Why did you decide to study abroad with AIFS at Charles University?
Maria: Even as early as middle school, I always knew I had wanted to study abroad. My study abroad advisor at Saint Vincent showed me various programs and options. I really liked AIFS because they offered already planned weekend trips to other countries and regions close by. I had never traveled alone internationally before, so I liked that these side trips were already incorporated into the program. I chose Charles University in Prague because that city just seemed magical to me. Eastern Europe is not one of the typical places to study abroad and I wanted to do something different. Charles University also had such a rich background and history, as well as an impressive academic life.
What made your study abroad experience unique and special?
Maria: I think being in such a different country, with 20 other students, none of whom I knew beforehand, being able to learn and experience so many new things together really made it special. I made some of my best friends during my study abroad, many of whom I still keep in touch with daily. We still see each other from time to time, even though none of us live in the same city. We got to experience something as moving and emotional as touring Auschwitz Concentration Camp, while also being able to adventure through Prague night life together. There is a bond there that is very strong. Being abroad not only made me much more independent, but it also enriched my college experience more than anything else.
How has this experience impacted your future?
Maria: Studying abroad in Prague has made a great difference for my future. When I returned home my academic advisors and professors instantly noticed a boost in my confidence. Being abroad on your own definitely teaches you to trust and rely on yourself. Listing study abroad on my resume has also impressed future employers as well as my internship supervisor. Employers love to see someone who is willing to travel and adventure into new, unknown endeavors.