When I first found out that I’d been accepted to study at Charles University, Prague, one of the first things I was thinking about was where I was going to live.
I soon got a letter from the University offering me the option to live in Halls of Residence, I didn’t think much more about this, I just applied for a place and assumed that like is the case in the UK, all Erasmus students would be living in halls.
However, when I arrived in Prague, on my own, with a suitcase the size of me, I took a taxi to my accommodation and felt so terrified when I saw that where I would be living was two giant communist-style tower blocks which were seemingly in the middle of nowhere, with a view of what once was Prague’s largest squat house.
My room was shared, which I knew before I applied, and I won’t complain about this, my roommate was very nice, the room was spacious and had lots of storage.
But the kitchen, which could barely fit one person in, was shared between four people, my roommate and I and the flat next door.
The kitchen was terrible, there was no oven just two hob-rings, the sink for the kitchen was the same sink you brushed your teeth in and the toilet and shower stepped right out into the kitchen.
At this point, the situation wasn’t great but it was fine, the building was depressing, the kitchen was awful, but I was paying £120 a month, so the saving I was making on accommodation I was able to use on other much more exciting things.
However, what I found really difficult was the travel, Prague is a small city, if you’re in the centre, you can walk almost anywhere, but it took me an hour, on public transport to get to University.
The nearest tram stop was a 20-minute walk away, which was pretty scary at night. There were no shops within walking distance from our accommodation, no ATM, just barren land and a sad abandoned squat.
I soon started to hate this travelling so much, all of my friends seemed to live in flats in the centre of the city where they could walk everywhere, but I was miles from anything and this often stopped me from doing things because I knew the later I stayed out the harder my commute and the scarier the walk would be.
After putting up with this for my first semester, when I came back in the second semester I realised that despite the money I was saving I just wasn’t happy here, and so I made the best decision and moved to a flat with four of my friends in the centre of the city.
My story of living in Halls is pretty miserable (I’m just trying to be honest), but that doesn’t mean that everyone’s was.
I had friends who lived in other halls of residence in different parts of the city who made amazing friends and went onto have the best time.
I think for me, yes the situation wasn’t great, but the fact that most of my friends were living in the city made it much worse because I was constantly travelling alone to see them.
I am just offering my experience of halls because I assumed that like in the UK, every student would live in halls, but this was far from the case, and this is something I wish I’d known before I made my decision.