Name: Valerie Zawada
Hometown: Geneva, Ill.
Major: Theatre and International Business
In what country or countries did you study abroad? Prague, The Czech Republic
How long were you there? Spring Semester, 2012
Why did you choose to study in that location? Initially, I wanted to study in Poland and learn some more about my heritage (my family is Polish). However, we didn't have any programs there, and The Czech Republic was the closest neighbor! After seeing some pictures of Prague I knew it was the place for me.
What is your favorite memory? There are so many from that semester, but probably May 1st, or "lover's day." We had the day off from school, and everyone was in the parks or walking through the streets enjoying the spring weather. I met up with friends in the park and we did nothing all day except talk, lie in the grass and eat! That night we went to a friend's soccer game, and all I can remember is just being so happy.
How did your experience abroad impact you as a person? I have changed so much from being abroad. Probably the biggest difference is my appreciation of life at home. I was struggling a bit before I left, but now I am so much more fulfilled as an artist, and I feel more confident, ambitious and independent than I ever have.
Do you have any advice to other students about studying abroad? One of my friends told me this before I left, and it really had an impact on my semester: Never say no to anything. No matter how tired, broke, stressed, whatever you think you are, no opportunity is worth missing because of it! You will regret it if you do not take full advantage of the amazing thing that is study abroad.
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