By Elizabeth Snow, Foster Undergraduate who participated in an exchange with the University of Economics in Prague, Czech Republic
Prague was a blessing in terms of traveling. I was able to take a bus ride to Berlin for less than $40 roundtrip and then just pop on over to Paris for $90 flight. During my time studying abroad which lasted about 4 months, I made it to London, Paris, Amsterdam (go for Amsterdam Dance Event), Frankfurt, Munich (go for Oktoberfest if you can!), Berlin, Krakow (take the time to go to Auschwitz), Budapest (best Christmas markets I came across), Florence, Rome, Bern and Grindelwald in Switzerland. Every city offers something incredible and I recommend every single one. Take advantage of the bus and train system when you can, because you can usually get really good deals if you leave on Thursday night. Skip the hotel and stay in a hostel which is easily the cheapest and most fun way to spend your time! If you can, invite friends from Prague that you make in the dorm or at school and travel around together! I can’t say it enough that making relationships with people who are from different countries and cultures than your own is well worth it. If you go for a big event, like Munich and Oktoberfest plan ahead like WAY ahead. And be prepared for having to make some sacrifices. Not everything will go how you planned it, and that is totally okay. Some places are better than others for a short weekend! Paris, while an incredible city was a bit overwhelming to try to accomplish in 3 days; while Krakow in Poland was a perfectly timed weekend adventure.
If you get sick of the city life, take a bus out into the Czech country side which is as beautiful as any. The small farmlands are quaint and green. There is even some hiking in the mountains to the north and south if you are feeling like climbing some more serious elevation. Of course, if you are there during the winter try out some exploring in the Alps but expect a bit bigger price tag. People always ask which was my favorite, but I have to say they are all so different. Overall, Switzerland blew me away in terms of natural beauty and opportunities to hike and feel like a real vacation. But, cities continue to be a favorite. Berlin and Amsterdam especially which both were very hip and up-coming vibes.