At home in Prague

February 6, 2013 9:00 AM

Julia Gautreaux

The day I decided to study abroad in Prague was the same day I learned where this city was located on a map. How little I knew about the Czech Republic when I stepped into the Tulane study abroad office to fill out my official Undergraduate Program in Central European Studies forms was slightly embarrassing, yet I was intrigued by the air of mystery I felt surrounded this destination.

Student Julia Gautreaux in Prague

Being in Prague for the fall semester felt "so much like home to me," says Tulane student Julia Gautreaux. (Photo from Julia Gautreaux)

It is widely agreed upon by students that traveling to all of Europe’s amazing cities is one of the greatest benefits to spending a semester in this part of the world. Visiting other cities and countries was something I always planned on doing and eagerly looked forward to leading up to my departure.

What I did not expect, however, was to actually miss the city of Prague during each and every weekend I spent away from it. The deep sense of longing I felt to return to my base city during every weekend trip was something I could not ignore, and as conflicting as it may sound, was actually the most gratifying feeling of my entire experience.

Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to feel so strongly tied to a city that was a complete stranger to me just a short time earlier.

To this day when people ask me what was so great about my study abroad experience I cannot put my finger on exactly what made Prague feel so much like home to me. Was it the welcoming people? The vibrant atmosphere? The seamless combination of nightlife and historical significance? Or was it a combination of all of these things?

I guess the only way to truly understand why Prague is known as “the Pearl of Europe” is to experience it for yourself.

Julia Gautreaux is a junior at Tulane majoring in communication.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000 website@tulane.edu