Where in the world are Gusties this week? Senior ReAnn Eidahl is spending her fall semester in the beautiful city of Prague in the Czech Republic.
Eidahl has been excited for this opportunity and has prioritized it before she became a student on campus.
“Spending a semester abroad has been at the top of my college to-do list before I even started freshman year,” Eidahl said. She continued, mentioning her mother’s influence and inspiration regarding traveling the world.
“Since I was little, my mom has instilled a travel bug in me. The thought of traveling and experiencing new adventures each week sounded so thrilling. Now that there are so many programs out there that grant college credit for traveling, college is the best time to spend a semester in a new country,” Eidahl said.
For Eidahl, Prague offered more than just valuable experience in the classroom.
“When I researched the program options, I knew that I wanted to do more than take classes. Since I’m a senior, programs with internship options would allow me to fulfill college credit while gaining valuable professional experience in my field of interest. The CIS Abroad Program gave me the most affordable and sufficient package to pursue a full-time marketing internship in Prague,” Eidahl said.
On top of this great professional opportunity, Eidahl gets to see the beauty of the city.
“Prague is like the hidden gem of Europe with its stunning architecture, rich history, and central location for traveling,” Eidahl said.
Traveling alone brought a new adventure, but it also was accompanied by some travel nerves.
“I had never traveled by myself before my flight to Prague. I was really excited to be [there], but I was anxious about the process of getting there. Everything went really smoothly and I was even able to avoid jet lag for the next couple of days. I was also the first one from my program to arrive…so I was beyond excited to meet everyone. Needless to say, it was a busy first couple of days, but I met so many wonderful people and Prague is already starting to feel like home,” Eidahl said.
Prague has kept Eidahl busy. When she is not working during the week, she is either getting to build on the friendships she’s made or adventure in the city.
“There are so many things to do in Prague. So far, I’ve enjoyed exploring the city and traveling on the weekends. On the weekdays, I love to meet up with my friends after work. We usually try to find new places to watch the sunset and debrief about our day. There are not many things in life that beat spending time with friends and enjoying the sunset over a beautiful city,” Eidahl said.
Missing the fall semester of your senior year can make for some homesickness.
“I have been loving living in a big city but it has been weird not being on the Hill–especially for the start of my senior year. I miss all the fun activities on campus and will be jealous of seeing all the festivities during Homecoming,” Eidahl said.
She is eager to get back on campus and enjoy her spring semester with her friends and favorite extracurricular activities and groups.
“I’m excited to be back on campus with the Admission team and GWIL (Gustavus Women in Leadership) team. Since it will be my last semester at [Gustavus], I’m excited to experience the campus to its fullest and check off my Gustavus bucket list,” Eidahl said.
Eidahl also had a lot of helpful advice to offer in terms of choosing to study abroad, planning your adventure and enjoying the world beyond the hill.
Eidahl also had a lot of helpful advice to offer in terms of choosing to study abroad.
“My biggest piece of advice is to not get tied down by the unspoken standards of studying abroad. At first, I was afraid that I wouldn’t enjoy studying abroad during my senior year since I missed the “prime time” of studying abroad during my sophomore/junior year. But in reality, there’s no perfect time,” Eidahl said.
“When you travel or live in another country for a long period of time, there’s a lot of ambiguity that challenges you every day. I’ve learned to be comfortable with the uncomfortable instead of always depending on structure. The challenges of ambiguity have pushed me to be a better problem solver both professionally and socially,” Eidahl said.
“The ability to think critically in different situations has taught me to cultivate courage in times of pressure instead of being overwhelmed by anxiety–which is something I haven’t been able to fully grasp until my time abroad. Along with the open-mindedness to exploration, the curiosity of cultures, and communication across different language barriers, being able to navigate ambiguity will be a skill that will benefit my life in the long run,” Eidahl said.