Updated: Nov 8
Author: Rosa Palacios
Date of Publication: 05/10/2022
Studying abroad has always been the dream of many people, but only "dreams" remain. I used to live in El Salvador, a very small country with few opportunities to study abroad. It actually seems crazy. However, I always wanted to live that experience. So, since I graduated from high school. I began to look for different opportunities by myself. These would allow me to do the best possible. Obviously I didn't have the financial resources so my other option was to look for full scholarships that would enable me to leave the country. I applied for multiple scholarships but the process wasn’t easy or fast. There were some that I had to wait for more than three months, which is quite frustrating. Despite that, I did not give up and continued applying for scholarships without being disappointed. Finally, I tried my luck applying for a scholarship offered by the government of the Czech Republic.
To be honest, I didn’t even know that after so many exams, interviews and documents I would be selected for this program. I couldn't believe it, I had even started university in my country. I had to decide whether to go or not and everything that decision entails. Obviously I chose to leave the country and I remember that I had less than 3 months to fix everything. One of the first iopsteps was to obtain a Czech visa, which was complicated because there is no consulate in my country. Thus, I had to make a short trip to Mexico to solve this. After having everything ready, the next step was the flight to the Czech Republic. It was my first flight so I had to prepare myself mentally. Upon arrival, everything was new, unknown, with a language that I did not understand, so it was a great challenge.
After a few years I was able to communicate in Czech language, finish my bachelor studies and finally I started to feel comfortable with the culture and people. I am ready to get used to how everything works, of course I still miss my home country but this new opportunity is worth it. My advice to you is not to be discouraged by things you don't know, if you don't feel part of a new country, if you still don't know how to communicate in its language or if you just miss home. Everything happens for a reason so live in the moment and work for a better future.
Tips when coming to Czech Republic
Here are some tips that will work for you if you arrive in a new country without knowing anyone, that actually worked for me:
● Use public transport. In the Czech Republic, transport isn’t expensive at all. You can buy day tickets or even up to 3 days. If you travel for longer, of course there are more options but they are also cheaper ones.
● If you arrive very late at the airport and don’t think that the only option you have is a taxi. Download transport applications that will surely be a thousand times cheaper than the taxis you find outside the airport. For example uber or bolt.
● Do a search for the nearest supermarkets. Logically you have many options but in the same way it is economical to prepare your food. You can even find small stores at your convenience, some of these are open 24 hours a day.
● Where to stay? We should say that it is rather better to stay in the downtown area of the city. This is because from here you will practically be able to walk to most of the attractions and enjoy the city.
More about Accommodation
Something worth saying is that unlike other European cities, Prague is a city with accommodation with much more affordable prices. You can really get a great option for a price that may surprise you. To ensure this (even more so in high season), it is best to book your accommodation early. This is due to the high demand that is usual in the city. In fact, you can stay in any of the areas you saw on the map above. Yet below I am going to recommend 2 areas that are perfect for sleeping in Prague due to their proximity to the historic center.
Being the neighborhood that concentrates the old part of the city, Staré Město is a great area to stay in Prague. The main reason is that you can walk to practically all the tourist attractions in a short time. In addition, you will be located in a very charming place, full of narrow streets and very beautiful buildings.
Another excellent option to sleep in Prague is this neighborhood “mala strana”. It will not take more than 10 minutes to get to the old town. Cobblestone streets weave through the hills connecting to Prague Castle and Charles Bridge, so the location is truly perfect. Here you will be able to get incredible hotel rooms (even considered luxury) at a price that you probably won't believe. There are also options for smaller budgets, including various hostels.
In short, emigrating can lead to better opportunities and great personal development. However, throughout this process, different challenges arise. Try to face the situation and look for solutions that can help you to make the adaptation process easier. This is clearly a new experience and is very different for everyone. But don’t get discouraged if you feel out of luxury. Better surround yourself with people who are going through the same. Also stay busy, look for activities that you like, go out with new friends, study the language. Follow your habits, since these help you maintain a routine. This allows adaptation to the new context to be easier, since stress levels are reduced.