Hi! My name is Sam, and I am a junior at Emory University studying Economics and Mathematics. Currently, I am abroad in Prague, Czech Republic on a CIEE (Council on International Educational Exchange) program. Throughout the semester I will be sharing my personal experiences with academics in a new setting, the amazing sights Prague offers, cultural differences between Americans and Europeans, and my travels to other countries throughout Europe. Feel free to follow along with my posts on Twitter using the hashtag #SamAbroad.
As I am getting ready to go home in just about two weeks for winter break before returning to school, I have been getting in the holiday spirit in Europe. It can be hard to be away from your family for so long, but luckily I have found fun winter activities here.
In the middle of November I took a trip to Paris; a friend and I who are both studying in the Czech Republic met up with two friends studying in France and Italy. Because of a national holiday commemorating the 25th anniversary of the end of communism in the Czech Republic, I had an extra day off and could extend my trip! After visiting all the touristy attractions, like the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower and Montmartre, my friends and I strolled along the streets of Paris. Unexpectedly, we stumbled upon a humongous Christmas market. For hours we tried on handmade jewelry and winter hats, ate crepes and churros, and passed hundreds of the street vendors. After, we went ice-skating at a rink among the markets. This activity was a perfect way to end an amazing day in Paris, and it definitely got me excited for the holidays.
Just a couple weeks after my trip to Paris, it was already Thanksgiving. This was my first time celebrating the holiday without my family, which made me a little homesick. However, knowing that all my friends were in the same situation made me feel better. And, I was able to find a time to video chat with my family while they were preparing for Thanksgiving dinner. My friends from Emory were visiting Prague that weekend, so I was excited to have dinner with them on Thursday. Some students cooked a feast on their own while others found a price fixe buffet at different hotels or restaurants around the city; my friends and I chose to make a reservation at a casual restaurant. Ironically, the restaurant was only vegetarian, so we did not even eat turkey on Thanksgiving. However, we did devour an apple pie as dessert, so I still felt like I was celebrating the holiday. While I missed some of my family’s traditions, I still had an amazing time celebrating with close friends.
Now, the December holidays are on their way, and Prague has several markets and decorations all over the city. This afternoon I am going to check out the holiday spirit in Old Town! Next time you hear from me I will be back in New York. While I do not want my abroad experience of a lifetime to end, I am looking forward to telling you about my final days here!
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