Hey everyone! My name is Ridhi Choragudi, and I am a senior at the University of Pittsburgh. I am graduating in the Spring with a degree in Natural Sciences and minors in Applied Statistics and Chemistry, and in the Fall of 2023, I will be starting medical school at the University of Pittsburgh!
In just 1 week, I will begin my study abroad in Prague, Czech Republic through the Pitt Affiliate program AIFS. In Prague, I will be studying at Charles University (Univerzita Karlova) taking 5 different courses. During the 2nd and 3rd week of the program, I will be taking an intensive Czech language course for 5 hours a day 5 days a week to help me adjust and learn more about Czech language and culture! As for my 4 classes once the semester starts in mid-September, they are not your typical STEM or pre-med classes; I am finishing up my undergraduate general education requirements and taking classes such as Humour and Czech Culture and Central Europe in the Context of European Integration. I even get to take a class called the Sociology of Food where I get to learn how to cook classic Central European meals from a Czech chef and take field trips to local restaurants and breweries!
Initially, deciding between study abroad programs was extremely hard. I knew I wanted to be in Europe, but with all the options Pitt provides through Pitt programs such as Pitt in Florence as well as Pitt Affiliated programs such as AIFS and CIEE, I could practically study anywhere I wanted. For my study abroad, I wanted to have an immersive cultural experience in a major European city with a location that would make travel to anywhere in Europe relatively easy. The history and culture of Prague spans over 1000 years, and as it is centrally located in Europe, it is about an hour flight to everywhere else in Europe which makes weekend travels to other European countries cheaper and easier.
I was a little biased to Prague when I started the study abroad research back in January of this year. In 2018, my sister studied abroad in Prague through a similar program, and I was able to visit her that semester and absolutely fell in love with the city. The dorm she lived in (where I will live to) was a 10 minute walk to the beautiful Prague castle which was built in the 9th century and just holds so much history and beauty. When she took me on a quick walk around her dorm, I could see the huge bridges connecting neighborhoods in Prague across the Vltava river, the iconic red roofs across the city, and of course the castle. I remember I would make her pause every 5 seconds to take a picture of everything I saw because I was just in awe; lucky enough for me, I get to have 15 whole weeks worth of experiences in this city.
There is so much more to Prague and the Czech Republic that drew me in, but I am especially excited to blog my journey and trips for you guys!!