Sep 212004
 
Authors: Rachel Wiley

A scenic flight in a four-passenger plane over Bohemian

countryside, a hike through towering rock formations and a night in

a renovated castle sounds like a luxury vacation, but for Daniel

Crane, it has all been part of his study abroad experience this

semester.

“I was expecting (study abroad) to be a life-changing

experience, and so far it has been amazing and I am only two weeks

into my semester abroad,” Crane, a junior math major, wrote in an

e-mail interview.

Crane is one of 13 CSU students studying in Prague, Czech

Republic, this semester. There are also nine students from the

University of Denver and one from the University of

Colorado-Boulder with them.

“The best experience so far has been living in a foreign

country, but more specifically seeing the countryside of Prague

this weekend,” Crane wrote. “I saw some of the most amazing rock

spires I have ever seen. The beauty of the Bohemian Paradise would

rival Arches (National Park) back home.”

The Bohemian Paradise, located 60 miles northeast of Prague, was

the first protected natural area in the Czech Republic, according

to www.czech-mountains.com.

Crane has been organizing other activities for the CSU students

in Prague. They have had paddleboat races on the Vltava River, gone

bowling and visited some of the local clubs.

Many students are hesitant to study abroad because of a lack of

language skills, said Crane’s adviser, Eugene Allgower, a math

professor at CSU.

Although Crane does not speak Czech, Allgower does not think it

will be a problem.

“I think he will probably learn,” Allgower said. “That’s the

point of (study abroad) – the contact with other students. I expect

him to have some skill in the Czech language by the time he comes

home.”

The language barrier has not prevented Crane and his fellow

students from exploring on their own.

“Everyone over here is very friendly if approached and just

about everyone speaks English or at least can understand what you

are asking,” Crane wrote.

Czech university students have also volunteered to help foreign

students learn about the city and get comfortable.

“I applied for the system because I wanted to practice my

English skills and also because I want to study abroad as well,”

wrote Alena Novakova, a junior university student from the Czech

Republic, in an e-mail.

The experience as a guide for foreign students will help build

her resume so she can apply for a grant to study abroad.

Some students are reluctant to study abroad because they do not

want to graduate any later than they already will, but this should

not discourage them, Allgower said.

“When (Crane) told me he had this scheme, I encouraged him by

all means to do it. He’ll be one semester behind, but the

experience will be well worth it,” he said.

Other students have been able to make sure they will still be

able to graduate on schedule.

“My adviser was really helpful in making sure that I could do

this and still graduate on time,” wrote Becky Goldbach, a junior

equine science and agricultural business major, in an e-mail.

Goldbach is in Prague for the semester.

Crane would recommend study abroad to anyone.

“I think everyone should study abroad,” he wrote. “It is a great

experience and something that no one should miss. This is the best

time in our lives to get out and see the world when it doesn’t

matter whether or not we are around for four months. It is a chance

to expand horizons and meet people from different countries.”

Goldbach also encouraged students considering study abroad.

“Do it,” she wrote. “It is an experience that you can’t pass

on.”

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