By: Jessica Graves

Um, why not?

My journey to TEFL Worldwide Prague & the Czech Republic in general all started when I was sitting in a Barnes & Noble nostalgically browsing through Paris travel books. Paris will always be my first love no matter where I travel/live. I first ventured to the City of Lights when I was just sixteen & my life changed forever. Fast-forward to my junior year of college & I jumped at the opportunity to spend 5 months studying & living the Parisian lifestyle. Not only was this the best experience of my life, it was the ultimate gateway drug, yes, I had truly been bitten by the travel bug. The only remedy? More travel!

I understand that traveling is expensive, tiring, & you probably can’t take off that much time from real life, but my question for you is why not? Here’s a few reasons why I think you should hop on a plane riiiiight now.

(Above: Giggling in front of La Tour d’Eiffel in Paris, France)

WHY YOU SHOULD TRAVEL:

1. YOLO

Yes, I said it! But think about it. You really do only live once & do you really want to spend day after day, year after year in the same place? Don’t you get bored, tired, restless or depressed with your daily routine? Now is the time to switch it up! The world is HUGE, and now is the time to go explore it! Not when you’re on your deathbed wallowing in what ifs. Today is the day! Plus who knows, a spontaneous trip could also be your own gateway drug. & Someday you too could be living abroad!

2. It’s Not As Expensive As You Think

Realistically, after you decide to carpe that f-ing diem, you need to choose one of two travel paths. Lux or frugal. Do you want to blow your life savings on 4-star hotels, gourmet food & pricey sites? Or would you rather rough it & cut a few corners to save some cash? Both are possible! Option one is a great time, but as a broke college student with no job in Paris, & now as a recent college grad living in Prague, I have to learn to be thrifty with my cash. The best way? Do your research! Make a list of must-sees in the city you’re going to. Figure out what days there’s free entry to museums (first Sunday of the month in Paris), eat tasty street food instead of steeply priced restaurants, & avoid tourist traps! Learn to face your fears of hostels (http://www.hostelworld.com ), & understand that planes are insanely cheap throughout Europe ( http://www.easyjet.com ), so are trains & buses (http://www.eurolines.com )! If you spend smart then your trip won’t break the bank nearly half as much as anticipated!

(Above: Bull-fighting is now illegal in Barcelona, Spain, but I still visited a historical ring!)

3. Life Experience/Skills

While in Paris–I grew up. I did things I never even knew were possible. Like beginning the semester too nervous to speak French in front of others & ending it with being able to have political discussions in French & gain the elusive respect from locals! Since living in Prague I have set up bank accounts, coordinated Visa appointments, gone on numerous job interviews & just learned to be fearless. Metro broke down? Okay, I’ll figure out alternative routes. Bought tickets for the wrong train? Hop on this one because it goes to nearby cities. While traveling/living abroad you will experience a ton of random problems. Wallets get stolen, luggage gets lost, people bail on you. But you learn to overcome it. You adapt. You survive.

4. You Leave The American Bubble

As I’m sure you have heard, the entire world doesn’t love us nearly as much as we think they do. Most foreigners actually have rather negative opinions of us: we’re overweight, wasteful, selfish, uninformed, greedy, loud, messy & self-absorbed…just to name a few. Studying in a city who isn’t necessarily USA’s #1 fan, I had different experiences. It was eye-opening. You need to travel so you can shatter stereotypes. You need to go to countries that are “dangerous” “dirty” and “smelly” so you can be proven wrong & come back with understanding & perspective.When you travel somewhere & speak to people, you make sense of why they act the way they do. You gain knowledge.

(Above: Being a tourist every once in a while is fine! Especially in Pisa, Italy)

5. You Try New Things

I am not the most adventurous of eaters, but I have had my fair share of ‘When in Rome’ moments. I have tried escargots in Paris, Sangria in Barcelona, fresh Olive Oil in Italy, Fried Alligator in New Orleans, grits in Mississippi & while living in Prague Svichkova (meat in gravy with cranberries, whipped cream & lemon on top) has become my favorite meal. While traveling, there are moments when you realize I will never have this opportunity again so, you just gotta go for it! Try local delicacies! Even if you don’t like them, you can always say you did it!

6. The Memories Last Forever

I cannot stop talking/thinking/dreaming about my adventures abroad. I have so many crazy stories & met so many awesome people! Most of whom I still talk to today! Traveling is a great experience because it’s something you’ll remember forever & can always look back on someday when you’re old & depressed with your mundane life. So why wait?

(Above: Aside from the infamous ‘Red Light District’ Amsterdam, Netherlands is a very beautiful city famous for its picturesque canals!)

As I previously said, my journey to Prague all began with sitting in a Barnes & Noble café browsing Paris travel books. I struck up a conversation with a man whose daughter had been a TEFL teacher for decades. She had taught all over the world & had the most awesome life.

I still don’t know who this man was. But I want to thank him. At the time I was an anxious college senior a few months from graduation. I was stressed about ‘the real world’, finding a job & my question mark of a future. But then I met this man & this was my sign. The next day I began browsing TEFL courses, found http://www.teflworldwideprague.com & signed up.

Fast forward only 6 months & I am the girl he was talking about. I live in an adorable neighborhood & teach the cutest preschoolers in one of the most beautiful European cities. I am so happy I decided to take this amazing opportunity. Getting my TEFL certificate at TEFL Worldwide Prague & moving here was one of the best decisions of my life & one that I never would have been able to make if I had never found the courage to book that very first flight.

(Above: Taking a selfie on the Charles Bridge in my beautiful new home, Prague!)

Bon Voyage & safe travels! J

-JG 🙂