UNDERGRADUATE ADMISSIONS at WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY in ST. LOUIS

Prague Update: Don’t Knock it Till You Try It

I’ve done it. I’ve actually done it. I survived Intensive Czech. Today was the last day of our three hour Czech language classes and – ¬†even though I really appreciated the class and actually have become more interested in learning functional Czech, or what I like to call “Taxi Czech” – I’m also relieved that it’s over. My entire last semester basically consisted of three hour classes back to back and I was kind of hoping that this study abroad opportunity would be a way to get away from all of that. But the last day was pretty nice. We checked our homework, did some review, and then had the infamous exam that we’d been hearing about all week. We knew that we were going to be tested on how much of our learning we’d actually retained and, since we were learning so freaking much everyday, everyone was just a little bit anxious as to how the test was going to go. Turns out there was no need to worry. It was a breeze – I’m sure I aced it with flying colors – and I think that most of the class thinks the same. That must be somewhat common across Europe though; everyone who’s studying abroad here has remarked that the coursework and exams were surprisingly easy. But, of course, that’s just hearsay and you should in no way take my word for it.

Anyway, after that we had our real test: ordering in Czech at a local restaurant. I ordered my first beer in Prague – I’ve been here more than a week and a half and am only now ordering what basically amounts to the country’s national drink. A tip to any students that may be thinking about studying abroad in Prague or any other country well known for their beer: order dark beer, not light. If you’re like me, you’re not really a fan of beer in the first place and dark beer is significantly less bitter than light. Also, don’t be afraid to try new things. I wouldn’t necessarily order the dark beer again – I have a definite sweet tooth and my beer just wasn’t doing it for me – but it definitely wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be and now I’m looking forward to finding something that I’ll like, and that means trying lots of new things. I took that approach with my food as well and ended up loving it – especially the price, everything is so cheap here! – and now I can definitely say that I would go to that restaurant again.

So I guess the moral of the story is just to have an open mind when you’re abroad. It sounds obvious but it’s much harder when your lunch consists of a choice between liver dumplings and some very safe-sounding pasta. I’m not saying to make yourself sick trying some never-before-seen option just because you can, but if someone’s been recommending the national dish, I say don’t knock it ’till you try it.