When I chose to study abroad, I knew I wanted a semester filled with completely new experiences. I chose to study in Prague, Czech Republic for this reason, and the school I have been attending has been quite different from what I am used to at UA. I attend Anglo-American University here in Prague, and it is incredibly different from the University of Alabama. While UA has over 35,000 students, AAU has under 1,000, most of which are study abroad students. Even though most of the students at AAU are study abroad students, the programs represented aren’t just American programs. Almost all of the classes have a mix of international students from countries all over the world. The teaching staff is very international as well. There are professors from the Czech Republic, Belgium, the United States, and more. I love the dynamics of my university because I get the experience of meeting people from various cultures while still learning in a comfortable, English-speaking setting. I have also enjoyed the opportunity to attend a small university for a short period of time, since it is so starkly different from the size of UA.
The school building I attend class in is actually a refurbished palace, so the interior is quite beautiful. AAU also owns the park behind the school, and it is one of the most beautiful parks I have ever seen. The school is in one of the older and city-like parts of Prague, so this park is a hidden gem among all of the cobblestone streets and buildings. It is filled with so many beautiful flowers that have been blooming since April, and you can actually find a ton of peacocks there as well.
Most of the classes at AAU meet only once a week for three hours at a time, so that was an adjustment. I actually love this setup because my class schedule has been more consolidated and has allowed me more time to travel on the weekends. My favorite class that I am taking is Elementary Czech Language and Culture. I have really valued taking a class that I can apply to my everyday life here in Prague. Even the smallest things like ordering in a restaurant have become so much easier because I have learned about the culture through class.
Even though almost every aspect of my school in Prague has been different from the University of Alabama, I have loved every second of it. I have been challenged to learn in new ways, and I have come to appreciate the pros and cons of a different educational atmosphere. I can’t wait to return to UA in the fall, but at the same time, I can’t imagine leaving my new home-away-from-home.