Three Reasons to Visit Europe

Three Reasons to Visit Europe

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Three Reasons to Travel to Europe.

Being a dual citizen of the United States, and France, I elected to spend three years abroad for college, to explore Europe. Having been here almost two years now, I can say with absolute certainty, that if you are given the chance to travel to Europe, you should take it, and not think twice.

Europe is much, much older than the United States. There are buildings in Europe that date long before the Declaration of Independence was signed, let alone an idea. With that being said, my first reason as to why you should travel to Europe, is the history associated with this continent. More specifically, architectural history. Europe as a whole is flushed with centuries of incredible architecture, with history unique to each country. For example, Greece, one of the very first countries to form, boasts such a rich history that dates long before the discovery of America. You can visit many historical sites that include the world famous Acropolis of Athens, the Parthenon, and many more. Another fantastic sample is Italy, specifically Rome, a city filled with historic areas like the Vatican, the Colosseum, etc.

The United States, is referred to as living in a giant “melting pot”, yet we really don’t get the vibe that we are experiencing a lot of different cultures, aside from the “American culture” that we are all used too. That is why my second reason is culture. With all of the countries available to visit in Europe, there are hundreds of different cultures to learn from. In Germany, during the whole month of October, you can experience “Octoberfest” a month long celebration of German Lager (beer), in France, dive into year long, country wide gastronomical and wine fairs. Each country in Europe has its own interesting culture, and events specific.

My final reason as to why you should travel abroad is as simple as this: IT’S NOT AMERICA. We are all so used to our cliché American lives of going to school, playing sports, going to Starbucks, Chipotle, eating fast food, and watching football on the weekends, etcetera, etcetera. There is nothing wrong with this lifestyle, but as Americans we can quickly forget due to isolationism that there is a whole other world out there. We should challenge ourselves to go out and discover it. Traveling to Europe, or anywhere for that matter will expose you to people, places, food, tradition, ethnicity, and way of life that is not like ours back home, it will shock you.

I would like to conclude this article with a call to action. If you are a college student, or recent graduate, or even a high schooler with free time during the summer, I strongly suggest you consider a trip to Europe, if you are able to. You are probably thinking “I’m crazy, and that it’s too expensive” but there are many ways to travel. School trips, exchange programs, internship opportunities, etc. But if your family ever asks you where you would like to vacation, pick a European country as your next destination, and you will not regret it.

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10 Things I Threw Out AFTER Freshman Year Of College

Guess half the stuff on your packing list doesn't really matter
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I spent the entire summer before my freshman year of college so WORRIED.

I also spent most of my money that summer on miscellaneous dorm stuff. I packed the car when the time finally came to move in, and spent the drive up excited and confused about what the heck was actually going on.

Freshman year came and went, and as I get ready to go back to school in just a few short weeks (!!), I'm starting to realize there's just a whole bunch of crap I just don't need.

After freshman year, I threw out:

1. Half my wardrobe.

I don't really know what I was thinking of owning 13 sweaters and 25 T-shirts in the first place. I wear the same five T-shirts until I magically find a new one that I probably got for free, and I put on jeans maybe four times. One pair is enough.

2. Half my makeup.

Following in the theme of #1, if I put on makeup, it's the same eyeliner-mascara combination as always. Sometimes I spice it up and add lipstick or eyeshadow.

3. My vacuum.

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One, I basically never did it. Two, if I REALLY needed to vacuum, dorms rent out cleaning supplies.

4. Most of my photos from high school.

I didn't throw them ALL away, but most of them won't be making a return to college. Things change, people change, your friends change. And that's okay.

5. Excess school supplies.

Binders are heavy and I am lazy. I surprisingly didn't lose that many pens, so I don't need the fifty pack anymore. I could probably do without the crayons.

