You Know You Studied Abroad in Prague If...

by Rachel Simon

When, last year, I was faced with choosing where I should study abroad in Europe, a lot of factors came into play. Culture, for one; I wanted museums, nightlife, and good food. I wanted to live somewhere that was close enough to other major cities that travel would be easy, and I also wanted to be able to see countries I'd be unlikely to visit in the future. Lastly, there was the issue of cost; I wouldn't not go to a country on the Euro if it was my number one choice, but finding a place that wouldn't cost me thirty dollars a dinner each night seemed like the right choice. After a lot of thought, research, and serious Facebook stalking, I finally found a city that filled all my requirements: Prague, Czech Republic, where I'm living right now.

And as I've said numerous times before, coming to Prague couldn't have been a better choice. I love everything about this city; from its gorgeous views, to its walkability to, even, the crazy Czech language that'll always sound like gibberish to me, no matter how often I hear it spoken. I'm certainly not alone in my feelings — Prague is quickly becoming one of the most popular places to study abroad, with more students choosing it over more well-known cities like Paris or London than ever before.

For all of us who've had the chance to fall in love with this amazing place, here are 27 things you only understand if you've studied abroad in Prague:

you know Goulash is the Go-To Meal

With dumplings, as soup, in bread bowls, whatever — the point is not how you have it, just that you will have it, all the time. There is no avoiding goulash, so learn to love it in all its warm, beef-y glory.

And that you should Always Have It With a Glass (or Three) of Beer

Fun fact: the Czech Republic has the highest beer consumption in the world. How can you resist throwing a few back each day when a typical "pivo" in Prague costs the equivalent of about a dollar and a half in America? And speaking of money...

An "Expensive" Night Out Meant Spending More Than $10

Conversion rates are a beautiful, beautiful thing.

And You Laughed At Your Friends Living In Countries on the Euro

$20 for a plate of pasta? $8 for a single, tiny beer? They're crazy for picking a place that'll end up costing them in spending money nearly as much as they paid to attend their program.

That Is, Until You Visited Them

Somehow, without your consent, your budget for a week in Prague is gone in the span of a single London weekend.

you know that The Czech Language is crazy hard

Like, impossible-to-learn, unlike-anything-you've-ever-heard hard. Whose brilliant idea was it to get rid of vowels?!

And Your Attempts to Speak It were ... Limited

I took a two-week-long Czech language course, and I still only trust myself to say "goulash" and "pivo."

But the Locals Loved It When You Tried

You can charm your way into any situation by adorably mispronouncing "čtyři" in Czech. And on the topic of locals...

You learned not to Smile At strangers

Because in the Czech Republic, smiling at a stranger means you're attracted to them. Of course.

Except for The Dogs. The Dogs were The Best

They're not on leashes, don't bark, and ride the trams like pros. Seriously, what's in the kibble here?!

you know that in prague, Water is a Valuable Resource

In Prague, bottled water is more expensive than beer. Some important choices have to be made.

And that Walking is a Risky Adventure

Times cobblestone streets are dangerous: during/after rain, when wearing non-flat shoes, while on a run, or trying to catch a tram at the very last moment. Or, if you're clumsy, always.

Thankfully, the Trams are The Best

Clean, dependable, and easy to navigate. Public transportation has never felt so nice.

Except at Night, When You Hated Them With A Passion

One tram every forty minutes?! Not okay. At least the wait gives you time to grab some late night essentials.

you know that Burrito Loco is the Best and Worst Thing Ever

Being able to get enormous, cheap, and delicious burritos whenever you need is great.

And If You're Not in the Mood for Burritos? There's Always Doner

So. Many. Kebobs. Also: fried cheese, hot dogs, McBoxes — the late night food options are endless.

Although You'll Never Get the City's Obsession With KFC

There are billboard-sized signs on the streets telling people that the closest KFC is only X-number of meters away, because clearly, we were all worried.

You Knew the Best Nights for Each Club

Roxy on Monday, Retro on Wednesday, Lucerna on Friday. It's just a fact.

And Grew to Love The fact that the music was always 10 years behind

So. Much. Coldplay.

You Checked Out the Five-Story Club Because "You Might as Well"

Everyone says the five-story club isn't worth it, and they're probably right. But it is the biggest music club in Europe, so you have to at least check it out, right? Wrong. So. Many. Fifteen-year-olds.

yes, you Have Had a Taste of Absinthe

If only because it's illegal at home, which is the same excuse you use for buying a Kinder Egg every time you grocery shop.

and More Than Enough Trdelnik

Yes, I'm comparing it to a highly alcoholic drink, because those Nutella-filled spiral donuts are addicting.

You Complained About the Tourists, But You Totally were One

If you have photos in front of the John Lennon Wall, have visited the Astronomical Clock, and have gone to a restaurant labeled (in English) "authentic Czech food!" then trust me, you're a tourist.

But Really, Tourists Are the Worst

Death by Segway is a real possibility here.

Except When They were Your Family/Friends, And Then You were Super Excited

The only thing better than living in Prague is getting to show it off to visitors.

Because It's Impossible Not to Love prague

With views like this, I mean, how could you not?

And You Can't Imagine Having Picked Anywhere Else to study abroad

Simply put: Prague is the best.

Images: Rachel Simon (6); Tumblr (22)