Before I left for Prague, my parents constantly told me that I’m going to really know what it’s like to be on my own and not rely on others, but I just brushed it off and told them that I’m going to be fine. I have always considered myself very independent. When I first applied to college, I did everything myself without asking for help from my parents. When I applied to my study abroad program and visa, I handled the paperwork myself. Back home, I work full-time, go to school, and juggle extracurricular activities; surely I could handle living by myself, right? Now that I’m abroad, I realize that I’m not so independent and that it’s not as easy as it sounds like.
It has been a week since I have arrived in Prague and during that week is when my claims about me being independent were really tested. At our orientation, they showed us how to take the tram to get to our school. The next day I when I had to go back, I tagged along with a group of girls. However, I had to go back on Monday by myself since no one else that I knew had classes that day. It was then that I realized that normally when I go anywhere, I don’t pay attention to my surroundings and rely on others’ knowledge to get there. Luckily, I was able to get on the right tram. But at that point, I hadn’t exactly mastered public transportation yet.
Yesterday, I had to go get groceries and again, I had to take the tram myself. I found this supermarket called Tesco and it was about 20 minutes away by tram. I’m not very good at maps, mostly because I get nervous about getting lost and my brain gets all jumbled up, but I got on what I thought was the right tram, but it wasn’t going the right way. I quickly got off the next stop. I get anxious when I get lost, but I especially get anxious when it’s in a different city and country and it’s in a language that I’m not familiar with. And to top it all off, I don’t have cellular data to use google maps. I took a deep breath and told myself to stay calm so I can try to figure out how to get there. I was able to figure it out and within 20 minutes I was able to get to my destination.
At Tesco, I wasn’t sure what to get. I don’t need to go grocery shopping back at home. I was also very confused when I was buying milk because everything was in Czech. Luckily Tesco had wi-fi so I was able to look things up. I went to Tesco about 3 times because I couldn’t carry everything in one trip. Once I was able to figure out how to use public transportation in Prague, it was really empowering to be able to go on trips by myself. Even when doing something as simple as going to school or going to get groceries. I look forward to getting myself out of my comfort zone during my stay in Prague.