6. Cups/Plates/Bowls/Silverware.

Again, I am lazy. I cannot be bothered to wash dishes that often. I'll stick to water bottles and maybe one coffee cup. Paper plates/bowls can always be bought, and plastic silverware can always be stolen from different places on campus.

7. Books.

I love to read, but I really don't understand why I thought I'd have the time to actually do it. I think I read one book all year, and that's just a maybe.

8. A sewing kit.

I don't even know how to sew.

9. Excessive decorations.

It's nice to make your space feel a little more cozy, but not every inch of the wall needs to be covered.

10. Throw pillows.

At night, these cute little pillows just got tossed to the floor, and they'd sit there for days if I didn't make my bed.

Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

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Why It Is OK To Go Home For Spring Break

Not every Spring break needs to be filled with sand and sunburns.

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I was supposed to go to the beach with a few of my sorority sisters for spring break. It was supposed to be a cute little trip to a beach town with the girls, with days spent covered in sand and sunburns. However, the morning of when we were supposed to leave, my plans fell through. It was a combination of not knowing all the details I needed to, not having a place to stay the whole time, and having the biggest wave of homesickness of the year hit me in the parking lot of a coffee shop.

Luckily, through a lot of flight searching and coordination, my parents put their heads together and found a miracle chain of cheap flights home to Nashville. It turned into a whole ordeal, considering how Nashville was in the middle of a tornado and thunderstorm fest, and I wound up sitting in O'Hare International Airport until past midnight, but all the while I could not stop smiling.

As soon as I felt the somewhat concerning touchdown of the wheels on the runway at BNA, I almost had tears of joy in my eyes. I sprinted down the long corridors of the airport and jumped into my youngest sister's and dad's arms.

The next week consisted of visiting my favorite places in town, long mornings with Mom, and countless walks around the neighborhood with Dad. I didn't even need to go to the beach to get tan, for the first walk I took with my dad I got the sunburn (and tan lines) to last me until summer. Luckily, Georgia and Belmont had the same spring break as South Carolina, so I got to get lunch with a couple of my best friends in downtown Nashville.

Spring break is the only opportunity all spring semester to go anywhere for more than two days, whether it be vacation or home. But why should "going home" not also be "going on vacation?" I am so lucky to call Nashville my home, with so much to do and so many towns around it that I have learned to love and explore. People might say "you live in a vacation city," or "you don't live in a boring place." I was maybe downtown for a total of four-and-a-half hours the entire nine days I was home. I had so much fun this spring break because I spent it with my family, and saw for the first time how much I actually did miss home.

I'll share this funny story: I was in Spanish class a few weeks ago and we were talking about holidays in the United States. My teacher asked me what I did on the Fourth of July, and I said, "yo miro los fuegos artificiales con mi familia" ("I watch fireworks with my family"). It was the most simple answer, but at that exact moment, as ridiculous as it was, it all hit me. Almost every year, I spent Independence Day away from my friends in New Jersey with my family. I loved it all except for the fact that all my friends were posting pictures from parties they would go to at home on the patriotic day. I never realized that 8 months later in a random classroom I would be wishing to be doing that same thing with my family and no one else.

So to bring this back to spring break, I used every single second of it to hang out with my parents and my sisters when they got out of school. I went to lacrosse games to visit my old team and I took so many drives in the sunshine down my favorite backroads, all the windows down even in the high forties. I realized that hanging out with my parents every day was my new favorite thing and that a conversation over avocado toast and tea in the early morning light with my mom was a prescription that I needed badly. To just have a break from school, to not have to worry about drama or essays or speeches to deal with.

Don't get me wrong, going to the beach would have been absolutely amazing — and a perfect idea for my sophomore year spring break. But freshman year, when we are all still new to the whole 'going out' and party scene, spring break is the "ultimate party." It almost felt like I had to go, like some high school pressure combined with fear of missing out. I had to remind myself that that kind of pressure didn't exist unless I made it so in my own head. And once I got past that, I had one of the best, most relaxing breaks ever.

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