As the new school year kicks off, AAU first year and exchange students are settling into their classes but are finding it more difficult to deal with the unfamiliarity of living in a new country. 

If going back to school and grieving summer isn’t difficult enough, adding a language barrier, culture shock, and the hunt for new friends is hectic.  Students have been trying their best to navigate their move to Prague by finding solidarity with other new students. 

“Language was something that was new. I didn’t know any Czech, and I have never lived somewhere where I didn’t know anything,” Kate, an exchange student, commented. 

While the language and culture shock has been an adjustment, Erasmus students expressed gratitude for each other as they are sharing similar experiences.  They also commented on their social confinement with other exchange students because of their short time at the university. 

“Sometimes people are hesitant to befriend Erasmus students because they know we’re going to leave…that can be a bit of a difficulty,” Maya, a study abroad student from America, explained.

Photo by: Alexa Wandersee

 Students are ready to be back in a routine and are not yet feeling the stress of their class’ workload. Getting back into the swing of things, the university has welcomed the newcomers and clubs are beginning to start up again. 

“We had preparations with the dance club about orientation and club fairs and adjusting the newcomers, and I’m really happy to announce that we are ready to be active this semester,” Adina Utorbaeva, the Vice President of the Dance Club, stated. 

Many students are happy with their class choices, eager to pursue their areas of interest within their studies. While the workload may grow, students look forward to the opportunity to learn more.  Many commented on their choice of photography classes, which allows them to get more practice in the field while exploring the city. 

“I like the classes at AAU so far…it’s very niche and interesting,” Maya said about her class choices. 

Older students are adjusting with ease to the familiar class schedules and social politics. One notable challenge, though, is the responsibility of surviving financially in Prague’s increasingly expensive lifestyle and managing a work-school-life balance.

“I have never worked in my entire life but I am trying to go and work so it’s a little bit more difficult for me. I’m trying to manage time but it’s pretty okay,” Shristi Ohri, a second year student, revealed.