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Holden Cannon

About My Study Abroad Program

Major/Minor: Psychology
Program: NCSU Prague
Location: Prague, Czech Republic
Term: Spring 2023


Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you select your program?
I have always wanted to experience living abroad to experience new cultures and be exposed to different ways of life. It was only a matter of where I would go. I debated several regions but landed on Europe. From there I chose NCSU Prague as it was an organization run through NCSU, and by NCSU, so I knew their advisors would be with me throughout the whole process (I had issues with this at my previous university). The easily transferrable credits also played a role as it allowed me to continue my studies at full throttle even while abroad.


What did you learn about yourself?
That I could live in Europe!! In all seriousness I think I found out that I am more flexible and adaptable than I ever gave myself credit for. I have said for several years that I wanted to live in Europe someday and the study abroad really gave me an opportunity to prove that I could. It would be an adjustment, but I proved to myself that its one I could make.


What is one of your favorite memories from your program?
Our program had 2 built in excursions, the first was to Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic. This was simply magical as it was at the beginning of the program so it gave me a chance to make some friends in a beautiful small city. It also snowed while we were there which was just beautiful-- especially after hiking up to get a view of the town. The second was to Krakow, Poland where we took a day trip to Auschwitz-Birkenau. That was one of the most moving and gut-wrenching experiences of my life. To physically stand in and see the buildings that contributed to the Nazi death machine was surreal to say the least. Honestly, I could write about my experiences abroad for days on end. I visited a new city or country practically every weekend-- something that is impossible to experience in the US.


What advice do you have for future study abroad students?
Be social and find your people early. Take the first few days to really find your people and meet everyone you can in the program. I had a great group filled with fun people and meeting them all early to establish those connection made the experience so much more social and also made it literally easier to socialize since I felt connected to everyone.


How do you identify?
Transfer Student


Could you share any experiences where your identity played a role in your time abroad?
I transferred from the University of Utah where skiing was a big deal. So one weekend I got to show off my skiing skills to my classmates in Austria. That was super cool and full-circle, but probably the biggest way that my 'identity' affected me. Other factors in my personality and hobbies played a big role, but that was by far the biggest influence I experienced while abroad.


Is there any advice you would give to other students who share your identity?
STAY OPEN!! In Utah I went in with a rather closed mindset which made it hard to meet people (plus COVID didn't help either). When I came to Carolina and then went I went abroad I forced myself to adopt a more open mindset. This helped me meet people and make friends so much faster than I otherwise would have and I now have a great group of friends. That's the most important thing to me.


If you faced any challenges abroad, where could you turn to get the support you needed?
I was always able to talk to either my UNC advisor or my NCSU Prague advisor. The staff was also super helpful in helping us navigate culture shock, etc. The whole staff was 10/10 in my program I couldn't be more happy with them.