My identity as a Russian and multicultural student made studying abroad in the Czech Republic much easier than it seemed to be for others in my program. Russian is somewhat similar to Czech and I learned a bit of it before going on the program so there was little to no language shock. I also didn’t experience much culture shock because I’m used to adapting to multiple different cultures quickly, and Russian culture is somewhat similar to the Czech culture. I consider myself American as I’ve lived here longer than in Russia, so I somewhat forgot about the cultural differences, but it didn’t take me long to get used to them whereas the people in my program weren’t comfortable or used to them even by the end of it.
It also made the class I was taking much more interesting and a bit easier. I was learning about Cross Cultural Psychology through comparing American and Czech cultures, and I was able to tie in many things from Czech history into Russian history and get a deeper understanding of why people acted the way they did using that more in-depth background.
One of the highlights of my trip was going hiking an hour away from Prague with the group. The nature and the views were absolutely beautiful, but the best part of it was bonding with everyone in my program who went on the hike. This was a couple weeks into the program so we were already somewhat close, but the hike was the tipping point for many friendships I will likely have for a long time.