A Year Abroad

By: Megan Zittlow

Writing never comes easy to me, but I am here to share my experiences abroad. As I continue through this year I will talk about my journey learning and growing as a person. 

Stepping off the Plane

         As I said my final goodbyes to my family and friends, I kept thinking to myself, "what if I do not make it the whole year", " what if my host family does not like me"... I was lost in my own mind. I am the type of person to think something fully through before doing it and I always like to know every detail. With exchange, I went into the Czech Republic knowing and expecting nothing. All I could do was pray to the Lord and have faith in him. As I boarded the plane my thoughts went numb. I was not frightened nor worried. I was calm. Traveling alone for 17 hours is the calmest and most quiet thing I could've ever done. It gave me time to relax before entering a whole new world. Before stepping off the plane I vowed to myself that no matter what, I will bring my new family joy. So I gathered my courage, stepped off the plane, and headed for the baggage claim. It felt like it was taking hours for my bags to come, but when I got them all I headed for the exit frantically searching for my new family. When I rounded the corner I saw a huge group of people smiling and holding signs that read," Welcome Megan" and at that moment I knew everthing was going to be just fine.

Month 1

         The first thing I did upon arrival was go to a restaurant. The moment I looked down and saw that I could not understand a single word on the menu really scared me. It felt like I was a child before learning to read or a person with extreme dyslexia. When people talked it sounded as if they were speaking gibberish. I took a gamble and ordered the first thing I saw with the word Kuře meaning Chicken. This was one of the only words I knew along with hello (ahoj) and thank you (Děkuji). The next couple of days I settled in and calmed down. It took me about 2 weeks to empty my suitcase because the thought of me being in this country for a year hadn't settled in. It took about the first month in total for me to really realize that the Czech Republic was my new home for a year. In this first month, I never said, "no". I went horseback riding, went to festivals, met lots of friends, and really got to know my town. I even found a gym that I go to every day. When I walked in and spoke English the workers at the desk were very confused and immediately thought I was from Great Britain. When I told them I was from America they were so shocked, their initial reaction was, "Why are you here?" I said," because I want to learn about the world" and they said, " no, Why in this small town of Znojmo why not Prague?" so I replied, " Small towns are where the real culture is". Surprisingly I get asked that question a lot. Everyone I have met has been nothing but nice to me, I am really starting to learn things that I never thought I would.