Pre-Departure

This posting will be the first of five required for the TWP (discussed in my first posting) through WWU EdAbroad. For a more detailed account of the TWP you can visit https://wp.wwu.edu/westernabroadblogs/travel-writing-program/.

“Pre-Departure: What are your goals for your international experience?

  • What do you hope to gain and how much research have you done on your host country and culture that will better prepare you for this experience?
  • What are you most excited about? What are you most scared or nervous about?
  • What strategies have you implemented that will allow you to overcome these challenges and take full advantage of your opportunities?”

The above questions, taken directly from the posted link, will be the focus of my posting today.

From my previous posts you may have noticed that research is something I have been struggling with. I’ve done some broad reading on the history of the Czech Republic through Nazi occupation, the Soviet era, and the separation of Czechoslovakia. I still have a lot to learn about the Czech Republic’s past, but for now I at least have a little bit of background. I stumbled upon someone’s personal blog who seems to have married into a Czech family and offers a lot of practical advice about the dos and don’ts in Czech culture. From what I have read so far, punctuality, being polite and non confrontational, and somewhat reserved are some important social norms in Czech Republic. The author of the blog mentions on many occasions that he found his information from either committing a “social don’t” or simply asking locals what their opinion on a certain behavior was. Again, I still have a lot more to learn, but soon enough I will be learning first hand and it’s nice to have some knowledge on what is acceptable and what isn’t.

I will post all the links to websites that I have found helpful at the end of this posting.

I don’t have any one thing that I am particularly looking forward to. I am just excited to have the chance to experience something not available to me here in the USA. Each place on earth has their own history and way of life and I am excited to be a part of that. and Learning about the importance of and emphasis on different norms and practices will be a fascinating way to expand my knowledge. My main concern right now is my ability, or lack thereof, to communicate in the local language of Czech. I am enrolled in a two week kick starter language class that starts when I arrive in the Czech Republic, but, obviously, I will not be fluent in such a short time. From everyone I have talked to that has been to the Czech Republic, they have all said most people speak English. That being said, I don’t want to be that traveller or tourist who comes into a foreign country and expects everything to be catered to my inability to communicate or my lack of preparation. I’ve had some trouble finding Czech language learning apps/websites/etc that work for me so Rick Steve’s handy dandy phrases are all I’ve got to go on right now. Communication is overall concern, everything else I am worried about comes along with this concern.

I am handling my concerns in the same way that I handle all other situations: lists. You can ask anyone and they will tell you I love my lists. Having everything written down in front of you makes anything you have to do a matter of following the steps and checking off those boxes on the list. While I don’t have a specific plan for overcoming my barriers at the moment, I know that if I write it all down I will be able to “connect the dots” and follow the steps I will lay out for myself to handle whatever is thrown at me. And, of course, I have a wonderful network of friends and family who I know will always be there to back me up if there is something my lists can’t handle.

 

Any tips, tricks, or concerns you have or I should know I am always looking for more info 🙂 I will do my best to update my blog in a less erratic fashion while I am away. For more frequent updates, I have started an Instagram page for a more image focused account of my travels found at https://www.instagram.com/acrosstheshiftingseas/ or @acrosstheshiftingseas directly from Instagram.

 

The next time you hear from me I will have made it to the Czech Republic!

Uvidíme se brzy!

 

TWP EdAbroad: https://wp.wwu.edu/westernabroadblogs/travel-writing-program/

Czech History: https://www.britannica.com/place/Czech-Republic

Dos and Don’ts: https://news.expats.cz/prague/article/czech-culture/dos-and-donts-introductions/