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Goodbyes & Gratitude

Matt’s Single Step

The ancient Tao philosopher Lao Tzu may have said it best when he stated, “A Journey of a thousand miles, begins with a single step.”  For Matt Anderson, this quote rings all too true.  Just a short while ago, this young future black entrepreneur began his own journey with a life changing ‘single step’ when he applied for a study abroad program at Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic.  The decision to embark upon a summer long semester in Prague by himself can only be described as brave as it cannot be denied that many would not have had the courage to step outside of their comfort zone and attempt this wild adventure!  As we’ve come to learn more about Matt, it’s easy to understand how his ambition, grit, and thirst for knowledge must have easily overcame any feelings of apprehension about setting forth on such a significant and solitary passage.

 

Finishing Strong

Last we left Matt, he was finishing his semester strong and preparing for his final exams.  With his exams and coursework successfully completed, Matt was now faced with some conflicting emotions, the satisfaction and accomplishment upon having completed his semester, paired with the feelings of sadness and sentimentalism having to leave what he called his home and friends for the summer.

 

Approaching the conclusion of his time in Europe, Matt was determined to live his last days in Prague to the fullest.  Since a friend from Kansas State (currently living in the Netherlands) came to visit him for his last week, this proved not so difficult.  Matt stated that it felt surreal, seeing someone from “back home” right alongside him in such a faraway place.  However, spending time with a familiar face made his final few days in Prague all the more enjoyable.   

 

Home Sweet Kansas

Believe it or not, our fun, fearless, and favorite traveler has now returned back to home sweet Kansas!  In fact, as you read this post, Matt is most likely taking some time to recoup from his busy semester.  All that learning and exploring definitely warrants a few days of relaxation!  We hope Matt is able to unwind and enjoy some nice, refreshing air conditioning, as this was one luxury he admits was greatly missed during his time spent in Prague!

 

Final Thoughts

Matt recapped his numerous adventures in Europe, which included Prague, Budapest, Barcelona, and Berlin.  Although he acknowledged that it is near impossible to rank them, Matt remarked that he enjoyed Prague most of all.  However, if you’re looking for a good meal, he recommended Barcelona; as  deliciously fresh seafood simply cannot be beat!  

 

Whether you’re flying thousands of miles across the world for a study abroad or going on a short road trip for the weekend, we’ve all experienced the ‘bumps in the road’ that undoubtedly accompany any trip or vacation.  As we seen with Matt, his travels were certainly no exception! Uncomfortable train conditions, extremely hot temperatures, and no cell phone… these are just a few of the ‘bumps’ that Matt encountered, yet overcame during his journey.  Matt is the first to admit that these obstacles were well worth the experiences that came with his semester abroad, and goes further to say that this opportunity has greatly surpassed his initial expectations!  Not only was he able to gain a wealth of knowledge regarding some new customs, cultures, and people, he was most importantly able to learn some things about himself as well.  To further demonstrate this and close out our blog profile on Matt, we’re using Matt’s own words, in which we believe best summarizes his study abroad experience!

 

“ I feel as if studying abroad this summer was a once in a lifetime experience, something that every college student should do if the opportunity presents itself!....This summer has really taught me a lot about the world, and I learned a lot about myself. Over the past few weeks I’ve become more cultured, a better problem solver, better public speaker, better navigator, and more mature….There is no doubt in my mind I will be going back soon."

 

    ~Matt Anderson~ 

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Matt wishes to express his most sincere gratitude to the Black Entrepreneurs, Inc. Sponsors  for making his dream of studying in Europe a reality.  In addition to this, he would like to thank his family for the love and support they have shown him over the years.  

 

It has been a pleasure bringing you weekly updates on Matt and his study abroad experience in Prague.  We hope that you’ve enjoyed learning and exploring along with him throughout the semester and look forward to sharing other adventures from future scholarship recipients with you.

 

BE, along with our Sponsors, will continue to support Black students in their entrepreneurial endeavors.  If you, like Matt, are interested in creating some unique and unforgettable memories through a study abroad program, please visit our See the World, BE the Future page for additional information regarding our See the World, BE the Future Scholarship.

 

Matt's Last Photos of Prague

 

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Finals, Friends, and Unforgettable Memories

It’s hard to believe that it was just a short time ago when Matt Anderson began his life altering journey by earning a See the World, BE the Future scholarship for his study abroad trip. Matt, who studies Business Management at Kansas State University, chose a study abroad program at Charles University, located in Prague, Czech Republic. Quite a long way from his K-State Wildcats! Despite the distance, Matt eagerly anticipated the opportunity to learn about Prague’s history, architecture, and language (Czech) by becoming immersed in a completely new culture!

