My first trip overseas was when I moved to Prague, Czech Republic, to study abroad during my junior year of college (spring semester of 2012). To this day, Prague remains my favorite city on earth and it’s one of the very few cities that I call home.
Here’s a photo of me drinking a delicious Czech Pilsner beer (the first of many) on the first day I arrived at my new home in Prague. Looking back at this photo, I can remember how nervous and excited I felt for the start of this new chapter in my life.
I can confidently say that I wouldn’t be writing this blog post right now if I didn’t choose to study abroad. It changed my life forever.
I was 20 years old, and spending 5 months living in Europe was the best choice I could have made at the time. My eyes were opened up to new sites, smells, cultures and cuisines. I became addicted to meeting new people and having new experiences that I never knew existed.
I decided on going to Prague (over Buenos Aires) beacuse it is centrally located in Europe so I could go on weekend trips to other countries. Someone also told me that Prague was cheap and it had great nightlife, so I was sold.
On Jan 18, 2012, I moved to Prague all by myself without knowing anyone else on my program. I was paired with 2 random roommates, who have turned into my best friends to this day. Here are a few photos of us together.
I didn’t waste a minute of time in Prague, partying 6 nights a week and visiting 20+ countries over 5 months, including a 3 week backpacking trip after my program ended. It seemed like every other weekend, I found myself at a nightclub in another big city (Berlin, Amsterdam, Belgrade, Rome, Krakow, Budapest, Munich or Barcelona).
Oh yeah, and then there was the school part… The program I attended was called CIEE, and it was amazing. Even though classes were mandatory to attend, the learning part was pretty easy and the Czech professors were super nice. Better yet, all of my credits transferred over to my economics degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. It was actually the best semester I had in all 4 years (3.8 GPA) — and I was hungover in 90% of classes.
Studying abroad was when the light bulb went off in my head that I wanted to make a career out of travel.
I remember exactly when I told myself that I could figure out a way to make traveling my full-time job. I didn’t exactly know how I was going to do it, but I knew that after I graduated college, I was off to the races.
My first idea to make money and travel was to start a travel social networking app, which would connect likeminded travelers with locals in any given city. I even wrote a 20+ page business plan that I actually pitched in my entrepreneurship classes in college. But I soon realized how time consuming this project was, how much money I needed to raise from an investor, and how risky it was to market this thing to the world.
So instead of taking the travel app route when I graduated college, I decided to teach English in Korea and start a travel blog from day 1. Travel blogging is essentially risk-free and doesn’t cost much to start. It has led me to where I am today.
If you connect the dots, studying abroad in Prague triggered this lifestyle for me – which is why it was one of the best decisions of my life. I discovered my love for traveling and experiencing new cultures.
For one reason or another, none of my close friends decided to study abroad, but I surely took advantage of this great opportunity to see the world and I highly recommend you to do the same.
If you are a high school or college student and reading this blog post, I urge you to look into to studying abroad opportunities as it will also change your life. I am happy to be a resource for you along the way, so please contact me if you need any advice!
Thanks for reading 🙂