Alumni Spotlight: Nicole Stratelak

Nikki is 22 and was born and raised in Grosse Pointe, Michigan. She then pursued her passion with Volleyball and finished 4 years playing and attending Lake Superior State University. She is currently the assistant volleyball coach at LSSU while finishing up her last year to complete her International Business degree.

Nicole Stratelak

What made this study abroad experience with ESAC Prague unique and special?

Nicole: This program specifically made my experience unique because it gave me the opportunity to experience a culture, take classes and receive credits, gain experience through an internship, meet amazing friends and directors, and there was weekends devoted to letting students travel to their desired locations.

Tell us about an experience you had that you could not have had at home.

Nicole: There are so many things that I gained from this experience that I could not have had at home. Culture is obviously a number one, I have traveled to many places but never to Europe.

After my month with ESAC, I learned an incredible new amount of knowledge and the difference in the way I began to think. I had learned words in Czech, experienced the food in 4 European countries, and developed a global knowledge that I never had.

Tell us about any interesting cultural tidbits you noticed about your country.

Nicole: The interesting things you learn when traveling to a different country are endless. Some included being served water without ice, having to pay to use public bathrooms, and not tipping like we do in the US. These were all very strange aspects that I quickly learned overseas.

Did you run into a language barrier while studying overseas in Prague?

Nicole: It would have been easier if I went to a Spanish speaking country. Since Czech has a completely different culture and language there was of course a barrier. It was so strong that I didn't bother to even try and listen when I was in public places. Although very cool to listen to, it was extremely hard to comprehend. However, the most frustrating thing in the beginning before I was culturally experienced and understanding was that people didn't understand me. I didn't like or understand that people couldn't understand what I was trying to say. There were countless occasions when I got mad because I assumed most people had to be taught English. It was tough at first but I quickly got over that assumption.