The Heart of Europe Has Stolen My Heart

Written by Celina Barone, (Elon University) Student Correspondent CET Film Production in Prague, Spring 2017

Becoming a local and exploring the streets of Prague!

Another month and a half has flown by here in the Czech Republic. Within the film production program, we have now formed groups, and are creating our scripts for our final short film we will be producing in April (just a month and a half away! Aaah!). I would be lying if I said parts of the process weren’t intimidating, like pitching your story to eight extremely experienced and credible film professors. But, we made it out alive and are feeling confident and excited to see our story come to life!

We just returned from spring break, and it couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. Everyone was at the peak of stress with their films, had just given their final pitches, and needed a new mini adventure. And what an adventure it was. Thanks to this free week given to us, I was able to explore the cities of Nice, Barcelona, and Dublin with some of my FAMU friends. Considering my past spring breaks have been Myrtle Beach and visiting my grandma, this year has taken the cake for best spring break yet.

Planning travel plans can seem very overwhelming at first. When I began my web search, I didn’t even know where to begin. But with the help of friends who have been abroad, I was able to focus on more student-centered travel sites like Kayak and StudentUniverse. There you can find flights, buses, and hostels/hotels all in one. It eased my anxiety so much, and once you book your first trip you get the hang of it. Just take deep breaths, call your parents, and get advice from others. Do not book the first flight/hotel you find. Read reviews and check the layover time (I almost accidentally booked a flight with a six hour layover in London until a friend pointed it out!). Something might seem cheap, but in relativity it could be very expensive or cheap, but not worth it. After this break, I definitely have grown and feel more like an adult than I ever have. It’s an anxious, but liberating process.

So many museums, so litle time!

We are almost halfway through our study abroad experience, and this once big, scary city is starting to feel local. Though I had a blast traveling over break, as it was ending I was excited to get back to the familiarity I developed with Prague. I even accidentally called it home multiple times, confusing some people. I also learned a lot about Czech culture while visiting these other cities, and thus was able to return to Prague with an even higher appreciation for it. It was the coolest thing to visit friends who are studying in other countries and share the differences we’ve picked up on between our cultures. Though I must say, I did love the Spaniard’s idea of “tapas,” a meal consisting of many delicious and filling appetizers, and would totally be on board if the Czechs decided to adopt that tradition.

As more time passes, gratitude for my circumstances increases. Each city I visit makes me more confident and happy with my decision to study in Prague. It has been everything I needed, and I can already feel myself growing more than I imagined. I don’t want this semester to end, but the most I can do is take in every moment and appreciate this once in a lifetime opportunity!