This past summer, I traveled outside of the United States for the first time, and it was the experience of a lifetime. For two months,I lived in the city of Prague, which is the Czech Republic.
This was something that I never thought I would have the chance to do. However, with the help of those in the Maryville College International House, I had this amazing opportunity.
As a nontraditional student and someone with a budget, going to Europe–or anywhere outside of the country– seemed like a longshot. I always assumed my travel outside my home country would be something I would do in the years following my retirement from a hopefully lucrative career.
With the assistance of Ihouse, not only did I get the chance to travel, I was able to do it affordably. The Ken Tuck scholarship and financial aid allowed me to go abroad without worrying about how I would have to pay for it. I was able to study video editing for news and professional development in a beautiful and interesting city.
Prague was a great city that sparked my imagination. With its long history and potential for the future, I was inspired and rejuvenated for my final semester at Maryville College. I was also able to refine what I wanted to do following graduation. Before I left for Prague, I had a million ideas for what I wanted to do, but now I have a focus that I didn’t before.
My placement in an internship with the nonprofit organization Transitions Online, a company that taught people how to be better journalists in post-communist countries, showed me how I could make a career out of doing something The successes I enjoyed abroad makes me want to travel again. I have always liked the idea of traveling, but the thought of actually leaving the country was intimidating.
I now know that I am perfectly capable of going outside of my comfort zone and still enjoying myself. I was able to meet new people, see new places and do new things. All of this while I learned on-the-job skills.
I also learned what I did not want to do and other ways to achieve my learning goals. The journey I took this summer has helped shaped me in ways I wasn’t expecting. I-house played an integral role in this journey for me. They helped me find the most suitable placement for my goals and my budget.
Originally, Prague wasn’t my first choice. It wasn’t even on my radar. But after a few conversations, I knew it was the right place for me to study and intern. It is difficult for me to put in words how great this study abroad experience has been for me. The one thing I do know to say is that I am happy I did it.
I hope more people take advantage of this opportunity. With I-House on campus, the chance to have an invaluable adventure is a greater possibility than many students know.