Going Home

I just got home, and I wanted to let you know how grateful I am to have had the opportunity to study in Prague the last 6 weeks. The events that occurred in the past 48 hours were something that no one could have expected, and I am so thankful that NYU Prague handled the situation smoothly and quickly. All the RA’s, building managers, professors and administration are absolutely incredible, and I’m so lucky to have met and worked with them. Which makes leaving so much harder.

I am so sad that I have to leave this amazing community in this beautiful city. For the first time, I was genuinely happy with how my college experience was run. NYU provided actual essentials for living in a dorm (hand and dish soap, power strips, kitchen appliances...), all music students lived in the same dorm, music majors functioned as one (not music ed vs performance, or whatever music tech and biz do), everyone had the same amount of performance opportunities, classes were kept at a good size, and instructors were passionate and supportive.

I enjoyed my private lessons and ensemble rehearsals because the main focus was making music rather than striving for technical perfection. My chamber group was amazing, I loved working with you and I hope we can be together again next fall. See you on the Zoom!

Earlier this week, when we had the option to leave and continue the semester through remote learning, I knew that I was going to stay in Europe for sure. But when all classes went remote, I seriously began to weigh the options of coming home.

The night leading up to NYU's decision to send all of us home was indescribable. We had just had an open-mic night, where students showed off the results of their hard work in ensemble rehearsals, and the room was so full of energy, love and support. By 2 am a group of us we’re leaving the Pětka bar, laughing and probably waking up the neighborhood (sorry Holešovice). We crossed the street and were almost back at the dorm when someone received a call from their parent. Trump had just made a statement. The student was to get on a plane the next day.

I didn’t know what I was going to do, For the next three hours, I called people to find out more about the situation. After falling asleep at 5 a.m, I woke up 3 hours later, was handed a check out form and was instructed to go to campus to book a flight. I cried on the tram and I cried booking my flight, and by the time I returned to the dorm at 2pm the Czech Prime Minister was addressing everyone live on the news announcing that the Czech borders would be shut down soon for the next 30 days. This was the moment I knew that we really had no option but to leave.

Being home will be bittersweet. My parents put as much money as they could into me studying abroad because they knew they could never give me this opportunity on their own. I had a lot of trips planned all around Europe for the next several weeks. I understand that this virus has about the same complications as the flu for someone my age, but I have been in the ER with the flu and pneumonia, and at the beginning of this semester I had a terrible strep throat and actually said the words “I want to come home” on the phone to my parents. I know that if I were to get sick during this time, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere but home.

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