5 Reasons Why Every College Student Should Study Abroad

5 Reasons Why Every College Student Should Study Abroad

5. You will make some of the best memories in your life
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Over spring break, I went on a study abroad trip to Portugal and Spain. Signing up for this trip was totally out of character for me. I am a homebody and don't enjoy travelling very much. But I have always wanted to go to Barcelona and Seville, which were two of the cities listed on the itinerary. AND the trip was through the nutrition department, meaning it was all about Mediterranean cuisine. Our group would get special cooking lessons and private tours of olive oil factories. Everything about this trip was meant to be, so I just went for it and signed myself up.

I have to admit, I was an absolute nervous wreck before I left. I didn't know anyone else going, I didn't know if I would like the food we were going to be cooking and eating, I didn't know how to speak Portuguese or Catalan, and I don't like planes. I was so afraid that I would be miserable and feel out of place the whole time... but that was not the case at all. After experiencing it myself, I truly believe that every college student should study abroad if he or she gets the chance, and here are a few reasons why:

1. You will meet/get to know some of the coolest people

Like I said, I didn't know ANYBODY going on this trip. But within the first few minutes of being in the airport, I started talking to and bonding with some amazing people. Everyone got along. No one was mean. Everyone included everyone. I felt like I belonged. Not once did I feel isolated or unwelcome. The people I met on this trip were some of the coolest people I have ever met in my life, and I know we aren't just going to stop being friends now that we are back home.

2. The people and lifestyles in other countries are so interesting

Europe has a completely different atmosphere than America. The people are much more laid back, not rushing all the time and over booking their schedules like we do. They take their time. They see drink socially rather than just to get obliterated. They eat MUCH later than we do (and smaller portions, too). They have dance parties on Sunday nights and let wave foreign college students into the ballroom to join them. They are more active, opting to walk or ride a bike rather than drive, and there are more Vespa scooters on the streets than cars.

3. Authentic cuisine is bomb a

I don't really like rice, but I could honestly eat paella for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Authentic paella is nothing like the knock-off kind you can get here in American at "traditional" restaurants. Also, don't even get me started on the fresh seafood. I think I ate grilled octopus at least three of the six nights we were there. The food in Portugal and Spain (and I assume all of Europe) is just so much fresher than it is here in America!

4. The architecture is stunning


America is the baby out of all the countries in the world. A lot of the buildings in Europe date back to Middle Ages. It's an absolute wonder how massive stone castles and Cathedrals could be constructed without modern technology. The artwork on the walls is even more fascinating. The intricate chiseled designs are breathtaking. And the fact that these buildings still stand strong - many still being in use today - is amazing to me.

5. You will make some of the best memories in your life

A few of us made a little "quote" if you will to live buy while we were abroad. In Portugal, it was YOPO: You only Portugal once. In Spain, it was YOSO: You only Spain once. We were determined to live to our fullest and try to experience everything we could. This meant we probably ate and drank too much, but that doesn't matter because the memories that came with it were worth it.

I had so much fun studying abroad. Complete strangers became my best friends, and together, we made memories that will last a lifetime. I truly hope that every college student gets the opportunity to study abroad someday because it is one of the best experiences you will have in your life.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Burkholder

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9 Things That Happen When A Walt Disney World Cast Member Visits Disneyland

I traveled from the most magical place on earth to the happiest place on earth.

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As a cast member, you can get free entry to the Disney theme parks. So why not make use of your tickets to head over to Disneyland to see where all the magic originated?

1. Freak out about the history.

Walt Disney LITERALLY walked these grounds. Not that you're freaking out or anything, but you are. Let's talk about Main Street, Sleeping Beauty Castle, Pirates of the Caribbean, and more. Walt Disney literally had a hand in all of it. This is the original park where all the magic was designed and created and you can't help but geek out.

2. Compare the attractions.

They're the same, but they are also different. Let's talk about the facade of The Haunted Mansion. Loving it in New Orleans Square! Thunder Mountain: the same but mirror opposites. Space Mountain you have a riding buddy, but on Splash Mountain you don't. As a Cast Member, you notice all these small differences and can't help but geek out a little when you notice things you like better.

3. Admire the costumes.

They're SO CUTE! When you get used to seeing and wearing the same costumes all the time it is really cool to freak out over the new and unseen ones from a new land.

