Alma Mater: University Experiences in the USA and Czech Republic
By Colleen Kiefer Maher
When traveling or comparing cultures, it is the big differences that always get the attention. You might see pictures of the Charles Bridge or Prague Castle or practice nailing those tricky Czech letters. Of course, those are part of experiencing of the Czech Republic, but they are not all of it. For me, the most interesting part of traveling is the million little things that you only notice after living in and with another culture. It is the fashion you observe in stores and on the streets. It is opening up a regular laptop only to find the keyboard is completely unfamiliar. It is having to pay for ketchup in McDonald’s, while in America it is always free. It is that stick shift cars are more prevalent than ones with automatic transmission. Every one of these tiny differences is informed by, and informs, the culture you are in.