Fast forward 6 weeks, and we find Matt’s voyage in Prague nearing an end…and what an adventure it’s been! With the conclusion of his semester abroad quickly approaching, Matt is more determined than ever to stay the course with his class work in order to finish the summer term strong. After some very eventful and action-packed weekends, Matt decided it would be best to lay low this past weekend in order to focus on his studies (so unfortunately, no pictures this week).  He’s spent much of his recent time preparing for a culminating presentation, and is certain that the many hours he’s devoted to working on this project will pay off. Matt reports that he’s pleased with his final product, and feels confident that his finished work adequately reflects the perseverance and dedication he’s put forth this summer.

In addition to finishing this important presentation, Matt has also been juggling his regular class schedule as well as the responsibility of completing daily assignments. On top of all this, he’s still somehow found time to squeeze in some productive study sessions for his upcoming finals. It’s clear that in this quest to learn more about Prague and it’s culture, Matt is also picking up some essential time management skills as well! With all of the stress that undoubtedly comes with the end of a school term, Matt could certainly use a little R&R. He looks forward to the reprieve of this upcoming weekend, as one of his college friends (currently living in Amsterdam) will be visiting him in Prague. Matt’s excited about the chance to show off the many sights and sounds of this beautiful city he’s come to learn so much about.

While Matt admits that he’s found his semester abroad challenging, he deems it well worth the effort. He is filled with appreciation and gratitude for this opportunity, and looks forward to his future as a result of his studies abroad. As with all good things, this too must come to an end. As can be expected, Matt’s recently been feeling homesick for his friends and family. After an unbelievable summer, he’s ready to return home to Overland Park, Kansas, where he will spend the remainder of the summer. With that said, he’s determined to enjoy every last minute of his remaining time in Prague! No doubt his last days in this beautiful European city will provide plenty of time to create a few more unforgettable memories to add to those he has already accumulated this summer!

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Reaching New Heights in Barcelona

Berlin, Budapest, and the Charles Bridge…these are just a few of the places that Matt has already had the pleasure of experiencing thus far in his study abroad trip to Prague.  Being surrounded by all of this unique and varied culture, one can only imagine all the wonderful things Matt has learned, and the degree to which he has grown.  While his semester in Prague may be winding down, his studies, learning, and personal growth haven’t stopped quite yet!

Matt’s fifth week began with a much anticipated visit to the Petřín Lookout Tower, an extremely popular tourist attraction in Prague.  This landmark, which bears a close resemblance to Paris’ Eifel Tower, was built in 1891 and was used as an observation and transmission tower.  After a tiring and lengthy climb to the top, 63.5 meters to be exact, Matt was able to enjoy a breathtaking view of Prague’s beautiful countryside.  While his ascent may have been exhausting, Matt agrees that this once in a lifetime view was well worth the exertion!

 

Petřín Lookout Tower + View

 

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Following his outing to the Petřín Tower, Matt’s adventurous spirit brought him to the innovative and culture-rich city of Barcelona, Spain.  This urban area is the largest metropolis on the Mediterranean Sea.  Matt was lucky enough to experience this energetic atmosphere firsthand!  He described Barcelona as, “amazing to say the least”.  With people and cars bustling everywhere, he was completely immersed in the lively city life.  Surrounded by all that exquisite culture, Matt quickly became a busy man!  He was able to participate in some truly unique and distinctive cultural experiences, beginning with a visit to the colossal Tibidabo, the highest point in the city of Barcelona.  At its summit, which rises to 1,681 ft, sits the Sagrat Cor Church.  Matt had a chance to observe some truly spectacular views as he was lifted to the top of this peak via ski tram.

 

Sagrat Cor Church and Tbidabo

 

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After some time spent enjoying the city’s architecture, Matt decided that a trip to the beach was the perfect remedy for Barcelona’s hot weather!  He had a great time relaxing on Spain’s beautiful seashore, while also cooling off by taking a dip in the Mediterranean Sea.  While Matt appreciated the pervasive beauty of Barcelona, one thing that was not quite as appealing was the cost.  Somewhat unsurprisingly, this major global city was the most expensive that Matt has visited throughout his travels abroad this summer.

 

Barcelona Seashore

 

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Matt was even able to extend his weekend excursion!  Due to the Czech holiday celebrating Saints Cyril and Methodius, his usual Monday classes were cancelled.  Thus, giving him an extra day to experience the beautiful Barcelona!  With all the time and effort he’s put into his studies and coursework, we think he’s definitely earned it!

