European Tour: Austria

European Tour: Austria



Welcome to the fourth article in the European Tour series!


As we finished up our interesting experiences in Italy, we took a boat back to the mainland, got back on our buses and drove to our next destination: Innsbruck, Austria!

(Low-key, this is gonna be a short one because I really only have one great and fun memory)

When we first arrived, we payed a visit to the area where the 1964 and 1976 Olympic Winter Games were held, although the only thing we really concentrated on was the ski jump. Regardless, it was still really cool to see even though it was June and there was absolutely no snow.

We got into town and checked into our hotels and we just relaxed the majority of the time. The chaperones gave us options to separate into groups, to go to the amazing pool at the spa or to go somewhere else. Being the practical fish that I am, of course I chose the pool. I would be an idiot not to because I had insane urges to swim the entire trip and I didn't want to not use my swimsuit during the trip.

The pool was SO pretty. It was both indoor and outdoor, and the indoor portion had a separate area with slides and stuff. Now that I think about it, those were probably for little kids, but if you asked us if we cared, the answer would be a definite, and unison, NO.

The indoor portion of the pool was warm and incredibly relaxing. To add to the ambiance, there was this rock structure in the middle that you could just relax on. The outdoor portion was connected by a tunnel that you swim through, with a temperature change to go along with it. It was heated because of the weather, and you had a view of the mountains that you could stare at while you just float and relax.

This particular night was one of my favorites out of all of them. The group of people I was with were so much fun (and oddly enough, a decent chunk of us go to college together). We swam, relaxed, acted like idiots, and had a ton of laughs. We stayed until the pool was closed for the night and all of our prune-y toes and fingers were so worth it. Although, with how long we were in the water, I'm pretty sure most of our bodies resembled a prune altogether. It was nothing but good vibes and smiles; making the near-end of out trip a great one.

We were there for two days that I can remember, but I honestly can't recall anything else that we did while we were there. The only memory that remains with Austria is the slight recollection of the Olympic site and the pool with some great people. There are few specific moments that I would want to relive for this trip, and that one night is definitely one of them. We all got so close and I loved every minute of it.


I know this was a short one, but like I said, I really only care about and remember one (and a half) thing(s).

The next article of the European Tour series will be the "finale", which will include two places in Germany! Stay tuned!

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34 Reasons Why It Is Absolutely Necessary To Study Abroad In Paris

Because sipping champagne near the Eiffel Tower should already be your priority.

People ask why I wanted to study abroad in a place where so many other people go. "Why not be the one that did something different?" Well, I will tell you that I don't need to be a special snowflake, Paris is the only option! Why do you think all those other people didn't choose to study abroad in a smaller, more exotic city and pat themselves on the back for walking off the beaten path? Well I will tell you, its because Paris has an energy life like no place you can ever live in. Who doesn't need to have wine and cheese near the Eiffel Tower? Why wouldn't anyone want to sip coffee on a cafe terrace overlooking the Seine? And who in their right mind doesn't think it is an absolute necessity to spend the day walking while gracing the halls of the Louvre? I mean come on, it's called The City of Lights for a reason! I beg anyone to dispute with me why you SHOULDN'T spend a couple months in your fleeing youth studying abroad in Paris and after looking at my list it should be your number one priority.

1. Paris has a rich history.

You're now getting to visit the same places that you read about in history books. And I bet any French cultural or history classes you take here will not be complete without many, many site visits!

2. The diversity

France is a country that is just as diverse as America with people from various racial and ethic backgrounds. If you're open to talking to many different people, odds are you will walk away with knowledge of numerous other cultures in addition to what you learned about living in France.

3. It's perfectly acceptable to enjoy doing nothing.

Because Parisians are masters of the art of living.

4. Parisians talk quietly.

Seriously, why do American's talk so loudly? I know everything about Melissa from work and your no good ex. An entire season of Game of Thrones could be spoiled if I choose to stand next to the wrong person at the bus stop.

5. Paris is a walkable city.

You can get to many places around the city by foot. And honestly, the city is so gorgeous you're going to enjoy just being able to take in all the sights.

6. Paris has a great metro system.

The subways here are so clean, I actually started to miss the subway rats back in New York City that I started to become so fond of. And the trains arrive too fast. No wonder Parisians never seem to have the look of panic on their faces when they miss the train.

