Thursday, September 24, 2009

My Life as an InternationGirl

Well it has been so long since I have blogged. I am so excited to tell you all of the current adventures here in Brno, Czech Republic.

First, I arrived here about two weeks ago and things were wrong from the start. I was exhausted. My Atlantic flight, I got my first European experience from the guy sitting next to me who smelt like there was no such thing as a shower but did believe in cologne. Not such a good combination. Then after three flights and a long train ride I arrived at the bus station in Brno. My tutor met me the station and took me and my luggage to the dorm. I found that my roommate was already here. I went out and around town and had my first Czech meal. It was the most fatty and tough pork I have ever had and was covered in a heavy sauce with whip cream and cranberries.

Well I somehow managed to eat it all and made my way back to the room exhausted... I walk into find a guy in my room standing by the bathroom. I left for about ten minutes to run an errand. I came back to find the same guy there. I walked in and began to unpack and I turned around to find the guy doing the same. Confused I asked if he was my roommate... he said he was . I was so tired and stressed, I just wanted to get in the bed but I had so many things going through my head about how I had a male roommate. He was nice, yes, but it was too new. A new country, first time in a dorm, having never shared a space before, new person whose english was not the best... and it was a guy.

The next moring I left, I had a chance to cry and try and piece things together. It would be easy to just ask to change rooms, but I had already signed my contract and to cancel it I would have had to pay a fine. So as I returned to my room, a lady came to the door and asked if my roommate was there. He had just left so she began to explain to me that there had been a mistake made and they mixed up the name with my "real" roommate and he was to move out as soon as he returned. I was so happy I did not know what to do!

Once that situation was handled, I went out with my tutor and got registered with the police and he showed me around the city. I was ready to go home later but needed to go to the store. My tutor told me how to get there and then said he was going home, even after I asked him to help me make sure I got back alright. So then I had to find out how to get to the store. That went well... but he didn't tell me how to get home! So of course I had no idea how to get there, but he did make sure he gave me a map earlier in the day, but the map was missing the names of the stops and the numbers. I was lost in the city for hours with groceries and had no idea how to get home. Most people do not speak english and the young people are a little scared to use their english so they will say that they don't. The only way I got home was by just happening to come by some english speaking people who helped me get home.

"I wanna slap the communism out of this country", comes from someone I have come close to. There is alot of things that have happened in the country that make the people here act and feel the way they do because of all of the wars and situations they have had to face. The communist aspect of life from back then still lingers and it makes alot of everyday things that should be simple, very hard. So just experiencing all the staring and odd looks from people, no customer service and getting ripped off for not speaking the language, understandable. We get through it. It is hard, but we do what we know how.

After a stressful two first days, I met my real roommate in whom is AMAZING!

Things have gone uphill since then. I live in a great hall. We all get along like a family and have become close really quickly... they are my family. I had the highest hope to make bbq with Gates bbq sauce while I am here. Sadly, I was not able to find a grill... yet. So I went ahead and made dinner for the floor and we had dinner in the hall together. I made hamburgers and homemade french fries. Some other people brought things and we had a great time just enjoying each others company and having dinner. It was a great feeling to feed people and having the chance to sit down and talk. I am really
(In this picture, left to right: Michaela, Tyler, Tom, Laura, Gabriella, Brad, Steffie, Lauren and Megan)

beginning to like here...

Advice this time: take Oreos and peanut butter. They can get you through a whole lot. Meeting people on Facebook can save you alot of hassle by already knowing people and understanding they are going through the same thing. Get to know the people around you, they will definitely be able to help you, even if it is everyone's first time. Don't be exclusive; get to know any type of person that you come by. They may be the one to help you that you least expect.

But mostly... things will go wrong... and alot of the time. But know that its just that moment. Don't let the fear of not knowing or understanding hold you from what you can be.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Get Involved!

So, this fall I will be attending Masaryk University in Czech Republic for a semester. I am quite excited. I have not even left yet but I am beginning my journey already. I have met some interesting people who have helped me and already learned some things.

I wanna tell you about my friends!!! So I was on facebook and I was looking at student groups. I found a group, ERASMUS Brno. I have already met a ton of students who will be working or studying in Brno. They are so nice. Not everyone is going to Masaryk, some are going to the shoool of technology. But either way, it has been great. These people are from everywhere all over Europe. They have helped me so much. It is so nice to talk to other students who are going through the same thing that I am and they are able to give me advise. They have been there to answer my questions and they have been so great with calming down my fears about my first abroad experience. They have been an experience and doors to the world outside of the U.S. I have gotten to practice my spanish, and learn words in Czech.

And they inform me on shopping- less expensive and a great selection... this may be a problem. I dont think I have enough suitcase space for the shopping I will be doing. Oh the agony!!!!

I got to meet with Kate last week, she was so extremely helpful. I needed that. She sat down with me and helped me plan out my visa process. We went over everything, then she explained some details to me about the trip. I told her I will be landing in Vienna. She told me I should probably stay in Vienna over night and try to enjoy the city while fighting jet lag. I think that it is brilliant, so yes I am now looking for hotels in Vienna. But still have yet to figure out how to get the train from Vienna to Brno.

At this point, I have been so happy to be able to get things accomplished. I am still trying to wrap myself around the fact that I am leaving in a few months. I plan to travel while I am there. Making these plans take so much time and energy. But it is worth it.

My current advice, get involved. Put yourself out there. It will pay off. I would love to hear from the rest of you and get to know how everything is going for you! So please, respond. And who knows, maybe we can meet in your or my host country!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Add VideoMathew Varon studied in Mexico and won Honorable Mention in UMKC's 2008 study abroad photo contest!

Farrisa Sarreal went to Mexico and won 2nd place in UMKC's 2008 study abroad photo contest!

McKenzie Retzer went to France and won 1st Place in UMKC's 2008 photo contest!