 

Matt admits that he’s becoming excited to return home, and is eagerly anticipating the chance to spend time with his family and friends (along with some serious AC).  With that said, he’s determined to finish this semester strong, and is looking forward to his remaining time in Prague.  What a whirlwind summer it has been for Matt…and the excitement’s not quite over yet! 

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Nothing like some R&R and the Charles Bridge to Soothe the Homesick

Although hard to believe, Matt is already in the midst of his fourth week in Prague.  He’s had quite the journey so far!  Not only has he been busy working hard on his studies and coursework, but Matt’s weekends could hardly be described as dull!  With activities including train rides to Berlin, followed by world renowned cathedrals in Budapest, it’s clear that he’s been getting his fill of some intriguing and unique European culture.

Week four into his study abroad program, Matt finds himself (understandably) experiencing a touch of homesickness.  Surprisingly, one thing that reminds him of home is the weather in Prague.   Varying in hot and cool days, Matt notes that it is very similar to that of the springtime in his own home state of Kansas.  Despite this bit of nostalgia, he assures us that Prague is most definitely the place he wants to be.  One thing’s for sure, Matt’s studies are certainly keeping him busy enough to take his mind off missing home, as he continues to work with diligence towards his schoolwork.  His demanding summer semester is well underway.  He has been creating multiple presentations while also preparing for upcoming tests with some intense study sessions.  We applaud his hard work, and wish him luck in his approaching exams. No doubt his efforts and determination will pay off!

With all that hard work, Matt was ready for a restful weekend filled with a chance to relax and catch up on some much needed sleep.  He decided to remain in Prague for his fourth weekend abroad.  Matt admits that it was nice to unwind and recoup.  With so much to see and do, Matt couldn’t remain idle for long!  After a good night’s sleep, he was recharged enough to take a visit to the Charles Bridge.  This famous and historic bridge, commissioned by King Charles IV in 1357, crosses the Vltava River in Prague.  Lined by 16 arches and 30 Baroque statues of religious figures, the 621 meter long bridge is often considered to be one of the most astonishing civil gothic-style structures in the world.  Matt found the bridge interesting, but also very crowded.  Although it took quite a long time to actually get onto the Charles Bridge (due to all the tourists also clamoring for a view), he considered it well worth the wait!  Matt was also looking forward to exploring the Petřín Lookout Tower, a steel tower in Prague which closely resembles the Eiffel Tower.  But with all that walking around the Charles Bridge, he found himself worn out, and decided to save this excursion for another time in the very near future. 

Surrounding Streets of Charles Bridge

 Charles Bridge

After this past weekend of relaxation, Matt is ready for more adventures abroad!  We’ll see you back here next week, as Matt discovers and explores one of the world’s most influential cities in the world, Barcelona, Spain! 

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Making His Way

When we last left Matt, he was still settling in Prague.  After adapting to his new and very busy course schedule during his first weeks, he and his roommates ran into some less than comfortable train conditions while traveling to Berlin, Germany for the weekend.  Despite these rather uncomfortable obstacles, Matt is back at it this week, and it looks like he’s becoming a much more confident traveler!

After working diligently the past week in order to prepare for Mid-Term exams, as well as a significant presentation for one of his courses, Matt was happy to have a weekend of relaxation.  He reports that things are going fantastic, and he looks forward to beginning his 3rd week of classes in Prague!

After receiving countless recommendations from new friends he’s met in Prague, Matt couldn’t resist a visit to nearby Budapest, Hungary for his latest weekend expedition.  Despite his last transportation exploit, our courageous Matt decided to brave the train once again!  He reports that his journey to Budapest was much more enjoyable, as he traveled via overnight train.  In fact, Matt was even able to catch a few winks on his voyage, as his train had comfortable beds to sleep on during the ride.  Talk about traveling in style!  Matt described Budapest as a great place to visit.  He found it both interesting, as well as beautiful.  His adventures took him to Castle Hill, where he was able to experience the breathtaking Baroque architecture of the Royal Palace.

Matt’s next journey took him to the dazzling Matthias Church.  One of the most important churches in Hungary, the Matthias Church has been the site of many coronations and even some Royal weddings!

Concluding his weekend getaway, Matt visited the famous Chain Bridge. This bridge, which spans the River Danube between Buda and Pest, has enormous economic, social, cultural, and historical significance to Hungary.

Finally, Matt reports that he has also begun using Uber, an American international transportation network company.  By using the Uber mobile app, he is able submit a trip request, which is then routed to Uber economy drivers.  Matt has found this method of transportation extremely efficient, as well as inexpensive.

Join us again next week for another update and the continuation of Matt’s story!

 

Matt's Photos

Famous Budapest Spa Party or "Sparty"

Budapest Palace

Famous Budapest Bridge

Budapest Mid-Town

 

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