I studied abroad through the CIEE summer in Prague program. CIEE was absolutely wonderful and so helpful throughout the month I was in Prague. When my luggage was lost when I first arrived, they would call the airport for me because I could not communicate with the airport staff due to the language barrier. They would help with physical health needs, mental health needs, academic needs, and whatever else you may need or want. I was placed in an apartment with a CIEE flat buddy who was a local student that could help show me around the city and help me to adjust to my new surroundings. She introduced me to restaurants, coffee shops, and other fun things to do around Prague. I took a Psychology course through the CIEE program that was called Psychoanalysis of Society. It was a fascinating class and the professor was understanding of his students wanting to get out and travel instead of sit in a classroom for hours. The class was three hours a day for four days a week, but we went on two field trips! We would have class discussions outside in a beautiful courtyard that overlooked the city of Prague and the projects we were assigned were always fun and never time consuming.

During my stay, I traveled to Amsterdam, Croatia, and Budapest. It is hard to choose a favorite because they were all such different atmospheres, environments, and cultures. I would love to travel back to each one. Amsterdam had a wonderful city life and an overall happy feel to it. The canals and the water were very peaceful. For anyone traveling to Amsterdam, I recommend doing a boat canal tour. You get to see all of Amsterdam while cruising through the canals and it is so beautiful.

If I had to choose an absolute favorite, I would choose Croatia. It was a life-changing experience to visit Dubrovnik, Croatia and I was in awe the four days I was there. I have never seen views as beautiful as those in the city of Dubrovnik. Swimming in the ocean was phenomenal because even if it was thirty feet deep you could see straight to the bottom. We went cliff jumping, cave swimming, and on many more ocean adventures that brought me way out of my comfort zone. I am usually scared of the water! The beaches weren’t sandy, they were stones and rocks. They hurt your feet, but it was very neat to experience a different type of beach I had never been to! I collected sea glass off a beach that was covered in it and made it look like the surface was green and blue. The old city was also fun to walk around; it has restaurants, shops, and shows. The beaches and city were overall so gorgeous and I recommend this country to everyone!

I was only in Budapest for a day and I went to Sziget music festival. It was amazing because it contained music from all over the world. My personal favorite was Lana Del Rey. I wish I got to experience Budapest’s city and nightlife, but all I got to see was the music festival. My trip got cut short because I came down with food poisoning. My word of advice for Budapest is: Don’t eat the Thai food!

Studying abroad was the greatest experience of my life. I wish I could do it every semester. I made the best friends I have ever made and I am still keeping in touch with them and plan to visit them in Oregon in June. I wish I would have known how much I was going to love it so I could have signed up to do it for the entire summer instead of just one month. To any student that is considering studying abroad: DO IT! There is nothing to regret about it. I spent my whole savings in Europe and I still do not regret a thing. I wish I could relive that entire month over and over! I am so grateful to have CIEE and a Study Abroad Center at UTC that helped me through my journey.

Samantha Capps is majoring in Exercise Science with minors in Communication and Psychology. She spent Summer, 2018 studying abroad in Prague, Czech Republic through CIEE. Samantha had the following to say about her time abroad, “Studying abroad was the best choice I have ever made and I recommend it to everyone. If you are worried about anything, discuss it with the study abroad advisors! They will help you through anything. Don’t let anything hold you back from a once in a lifetime experience!

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