Reason #5… Need I say more?
Everyone always talks about the midlife crisis, but what about the quarter life crisis? Although there is no scientific proof that I know of, I fully believe that every twenty two year old experiences the “what’s next” panic that pairs so nicely with college graduation. There are only so many times that your parents can ask you “what are you going to do next” and you not reply with a sufficient answer. If your parents are anything like mine “I don’t know” and “I don’t want to talk about it right now” are only acceptable answers for so long. At some point you all become tired of the dinner table fights, or at least I did. That is what really got my gears turning.
My college major was Family and Child Sciences with minors in Psychology and Hospitality. The combination of these threw me on the path to becoming a teacher or possibly a child’s therapist of some sort. After a semester as a teacher’s assistant I decided I didn’t want to teach, nor did I want to be on the road to becoming a psychologist. I knew I wanted to pursue grad school, but for what? I put off looking into my options all of senior year so that I could live out my senior year stress free and enjoy every minute as much as possible (never missing a party or beach weekend). The reality of graduation didn’t really hit me until my first night at home in my childhood bed. What am I doing here I thought and more importantly what am I going to do next?
Fast forward to August and I’ve been graduated for four months and working for my dad. A trip to Israel rekindled my passion for traveling and made me start thinking about making a change, a big life change. I weighed all of my options and debated the potential move for a while. What I realized was two things. First, if I didn’t attempt this opportunity now, I may end up regretting it for the rest of my life. Second, there was really nothing holding me back. I am a twenty something recent college graduate. I am unsure of what I want to pursue as a career and the only things I was truly certain about were my passion for traveling and my love for Europe.
So then comes the decision of where to go. With over forty countries in Europe, as well as opportunities in Thailand, China, The Middle East and many other places all over the world, the options seem endless. For me it was always Europe. The tough decision was deciding between Barcelona, Florence, and Prague; my three favorite European cities. When I weighed the pros and cons of each city, Prague always came out ahead for a plethora of reasons.
1. Prague is centrally located and somewhat of a European “hub.” I’ve even heard some compare it to the NYC of Europe. Being centrally located it makes it very convenient to travel to other countries, which is ideal (however, I have yet to fully take advantage of this).
2. Prague is not on the Euro and the cost of living here is relatively cheap compared to other European countries. To give you an idea, my unlimited month metro card is CHEAPER than the 72 hour metro pass I purchased while visiting Vienna. Prague has their own currency called the Czech Koruna, or Crown. With the current exchange rate there are 20 Crowns to $1. One thing that really blows my mind is that my rent here in Prague, in a awesome neighborhood, is cheaper than I ever payed to live in Tallahassee, Florida.
3. Prague has one of the lowest violent crime rates in all of Europe. The most crimes reported in the Czech Republic comes from pick pocketing, which is pretty common all over Europe. After living here a few months, I can confidently say I have never felt in danger or felt I was in an unsafe situation.
4. My cousin lived here for two and a half years and swore that she would never have moved back to the United States if it weren’t for her parents dragging her back kicking and screaming, and her admittance to Northwestern Grad school.
5. See above picture. Prague is one of the most breathtaking places in the world. If you ever mention Prague to someone that has been here they will tell you themselves how magnificent it is. Whether it is the snow covered Charles Bridge or the red tulips blooming in the parks there is always some beauty in this city to marvel at.
Everyone has different requirements of what they desire when they travel, how they view Europe, and the track they want their life to take. Had you asked me a year ago if I would be living in Europe I would of laughed. I assumed I would be living in New York City or Chicago in grad school for something or with some awesome job. I can’t lie and say I don’t sometimes think of how different my life might be if I was in the United States living a “normal 22 year old life,” but then that wouldn’t make my story as unique. The main point I think I am trying to make is yes, the world can be full of unexpected twists and turns and opportunities you may not have ever considered. The future can be scary and planning for the future even scarier, but if you have ever dreamt of it this is your time. This is the perfect opportunity, we are only young once. In thirty years you don’t want to look back and say “I wish” or “what if.” You want to be able to say “remember that one time… Wow, that was awesome!”