Tips For Traveling While Studying Abroad

Tips For Traveling While Studying Abroad

Fitting every place you want to see into 4 months may not be as hard as it seems

If you're planning on studying abroad, you probably know that you're going to be traveling a lot. You may even have a list of places you want to get to during your stay. Before leaving, though, here are five things I wish I'd known before starting my semester.

Plan your trips beforehand.

Or, at least, plan your trips during the first few weeks of school, especially the major ones. You don't necessarily have to book all of your trips right away, but you should know when and where you want to go before you get too far into the semester. This will keep you from missing any places on your list that you don't have enough time left at the end of the year, and will leave you time to make and invite friends before they book up all of their weekends, too.

Be careful not to overbook.

One of the main regrets I've been hearing from friends recently is the fact that they are booked every weekend from now until the end of the semester. Most of them booked most of their trips at the beginning of the semester and are now feeling pressed for time to do other things in the few weekends left of our program. Keeping a few weekends in your schedule open will be helpful when you hear about a place you hadn't even considered traveling to, or realize that you are running out of time to explore the city you're actually studying in. Also, keep an eye on the academic calendar for your program while you're booking your weekends and trips. Knowing when midterms and finals are, or when you're getting an extra day off or long weekend is important to planning out your stay.

Bring two backpacks.

Having a big travel backpack is helpful while traveling, especially on flights. Buy a backpack from a store selling hiking gear that can hold all your clothes, your camera, homework, some souvenirs, and anything else you might need while traveling and use it as your carry-on. You won't have to pay for luggage and it'll be easier to tote to the airport or train station with you. Unfortunately, that backpack won't do you much good once you're actually in the city you traveled to. It'll probably stay in the hostel, too big to carry and still full of clothes, and a purse is too small to carry a spare sweatshirt or your camera. What you need is a small backpack or something like a satchel, big enough to carry everything you need while exploring but small enough that it can either fit inside the larger bag or be your personal item.

Bring your homework with you.

You think, Oh, I won't have time to do homework. I'll be too busy, so why bring it? I'll do it when I get home. And, sometimes, you will be right. But others, you will have extra time at the hostel, probably at some awkward moment between the shops closing and dinner. Plus, you'll have travel time, to and from your destination. Any homework you have for the weekend can be done. If you don't bring at least some homework with you, traveling can become one very long excuse for procrastinating.

Don't forget to travel within the country you're studying in.

Most people spend their time studying abroad trying to hit as many countries as they can, especially if they're studying in Europe. They often forget to take advantage of how easy it is to explore the country they are actually in. Most of my traveling has been day trips to different places around Italy, sometimes just an hour or two train ride outside of where I'm studying. It's easier and cheaper than leaving the country every weekend, and lets you understand the culture of the place you're actually living in a bit better. There's a reason you chose the country you did, so don't let all of your free time be spent somewhere else.

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Learn Something Valuable From These 7 European Countries

When you are surrounded by chocolate, treat yourself.

America is a big country. So large that some parts of the country are so diverse they may as well be in different worlds, yet, American soil will always have one uniting factor: The American Dream. So, if we have an idea that enables synonymity in our vast country then that means that as different as some American counterparts may seem, we also share much of the same. This is why international travel is so important.

In fact, global traveling is more feasible then some may think, and can help shape your life in tremendous ways. So, here are seven life lessons there are to learn from those other international communities, specifically seven countries from Europe.

1. Spain: Be diverse in your choices

The Spanish are famous for their “tapas”. If you spend time in Spain then you will undoubtedly encounter this diversified little meal. Tapas are essentially small little plates (or tasters) of different dishes. This thereby encourages making choices that consist of variety, reinforcing to those who are creatures of habit to try something new!

2. England: Spend time outdoors

Take a trip to England and you will be surrounded by areas of preserved green space. When walking the streets of London you can expect every other block to be an area reserved for a small community park, not to mention the tremendously large parks in London, like Hyde Park. This dedicated space for outdoor enjoyment encourages people to get out of their homes and go move around in the parks.

3. Belgium: Treat yourself

Oh, the Belgium chocolate. Belgium is world renowned for having excellent, gourmet chocolate. Must I say any more? Treat yourself! With a chocolatier shop on every corner, it’s hard to miss.

4. The Netherlands: Exercise

When people think of Amsterdam, they often think of bicycles. Boy, is that true. Bicycles rule the road in the Netherlands, especially the populated city of Amsterdam. It is not uncommon to see elegantly dressed women, mothers with newborns, or toddlers cycling along the busy streets. Take a page from the Dutch way of life and try using your bicycle as your main mode of transportation.

5. Germany: Learn a foreign language

The German language is a bit abstract to English speakers. Which means if you do not speak German, then you will be playing charades to find your way through the German homeland. Some regions consist of seasoned English speakers, but do not plan on it. Take this as a mental note to learn a new language.

6. Italy: Eat good food

Italian food. Yum. The Italians know how to achieve high-quality life through their beautiful leisurely vacation destinations, fine art scene, and AMAZING FOOD. Take a trip to Italy, eat good food, and come home realizing you should treat your taste buds better then you have.

7. Denmark: Don’t take candy from strangers

Allow me to clarify something: the Danish are very sweet and kind people. Their candy will not actually cause damage to your body in terms of being toxic, but your taste buds will revolt unless you like salted black licorice.

Cover Image Credit: Jazmine Kelleher

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To The Spoiled Coachella Girl, You're Living The Life Your Parents Handed You On A Silver Platter

"There is nothing wrong with the experiences you had, but not being grateful for them is disrespectful."

Dear Unapologetic Coachella Girl,

Hello. You don't know me, but I am one of the non-Coachella goers.

I am glad your article has received so much publicity, but there are things that do not sit well with me, and I felt like I needed to address them.

First, I am glad you were able to attend this event. With it being so prevalent in modern pop culture, I'm sure you are able to tell many stories about your fun weekend.

I don't have a problem with attendees' parents purchasing their tickets for them. Obviously, gifts are nice, and it's a kind gesture for your parents to have flown you out to California for this event.

I do have a problem with the way you say you are living your life. In my opinion, you are not living your life. You are living the life your parents are handing you on a silver platter.

Now before I go on, it's a given that my parents pay for a lot of my things. I am lucky that they are helping me pay for my education and housing, but I pay for the majority of my stuff now that I am not living at home. I have had a job since I was 15, knowing that there was something special and humbling about earning and saving my hard earned money.

There is a possibility that you left out the fact that you work hard for your own money, but from the experiences that you have included in your article, I would be shocked if you had ever worked a day in your life.

There is nothing wrong with the experiences you had, but not being grateful for them is disrespectful. No one is making you the "bad guy" for going on these trip or getting a nice car, but you're the bad guy when you are seemingly expecting these type of elaborate gifts and not showing gratitude for the blessings handed to you.

You can tell yourself you are a good person and deserve these amazing things, but what are YOU doing to make yourself this great person? I was raised believing that things and physical objects don't define your worth self-love, rather the kindness and things you give back are what make you a good person. I encourage you to think about that notion in your Escalade.


A Humble and Grateful Student

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