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Meet Colton Williams

Colton Williams in the streets of Prague while snowing

Program and Location:

Spring Prague Classic 2022; Prague, Czech Republic


Industrial Design

Colton Williams, an Industrial Design major, spent his last semester in Prague before graduating. Spending your last semester abroad is not common, but Colton had postponed his original plans to study abroad because of the pandemic. At NC State Prague, Colton took two courses in his field of study, Industrial Design in a Business Context, Product and Furniture Design, and two GEP classes, Food and Society and Czech Language and Culture. Colton also enjoys photographing all kinds of subjects, but we can honestly say, primarily cars!

What was one of the biggest challenges of studying abroad?

The biggest challenge for studying abroad was the preparation for the trip, as there is a lot to get done to ensure you have a safe and fun trip. You need to make sure that you have everything in order, including documents, clothing, and other items.  This can be overwhelming, but it is not a problem once you are organized. Everything essential can be bought in Prague.

What surprised you the most about the Czech Republic?

My biggest surprise in the Czech Republic is how public etiquette is respected and followed in all spaces. On public transportation and in other spaces, people are respectful and quiet. Czechs’ perspective is very different from Americans, as they have very different past and traditions.

What was your favorite place(s) that you visited?

My favorite places to visit were Berlin, Germany, and Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic. These places are very different from Prague, so it can be an exciting way to see a new part of Europe. In Berlin, the people were friendly, the vintage markets were full of clothes and items, and the nightlife was fun. Karlovy Vary has a beautiful nature park nearby, with many stores, restaurants, and forest paths to enjoy.

How did studying abroad work with your major?

I was able to directly take Industrial Design courses with professionals working in the Czech Republic, allowing me to get some real-world experience. There is work to be done, but there is plenty of time to enjoy Prague and other cities across Europe if you manage your time correctly.

What is your favorite Czech word and why?

My favorite Czech word is Chleb, which means Bread in English. I just think that it’s a funny-sounding word to try.

What is your favorite memory from studying abroad?

My favorite memory is traveling to Dusseldorf, Germany, to see some friends and learn new things about how they live. We met in the United States, and they moved back to Germany. It was terrific to visit where they were born, meet their family, see the city they grew up in, and learn new things about people I have known for a long time.

What was most impactful or meaningful to you from your time abroad?

I have learned so much about being a world citizen and how others lead their lives. Before coming, I had a set picture of what the rest of the world was, and this trip allowed me to see how people go about their days in Europe. It enables you to respect others and take in what you don’t understand.

How did your time abroad affect your career or life plan?

I feel as if I am much more open to moving abroad for a career after studying in Prague. I now realize that I want to see as much of the world as possible and learn how other people live. When you take the time to truly live somewhere, it allows you to be connected to the people and yourself.

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