Going abroad, especially if you’re in Stern, you probably know at least a few other people going to your location, or you are going with a couple friends. That’s almost completely true in Prague. With the exception of non-NYU visiting students and a few NYU students, almost everyone I know in the program came with a small group. However, everyone is still completely open to making friends—and the environment at NYU Prague, and I assume at the other locations as well, is very conducive to that. In Prague, in my experience, it’s also very easy to make friends in classes because I share two or three classes with a lot of classmates. We also tend to have a lot of group work and group discussions so you get to know everyone pretty well. Orientation, dorm events, excursions, and other activities held by NYU Prague also help you meet other people, especially when it comes to developing stronger friendships further into the semester. I actually met up with people from NYU Prague besides just my normal traveling group in Amsterdam, and am planning on taking a trip to Poland a little later in the semester with friends I’ve made in Prague as well as before in NYC.
Missing friends from home
With only 89 people in the program at NYU Prague—and of those, only about 60-65 are consistently in the academic center—there’s not a huge variety in the people. While I love talking to and hanging out with most people in Prague, it does make me miss the size of NYU and my friends back in NYC. To combat this, I try to reach out at least once a week to people I talk to the most, and if we can find time, I like to FaceTime them as well. It’s not only fun for them to hear about study abroad, but hearing about what’s happening in NYC helps me remember that there’s more to a semester than just studying sometimes and traveling. Clubs also help a lot with missing people. Following different clubs on social media and reading their newsletters helps me see what’s going on and keeps me from feeling in the dark about what’s happening in NYC.
Traveling with friends
While you may get super excited to travel every weekend while abroad, I’m going to warn you that traveling with the same people can be very hard. Of course, I love my friends and I love spending time with them and going on adventures, but when you travel for four days at a time with the same 3-4 people, you start to get a little tired of them (but in a good way). A few ways my friends and I try to alleviate this is by meeting up with people from other NYU sites, going on trips with different people from Prague, or splitting up for a few hours at a time and meeting back up for meals, museums, or other main parts of our trip. This way, we can a little bit of a different groove during our trips because we all know that spending time with the same people for a long time, no matter who they are, can get a bit overwhelming.
It’s actually really fun to follow what your friends at other study abroad sites are doing even if you don’t visit them. They might give you ideas of where to go, and if you end up going somewhere another friend has already gone, you have someone to ask for recommendations so you’re not constantly searching Yelp and Google Maps. But, if you do end up visiting friends either at another NYU site or maybe IBEX (for Stern students), it’s really fun because you essentially have a free tour guide. I actually just visited some friends at NYU Madrid and while I was there, met more people and made more friends, both Stern and non-Stern. That’s another benefit of study abroad; it’s a lot easier to connect with non-Stern students than it is in NYC. This trip was just after I finished all my midterms so it was super fun and relaxing and honestly, probably one of my favorites of the semester. Another possible perk of visiting friends who are studying abroad is possibly being able to crash with them and then you can save on an Airbnb/hotel!
Study abroad really is what you make of it; what you put into it is what you will get out. Cliche, I know, but very true. In my opinion, studying abroad is a very social experience, and for me, it’s been very fun branching out and meeting new people while still keeping in close contact with the ones from home and sharing my stories as they share gossip and updates from New York. Of course, if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com!