Prague. Being abroad
Our time in Prague is now more than halfway over. I am pretty sure that everyone in the CET program is overly distraught knowing that one day we are all going to have to leave the wonderful and eye-opening city we have inhabited for four months. With this on my mind, I thought I would write some things about being abroad…maybe this is advice, maybe it is just what I have observed…I’m not sure but one thing I know is take every opportunity that is presented to you. As long as it does not seem too dangerous, just do it. You end up experiencing some of the greatest parts of your studies abroad. Meeting new people is a golden experience, no matter how cheesy that may sound, there is nothing like being exposed to another culture. If you are curious, approach people. Being a photographer, it is beneficial to be able to make conversation with anything to get the shot you desire. Just going up to a stranger can result in a story you will want to write down later or a photo you will want to take immediately. Even if you are nervous, just do it. There is no point in wasting an opportunity you really want. Along with taking opportunities, get involved. If you hear about a protest, a film festival, a speech, etc, go to it. You can sleep later. You can drink later. Events are fleeting; there will always be time to go out with friends later. Plus, I’m sure drinking a beer is somehow a part of whatever event you are going to. Another very important aspect of being in a foreign place is that you get out and explore. Get on a tram, a metro, a bus, a bike, your own feet, and go somewhere. Get out of your comfort zone and head to the end of the line. Sit in a strange metro station and observe. Walk through a neighborhood you have never heard of. Keep the juices flowing. Don’t let yourself sit inside on sunny days.
Everything I have written may seem obvious. The thing is to make sure you are taking advantage of this miniscule chunk of our lives that is so influential and eye opening. Being abroad for one semester is nothing in the scheme of things.
Now here are some images from this semester of wandering. I have stumbled across some great and strange things.
The images: A bunch of us joined in a protest in February against education reforms in the Czech Republic. (the chocolate labs walking with the crowd) It was a blast to see everyone walking through the streets blocking the tram tracks of Prague with their whistles and balloons and enthusiasm.
While walking around by a metro station, I came across a man wearing some sort of large garment on his head at 10am on a Monday. I approached him and asked to take his portrait. He was hilarious, and definitely strange. The garment was a curtain he had stolen. He mentioned that this was “not a typical Monday.”
One night at a bar by the Vlatava, we met David Černý, the famous Czech sculptor/visual artist. We had some awesome conversations with him…not to mention insane ones as well! Check out my roommate holding his autograph…I only had a purple crayon on hand for his signature so that made the situation even better.
Moral of the story: being in a new place is full of opportunity; embrace it!