Alumni Spotlight: Katie Fanning

Katie Fanning first fell in love with traveling when she studied and interned abroad in Prague Fall 2016. She spent the following Summer studying Ecology in Ireland. You can generally find her reminiscing about her adventures and volunteering around her college campus in Delaware.

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Why did you choose this program?

I chose the Prague interning program with CEA because it provided a combination of supportive staff and a customizable experience all in an enchanting city that I knew near to nothing about.

The program first caught my eye because it offered courses covering a wide variety of subjects. I loved that Prague was generally less well known than most other study abroad cities like Rome or Florence.

I chose to intern abroad with limited course curriculum because it was such a perfect opportunity for professional development. I was guaranteed an internship and would finish my study abroad semester with an impressive addition to my resume.

CEA was my favorite company because they work individually with each student to make their experience personalized.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

CEA assisted me anytime I would ask for help. They initially worked closely with me so my internship coordinator could place me in a fitting company.

In the time leading up to the start date, I had to book my own flights but CEA organized my pick-up from the airport and delivery to my apartment. I was also responsible for getting a foreign cell-phone and providing CEA with all of my information. Aside from those things, CEA provided me with health insurance, a public transportation pass and securing my housing.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

If I could give any advice it would be to embrace every opportunity that presents itself when you are overseas. Say yes to the things that make you nervous, eat all the food you can, don't be afraid to look foolish because all those moments will become cherished crazy memories.

I promised myself I would soak up every experience abroad because I wanted to leave Prague a better, stronger person. I welcomed every person to teach me something from there own experiences of life. I can say whole-heartedly that I have been changed for the better after living in Prague.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

A weekly schedule in this program looks different for each student based on classes and whether they were interning or not. For me, I would have two classes on Tuesday, one on Wednesday and one on Thursday. Each class ran for three hours each once a week. This schedule was perfect for studying abroad because you could configure a 4-day weekend making for plenty of time for weekend trips to other cities.

On top of classes, I would go the Prague Fringe office (my internship) around 5-10 hours a week depending on my present schedule. I would do work from home when I was free and homework took up much less time abroad than it did at my home university.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

My biggest fear was that studying abroad would be four months of awkwardly trying to make friends. I wanted this experience to be about meeting new people who were different than those I had been surrounded by my entire life.

As it would turn out I didn't need to do much to overcome this fear. I promised myself before I left I would make these four months about my personal growth, not about forcing friendships.

I think it was because I had this mindset that I thrived and the most life-changing friendships came easily. My randomly assigned roommates are still my best friends today. I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and talked to locals in every city we visited.

Hearing from new people of varying backgrounds, whether they be from a different state or country, taught me more about myself and world than anything else has ever done.

What is your favorite memory from your time abroad?

Seeing the Lumineers live in Prague. I spent the weekend in Bergen, Norway in an AirBnB with three friends. We flew home Sunday morning and that night went to see the Lumineers perform for their first time in Prague. It was such an incredible show and most likely the best weekend of my life.