4. Appreciate the additional discounts.

Food. All the food. I feel like a VIP with all these food discounts!

5. Run back and forth between the parks...because you CAN!

You can get from California Adventure to Disneyland in about one minute! It's so close! What a dream! No busses, no monorail. It's just so convenient! You can hop back and forth all day without losing much time at all!

6. New Orleans Square.

Let's talk about how cool this land is! Walt Disney World is TRUELY missing out here. Without a doubt this is my favorite land in all of the Disney theme parks! I love that the Haunted Mansion is here. I LOVE the Mickey shaped beignets. The shopping is super cute. And you cannot forget about the Blue Bayou inside Pirates of the Caribbean.

7. Test Track<<Radiator Springs Racers.

Beth Monnig

There's literally no contest here. After riding Radiator Springs Racers you'll never care about riding Test Track again. The story is just so immersive on Racers. And you actually are racing someone. It's so cute you could just ride over and over again.

8. Suddenly discover that Disney World is massive in comparison.

Walt Disney World is SO BIG! It really is its own world in comparison to Disneyland. Also, let's talk about the fact that Disneyland is literally right in the middle of LA. There has to be something said for the fact that Walt Disney World is all on its own. The experience is a bit more immersive in that way in Florida.

9. Plan your next trip back.

Beth Monnig

Seriously though. The trip is just so short, even when you spend a couple of days at Disneyland. Despite its smaller size, there is still so much to see and do that you feel like your trip is inevitably too short no matter how long your stay is. The only thing to do is brainstorm to start planning your next trip out!

Walt Disney World will always be home, but as a Disney Cast Member, it's always good to go back to the place where the magic originated.

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Top 10 Things To Do In the United State's Capitol

This is your guide to a fun-filled weekend ing Washington, DC.

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There's never a dull moment in Washington, DC. From educational activities to festivals and fairs to nightlife there is always something to do for people of all ages. I've been living here in the city for a little over a year, and there is still so much to see that I haven't gotten to yet. This beautiful place is fun and exciting to visit during all times of the year, and I highly recommend spending at least two days in the Capitol of the United States.

The Smithsonian Museums  

One of the top reasons to come to Washington, DC is to visit the Smithsonian Museums. They're full of beautiful artwork, remembrance, and facts. Best of all- they're all free!

The Eastern Market

On Saturday mornings the best place to get breakfast is at the Eastern Market in southeast DC. In the spring, summer, and early fall the streets are full of tents with artwork, clothing, and furniture, and the inside is full of fresh food, flowers, and pop up stands.

The Wharf

One of my favorite places to hang out is at the Wharf on the Waterfront. There's restaurants, bars, and a pier of fresh seafood. Not looking to spend a lot of money? Grab an ice cream cone from Ben & Jerry's and grab a seat on the end of the pier around the fire pit.

The Anthem, 9:30 Club, Echo Stage

Want to dance the night away after spending the day touring the city? The Anthem, 9:30 Club, and Echo Stage are all great venues that host a wide variety of artists.

Smithsonian's National Zoo

Hop on the metro and within a half hour from the National Mall, you can be at the Smithsonian's National Zoo. It's free entry and it's a great place to spend your Saturday afternoon!

Happy Hour 

Throughout the entire city, you can find some of the best happy hour's Monday through Thursday starting at 4. Cheap beer and a ton of new friends!

Regal Cinema in Chinatown

The Regal Cinema in Chinatown is the best movie theater I have ever been to. You can order chicken fingers and french fries that are delivered right to your reclinable reserved seats! Nothing better. If your early for your movie and have time to kill, there is a bar with bowling and pool tables which is always a fun way to kill time with friends.

National Mall - At Night

Everyone always talks about going to the National Mall, but the best time to go is at night. Everything is lit up and it's beautiful! Best of all, not many people are hanging around so you have the entire place to roam around and sit and hang out with friends on the monuments.

Cherry Blossom Festival

The best part of Washington, DC is in the spring because the cherry blossoms are finally blossoming. People come from all around the world to see these beautiful trees that were gifted to us. In March, there are many events happening on the weekends such as live music, food trucks, and other activities.

Street Fairs

My favorite part of the city is that there is something always going on. Something I really love to go to include the street fairs and the festivals happening within the street. They're great places to learn about different cultures, eat yummy food, and buy local handmade goods from local vendors.

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