Studying abroad is something that many people dream of doing. There are so many places in the world that any traveler would be excited to do. I personally have had the incredible fortune of having the opportunity to study abroad in Europe, and it is amazing. While my time in Europe has been phenomenal, and unlike anything I have ever experienced before, I miss America a lot. Living abroad definitely gives you the appreciation for small things that you probably never really noticed before. Here are some examples:
1. Data/Free Wifi
Unless you pay a whole lot of money for an international data plan, you probably don't have any data. This makes things difficult for many reasons. Yes, getting in contact with family and friends back home is difficult, but you also have to find ways to get around without using a GPS. While many places offer wifi, it is rarely free and you almost always have to sit for a while and order something if it is a restaurant or cafe. I am most certainly looking forward to my plane touching down in America and turning my data back on!
2. Free, Still Water
Water in Europe is almost never free. While some countries have very clean tap water, restaurants rarely offer it to their customers. Usually, you have to buy water in a bottle. You also have to clarify whether you want sparkling water or still water. I have made the mistake of buying sparkling water many times, and trust me, it's kind of a disappointment.
3. Air Conditioning
If you travel to Europe in the summer, or around an area that gets relatively hot, you will understand this struggle. It gets very, very hot in Europe, especially if you are in a city, and there is barely any air-conditioning. AC is something we seriously take for granted in America.
I don't know about you, but I have always loved to drive. However, even if you have always hated driving, you probably will miss it when you come to Europe. Public transportation is very useful, but can be extremely uncomfortable. The mixture of heat and hundreds of people packed into a small area leads to a relatively unpleasant travel. If you choose not to take the cramped trams or busses, you probably will end up walking everywhere, which is nice, but your legs will be exhausted by the end of the day.
I was never really a huge breakfast person. I really only had just began to even heat a small breakfast before my study abroad, but I for sure miss the American Breakfast. Pancakes, waffles, home fries. Don't get me wrong, I love the pastries and other breakfast snacks, but I am extremely excited to pig out for breakfast my first morning home.
6. Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is something you can find everywhere in America. Not in other countries. If you do find Peanut Butter abroad, here's what happens:
First, you get extremely excited because omg! You just found peanut butter!
Next, you tear up a little bit when you see the price ... It's extremely expensive.
Finally, you give in and spend all of your grocery allowance on the smallest tub of peanut butter just cuz.
7. Food in general
There a whole lot of food back home in America that you for sure will miss. Cheeseburgers, Tex-Mex or really any fried food. While it may seem crazy, especially when you can eat such amazingly fresh food in abroad, you will definitely find it hard to forget about American food.
Heads-up, Netflix is not the same in other countries. It only offers some of the shows that are on Netflix in America. This was something I had not thought about, and one of the many things I miss so much.
Not having a dryer makes laundry really a slow process. Really, don't expect your clothes to be dry in a day.
Cold drinks just don't exist.
11. Non-Smoking Areas
Especially in Europe, cigarette smoke is literally everywhere you go. If you don't smoke, chances are you're lungs will feel like you do by the end of your trip.
12. Free Bathrooms
When you are used to free public restrooms, paying a little pocket change actually is the most annoying thing.
13. American Money
It's like every thing you buy you are comparing it to how much it would cost in American dollars.
Not only do you miss your own pets back home, but you also miss other peoples pets. Here in Europe, I never know whether or not I can pet the cute puppy on the street.
15. Family & Friends
And naturally, one of the biggest things you will miss about being abroad is your family and your friends. Being away from the most important people in your life is very difficult.
While being abroad does cause you to miss out on things in America, it is still well worth it. My advice, try new things, you will only be abroad for a short amount of time, so take advantage of it! Before you know it you will be back in America!