How to Adjust to a Brand New Culture
Leaving a familiar home or school setting is an exciting and unique experience. Adjusting to a new culture, however, may not be as easy as it seems. There are many things that we experience in our daily lives that we often don’t think about twice while at home – things like our sense of direction, a simple greeting or gesture, and even handling money. Living in a new culture has brought many things to my attention lately that I’ve kept in mind and in turn, has made me become more aware of my surroundings and my actions. Here are some things that I’ve taken note of during this adjustment period in Prague.
Transportation in Prague
Prague is a completely walkable city, and with use of the tram and metro, you can easily go anywhere in Prague. But how does one figure out where they need to go? It is common to feel lost in Prague upon arrival, but it’s pretty easy to navigate. It is important to give yourself a bit of extra time to find your destination, especially if you’ve never been there before. My advice is to check out the Google Maps app. It’s incredibly accurate on timing, and it lets you know exactly which tram number to take. One thing you must keep in mind while on the tram is to buy a ticket or bring your tram pass with you before you hop on. There are occasional ticket checks on the tram, and not having a ticket or tram pass during this can result in a fine. (* Check our our blog post '9 Essential Prague Apps' for more must-have apps!)
Do Your Research About Money
The Czech Republic uses the Czech koruna (or the Czech crown) and this can be a bit confusing while paying. I am used to paying in US dollars which look entirely different. It was difficult to get accustomed to seeing what looked like a higher price while shopping or eating out, but really isn’t much different in terms of price. Make sure you familiarize yourself with the koruna in comparison to your currency at home. It’s easy to lose track of how much you’ve spent, especially when using cash instead of card. I’ve been using the apps ‘Elk’ and ‘My Currency Converter & Rates’, and they’ve been a tremendous help with my spending.
Take Time to Learn Some of the Language
Before coming to Prague, I had no prior knowledge of the Czech language. Czech is so unique and has some difficult pronunciations for foreigners, but it is well worth trying to learn a bit of the language. It will definitely help you navigate your way around Prague better. Being able to greet others, ordering a meal, or saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ in Czech can go a long way. Czech locals will most likely be appreciative that you are trying to communicate with them in their native language.
Some Helpful Words/Phrases:
- Hello – Dobrý den (formal) or Ahoj (informal)
- Goodbye – Na shledanou
- Thank you – Děkuji
- Please – Prosím
- I don’t speak Czech – Nemluvím česky
Know That Culture Shock is Different for Everyone
One thing that people warn you of is culture shock. It is easy to push this idea under the rug until you actually start to experience it. Living in an unfamiliar place can be very intimidating and it is okay to have mixed feelings about adjusting to a new culture. Some people may not even experience culture shock, while others may feel incredibly overwhelmed. It is important to keep in mind that everybody’s journey as a student in Prague is different, and you will eventually adjust! Remember to stay positive and keep an open mind.
Stay tuned for our next blog post about the best places to buy architectural supplies in Prague!
Intern (University of Colorado Boulder)
Hello! My name is Sadie and I am interning for ARCHIP this semester while studying abroad in Prague. I attend the University of Colorado Boulder and major in Public Relations with a Business Minor. My interests and hobbies include hiking, yoga, and travel. I am happy to have the opportunity to intern at ARCHIP and study in Prague!