One of the first responses I heard when I told people I was studying abroad in Europe was, “Oh that’s amazing! You can travel anywhere in Europe for super cheap!” Thanks to budget airlines, cheap buses and careful planning, I’ve been lucky enough to take advantage of the reality of cheaper international travel in the Schengen area, which is comprised of 26 European nations that eliminated border control. Still, I’ve only ventured outside of the Czech Republic — or Prague, for that matter — a grand total of three times this semester. With many of my peers crossing international borders every weekend, I’m not gonna lie: the FOMO is real.
The temptation to travel one week after the next is appealing, especially since being in Europe makes travel prices comparatively cheaper and the mythos of the adventurous 20-year-old go-getter harder to resist. Chatting with other students at NYU Prague, I’ve heard many plan their weekend travels at the beginning of the semester, right down to finals week. The amount of foresight is admirable, but an underappreciated thing about studying abroad in Europe is that many of us don’t take the time to get to know our own study away site. Caught up in the glitz of more well-known cities like London or Rome, we overlook the beauties of the streets we walk every day.
Though going to Budapest and France was exciting and nothing short of amazing, the quieter weekends I have had in Prague were equally as fun. Whether it was eating brunch at Café Savoy, finding new books at Shakespeare and Sons or joining my friends on a quest to find the best cheesecake in the city, there was no end to our local fun that cost way less than a plane ticket and often led to some of my best memories of this semester.
If traveling while abroad feels essential to the experience, the study away sites often host dozens of overnight and day trips throughout the semester. Oftentimes, the most you have to pay during these trips is a meal. Most overnight trips include two meals and four-star accommodations paid for by NYU. NYU Prague in particular has trips that cover most of the hotspots in the Czech Republic, from the spa town of Karlovy Vary to the UNESCO-certified (and incredibly Instagrammable) village of Český Krumlov. Some trips specifically have a cultural immersion factor that allow you to familiarize yourself with aspects of the location beyond the tourist traps.
When hearing about other students spending their study abroad constantly, well, abroad, the pressure to be on top of traveling all the time can be overwhelming. As in most other areas of life, balance is key. Go out and see the world, but also remember to take some time and spend it just relaxing and enjoying the site you now call home.
Email Joyce Lee at [email protected]