This post is meant to serve two purposes. First, I hope that anyone who might be considering studying abroad in the future takes into consideration my advice and uses my experience as a cautionary tale for their own future endeavors. Secondly, I hope to vent a little steam in regards to my current housing situation.

So let’s begin, in Prague I live in a lovely flat near the center of town with four other girls from the program. I’m used to living with other people, I’ve grown up all my life living with extended family in cramped quarters where I’ve learned the value of sharing and keeping what I hold near and dear far away from any greedy hands. At UMW, I’ve lived in doubles, I’ve had a single, I’ve even stayed in Eagle Landing and shared a “full-blown” apartment. I would like to think that all this experience makes me an AMAZING roommate, ok maybe not, but at least I can stay out of people’s way.

As I researched study abroad programs a year ago, I was very focused on the type of living arrangements available, for the most part my options were living with a host family, apartments with program students, and some universities also had on-campus housing for students. I knew going into my search that I did not want to live with a host family. The idea of living with a family I didn’t know was something I didn’t feel comfortable with and I also realized that I would have to put a lot more effort into making friends, which can be frightening in a new country. A host family is a great way to live and “get local” but I didn’t want to be tied down by curfews or feel like a house guest who overstayed a visit. Call me crazy, but those are the things that came to mind when I pictured myself going home to a host family every night.

Dorms or apartments became a better option for me because I could come and go as I please and I would be surrounded by students who were going through the same trials and tribulations I was facing. Well as most things do, apartment life started out well, I have the freedom I want and the proximity to my peers but there is A LOT more responsibility. This responsibility manifests itself in the many chores that the five of us are required to do in order to keep our apartment livable. As the weeks have gone by I can certainly say that my quality of life has gone waaaaay down.

I’ve always semi-mocked the roommate agreements that we have to fill out when living on campus every year, but I completely regret not having at least a discussion about chores and responsibilities around the apartment at the beginning of the semester. Trust me, communication with your roommates is key! Had we opted to sit and talk about who’s turn it would be to buy toilet paper or dish soap, or set up a cleaning schedule it would have made the experience of living in an apartment a lot more comfortable. I mean, I like surprises just as much as anyone else, I just ask that we keep dish soap around, people!

At this point there is less than a month before we all leave and I don’t think I will be having a roommate discussion, so if you’re non-confrontational or lazy like me, I’ve found an alternative to a roommate intervention. Keep a secret stash of the essentials and eat out as much as possible!

 

Mazel tov!