The change in setting and culture from Indonesia to Prague was striking. While Indonesia is still a developing country with a rich history, Czech Republic is a Central European country nestled between Poland and Germany. Prague, its capital, was my home for a year and what a year it was. It was one of the best years of my life. People ask me what country was better to teach in Czech Republic or Indonesia. I always have a difficult time answering this question because they were both great places to live and teach but for different reasons.
If you can imagine what an old European capital looks like in your mind, this is what you get in Prague. Cobblestone streets, medieval castles, great food, great beer, small cars, and a feeling of culture all around you dominate the city. There was a bridge down the street from my apartment in the center of Prague that is older than the United States. The weather is seasonal with hot summers and cold winters. This was a big change compared to Indonesia where it was either really hot or somewhat hot. That word ‘change’ comes up again and again. In Prague I changed not only my setting but also my job, my friends, my hobbies, my life. And while some things about me will never change, the more I travel the more things change about the way I view the world and the people that inhabit it. Indonesia was a big change from Chicago and Prague was another big change from Indonesia. A constant that I experienced was the generosity and warmth of the people in both places. This seems to be something that stays the same around the world. People are generally kind and willing to help out someone who is obviously in a setting unfamiliar to them. I am glad that some things don’t change.
I understand that people fear the things that are different from what they know and I was no different. But I am lucky to have a career that makes change part of the job description. This allows me to embrace change and see it for it is. Change is an opportunity. Change is gift. Change is life. The sooner you realize that, the sooner you will be able to go into the future unafraid of what lies ahead.
Glenn Scott -
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