Hello to anyone who’s reading this, on whatever device they’re reading it on, and thanks for taking the time to check this out!
August 27th, 2017: The day I arrived in the Czech Republic. The day that started it all. It will be 1 month a week from today. And looking back, it’s already been amazing! From getting myself around the town, to making a bunch of friends at school, to getting my passport stamped at the airport and so much more!!! First though, let me just say that you’d think that getting your passport and visa stamped by EU officials would be extremely satisfying knowing that all the work you went through to apply for your visa and all the energy you put towards the exchange would be put to good use. But in reality, it’s honestly terrifying! Think about it this way: I first landed in Frankfurt, Germany, and to have a border guard and other guards with big weapons stare down at you and start speaking the language that always sounds like you’re angry, is just a bit intimidating. It somewhat went like this (I rehearsed what I was going to say on the plane): Me: Guten Tag, Ich gehe in Tschechien Republik. Guard: HABEN SIE EIN VISUM!! Me: English please…
Now I’ll skip forward a few days later. I took the bus by myself to get to my school to meet my principal with my host dad (host dad was at work). I left the house, and soon realized that the bus schedule app, doesn’t work without wifi. So I had to ask people things like: Kde Kohoutovická? Or Kde Veveří? (2 street names: Because for some reason here, they don’t really label streets at all. Anyways, I got on the bus and asked a lady right away: “Kde Mendlovo náměstí (where is Mendlovo Square: my stop name), and the answer was so far out of my comfort zone that I was thinking about what she tried to tell me for the rest of the ride. I asked for English, but she just turned around and kept saying no. I’ve learned by now that some Czech people are not very friendly at all…..
Fast forward another week to the start of school. I was shown to the class by my homeroom teacher. I just went in and found a desk to sit at, then looked around for a bit. No one knew who I was, but they all seemed to know each other quite well. After about 5 minutes of waiting, the teacher came in again. She then introduced me as Brad Charko, the new exchange student from Canada. She asked if I spoke Czech, and I answered: Ne moc (not much). Everyone laughed which felt kind of nice. Now I’ve heard that for a lot of exchange students, their main problem on the first day is being introduced in front of the class, being stared at and apparently they feel like they’re already being judged. I honestly thank my teacher for doing it the way she did to avoid that completely :).