Program and Location:
NC State European Center; Prague, Czech Republic
Why did you choose to study abroad?
We are required to study abroad within the College of Design, but I wanted to use this opportunity to experience design in a very different context. Being able to empathize with an user group is one of the many facets of design, and studying abroad allowed me to explore European cultures which has expanded my breadth of design thinking.
What did you learn about yourself?
I learned the importance of perseverance. When you are out of your comfort zone, things may seem much more difficult to achieve. If you persevere and persist through uncomfortable moments, your whole character can be strengthened.
What was one of your favorite parts of your program?
I really enjoyed the culture shock of it all. Putting yourself in a new country with a new language, and a new set of people really opens your eyes to the opportunities around you. I enjoyed exploring Europe, and visiting different countries to experience the culture differences. Everything is so close, and traveling is fairly affordable once you get there.
How were your classes abroad different than if you would have taken them at NC State? Did you take any field trips or do anything outside of the traditional classroom?
Classes abroad were great in that they allowed you more space to figure things out yourself. My studio classes only had one project for the entire semester, which allows you plenty of time to develop your concepts to its fullest potential. It also allows you more time to fix mistakes, and problem solve more thoroughly. For astronomy, we took an interesting excursion to an observatory. It was a cold day, but it was a cool experience to see a live professional telescope. We also took an excursion to see an open coal mine in my Humans and the Environment class. It was extremely cool seeing the massive excavators used to strip the land, while also being very eye-opening to the hazards and effects of the process.
What advice do you have to future study abroad students?
Don’t be afraid to do your own thing. Some of the best experiences happen on your own, and it is easy to follow the crowd. Don’t get me wrong, doing things with your friends are great, but planning a day or two for yourself can be just as fun. You learn a lot about yourself and how you handle complex situations if they arise.
Would you do it again?
If I were repeatedly offered the opportunity, I would take it every time.
Is there any advice you would give to other students who share your identity?
Never let your color define you as person, especially abroad. I had a blast in all of the seven countries that I visited, and am eager to visit even more. Live in the moment and enjoy all of the experiences you have. Some of the issues that you may face in the US may not exist in other countries. If you go in with the mindset of having fun and getting the most out of the experience, there is nothing that can hold you back!