboring countries of Germany, Poland and Slovakia for a deeper understanding behind the rich and complex history of former Czechoslovakia.

I’ve always been passionate about learning of cultures very different from my own. During my time in Prague, I’ve made a conscious effort to get around on public transport, eat more knedlíkys (dumplings) and greet locals using my limited knowledge of the Czech language. It’s only been three weeks, but I’m extremely grateful to have gotten such an enriching experience. Studying abroad is more than just an opportunity for cultural immersion, it’s a time when you take risks, test your level of independence and get more in-tune with the world around you.