If meeting people from around the world and traveling all over Europe sounds like a fun way to spend a semester to you, STUDY IN PRAGUE! I’ve been in Prague for a little over two months now, and I really think it’s the perfect location to begin a Eurotrip adventure.
Since I’ve been here I’ve consistently been asked—especially by Czech students—why I chose Prague for study abroad. It’s definitely not as famous or exotic as a place like Paris or Hong Kong. My main reasons for choosing Prague are as follows:
- Prague is cheap.
- Prague is beautiful.
- Prague is right in the middle of Europe—and therefore, super convenient for traveling.
- Prague is CHEAP!!!!
The #1 joy of Prague is the exchange rate. As of today, 1 US dollar = about 19 Czech crown. Compare that to the exchange rate of the Euro (1 US dollar = 1.3 Euro) and the British pound (1 US dollar = 1.6 Pounds) and you’ll see why Prague is one of the best places to study in Europe. I’ve actually saved money on some living expenses by coming to Prague for the semester. For example, rent at the student dorms provided by my university is $500 for the semester. It’s difficult to find an apartment in Austin for $500 a month, and I have four months of rent at that price.
With the money I’ve saved, I’ve taken some amazing trips. To start off the semester, I arrived in Prague the second week of September. I spent one day in Prague moving into the dorms and getting settled, and the next morning I went back to the airport with my friend Savita and flew to Rome for a weeklong Italy trip!
Italy days 1-3: Romaaaa!
Rome in September has perfect warm weather (much better than how rainy and cold Prague was the day before). Honestly, the main thing that happened in Rome was that I feel in love. With who? Some gorgeous Italian man with excellent fashion sense and a Vespa?! False. I fell in love with the king of Europe travel guides, PBS star Rick Steves. The first thing we did was Rick Steve’s “Night Walk through Rome,” as detailed by my Rick Steves Pocket Rome guidebook. It was perfect. My new best friend Rick took us walking through almost all of Rome’s biggest tourist attractions—the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, the Pantheon, Piazza Navona, and more. Rome is really the most magical at night.
The next day we made went to Vatican City to visit with the pope. Warning to all ladies that want to visit Rome: Vatican security guards will not let you inside St. Peter’s Basilica if your skirt is above your knees. Since it was very hot Roma day and my friends and I were wearing short skirts, we were not allowed inside. Even though it was disappointing to not be able to potentially run into Pope Benedict, Vatican City was beautiful and we had a lovely gelato break nearby.
On day three of our Roma adventure, we explored ancient Rome at the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. So much history! Luckily, we had my bff Rick Steves there to guide us through it.
Italy days 4-6: Firenze/Cinque Terre
The next day Savita and I headed on a train to Florence. We purchased the Eurail pass for Italy before we left the US, and it turned out to be a great deal. I definitely recommend it for train travel around Europe—check out http://www.eurail.com.
Florence was even more charming than Rome. It’s not as bustling and loud as Rome—it’s a quiet and beautiful Tuscan city. We saw the statue of David (that’s not the real one pictured, you can’t take pictures in the museum) and the Duomo, and had lovely cappuccinos and pasta dinners. Perfect!
On our second day in Florence, we took a short train ride to Cinque Terre. Cinque Terre means “The Five Lands”, and is really a group of five towns on the Italian Riviera. It’s a top vacation spot for Europeans. We spent most of the day in one of the towns, Monterosso, because it has the biggest beach. It was my first time seeing the Mediterranean, so beautiful! The beach was much rockier than I was used to, and the town is so picturesque because most of the buildings are beautifully carved into the cliffs surrounding the coast.
Our last day in Florence we took the train back to Rome, said our final goodbyes to Italy, and flew home to Prague. Our first hostelling and Eurotrippin’ experience = success!