Saying Goodbye to Home and Hello to Prague

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Have you ever had the unshakable feeling that things were about to be very different?

Adam Henig, USAC Alumni, recently shared his experience from 12 years ago on his way to live and study abroad in Prague, Czech Republic by way of Chico, California.

Pre-departure is a time that you may be familiar with, and for Adam, here’s how he remembers his last moments before boarding the plane to Prague:

“I had only seen my father cry once before … ten years ago. But there he was at San Francisco International Airport at four o’ clock in the morning, along with my mother unable to hold back.”

For Adam’s parents, Prague was still reminiscent of being part of the Soviet Union, even though, it had been nearly thirteen years past. Concerns arose and had them questioning,

“Why Prague? Why not an English speaking country?” London was his parents’ first choice. “They speak English. Why make life difficult for yourself?”

There’s a point when your parents may show early signs of separation anxiety, and that’s fair. But if you’re set on a place, have planned ahead and know this is the best fit for you – stay true to your course.

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If we’re being honest with ourselves, it’s emotionally jarring to know you’re leaving loved ones for an extended period of time. After all, we’re human, right?

“As I hugged my parents and entered the security checkpoint, I choked up. It hit me. I was leaving them, my safety net.”

“A little teary eyed myself, I went to my gate and took off for Prague.”

Once you settle and fully take in your new surroundings, you’re going to build your confidence, and want to explore more of what the world as to offer.

“Living in Prague allowed me to travel with ease to other countries — Australia, Germany, Hungary, and Poland,” Adam says, keep your passport handy!

Just don’t forget, you’re already studying and living in a beautiful new city filled to the brim with new people, culture, and experiences.

Left to Right - My roommate, Czech Liasion to our USAC group, me, and floormate

“Prague is a peaceful city, where pubs are places to meet, play chess, paint, and talk. There are no bouncers, no lines, no neon lights. Beer is served at all hours of the day — and to American college students, that’s unreal.”

Most of all, you’re going to come away with great stories to tell, having grown as a person, and new friends you met while abroad.Bohemia Bagel - my favorite breakfast spot

“The memories that stay with me the most are thosethat involve the other USAC students — all 16 of us. We were in a strange, formerly Soviet-occupied country together, going through similar highs and lows.”

And, “For a few of us, it was the last time we would be full-time college students. No kids of our own, no mortgages, no job to go back to, no ailments, and no school loans that needed to be paid back yet.”

“It was a dream and there was no better setting for it than Prague.”

Adam Henig is a graduate of California State University, Chico, and studied abroad in Prague in Fall 2002 through USAC. Living in the San Francisco Bay Area, he is married with two kids and is the author of Alex Haley Roots: An Author’s Odyssey, now available in eBook, audiobook, and paperback through Amazon.