7. People can speak English.

Granted you always say "bonjour" and ask people in French if they can speak English. Many people can and will want to help you.

8. The Seine Is The Best Place To Hang Out

The river gives the city life. When you're going through one of your broke stages, nothing beats grabbing a bottle of wine and just chilling on the Seine with your friends.

9. Cheap, cheap wine

Seriously, you can get a whole bottle a wine for just a few euros! Wine can cost you less than certain brands of water! And let's just say I’m always looking for ways to save money.

10. Hot wine

I had never even heard of hot wine until I saw it being sold on the street one day. But after I my taste buds made acquaintance with that delicious cinnamon flavor, it became my go-to drink for the rest of the winter.

11. Cheese becomes a staple in your diet.

How can a meal ever be complete without cheese ever again?

12. French bakeries are made from our dreams.

When you come back to America with your gut bursting through your clothes, there will be no regrets because your carrying 20 pounds of delicious french pastries in your jelly belly.

13. Croissants

No one will be able to judge you for all the croissants you shove down your throat because they can’t resist them either. And for real though, eat all the croissants you can, because all the "croissants" back home aren't even worthy to rest upon your tongue and you will banish that disgrace to the great nation of France from ever entering your mouth again.

14. Crepes

You can have them as either a snack or a meal and it's hard to resist all the choices.

15. Cafe culture

Nothing says Parisian living quite like spending a few hours sipping coffee at a cafe. Whether you are here with a friend or alone, you most definitely will be engaging in one of the Parisian's favorite cafe games, people watching .

16. La Grande Epicerie

On those days your just craving good old American food, you can grab some at a ridiculous price at La Grande Epicerie

17. Paris Fashion Week

Living in the fashion capital of the world has it's benefits. Even if you aren't lucky enough to get a seat to any events, hanging out outside and watching the celebrities and models arrive with the paparazzi going wild is just as thrilling.

18. You do all your shopping in chic little boutiques.

When you come home, no one will be able to copy your style because everything in your new wardrobe is one of a kind.

19. Parisians are sharp dressers.

You'll NEVER catch a Parisian walking outside looking anything but their best. Do your best not to be that American disgracing the streets in your crinkly ass t-shirt and sweat pants! All this pressure to look good will force you to dress to impress as well.

20. No pressure to wear makeup

As fabulous as French women look, they hardly wear any makeup, so why should you!

21. So many museums to visit

And the best thing about the museums is that you get to visit a lot of them for free because you are a student!

22. Street art

And if museums aren't really your thing, you can get your fill of art just by walking down the streets.

23. The gorgeous parks

The parks here are just simply breathtaking. Some times when I when I was walking through them, I honestly forgot that I was still in a city and just got lost in nature.

24. Day trips to Versailles

Versailles is just an hour train ride outside the city! What kind of person comes to Paris and doesn't want to spend a day gazing at themselves in the Hall of Mirrors?

25. Day trips In France

Paris is just the beginning of your journey. The rest of France is easily accessible by train!

26. Even the libraries are awesome.

We know that you’ll never really study, but when you do, you will do it in places like this.

27. The churches

Whether your religious or not, these churches will captivate your soul.

28. The bars

The bar scene is surprisingly chill here.This may of been the first time you could talk in a bar without screaming in the other person's ear.

29. The snooty little doggies

These dogs are so glamour you are too intimidated to even ask to pet them. They most likely have a trust fund and a 401k.

30. Flea markets

Because one man's trash is another man's treasure.

31. You will become a connoisseur of French films.

When literally everyone you try to watch a French film with tells you they don't understand what the hell is going on, tell them they just aren't avant garde enough to appreciate true cinematography.

32. You'll make some bomb ass friends.

Because you couldn't have made it through your journey alone.

33. Parisians are resilient.

No tragedy will every be mightier than their strength.

34. And because everything else about the city is just indescribable

No matter how hard you try, there is something about the city of Paris that you will never be able to put into words.

Cover Image Credit: Deco

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4 Ways To Be Present While Traveling

The intangible, yet most important, part of traveling.


In the summer of 2017 I left the country for the first time. I spent two weeks on the island of Java in the country of Indonesia, and I fell in love with the new-ness of culture, people, language, and food in a way that I didn't previously believe was possible. I have fallen in love with every place I've visited so far, and each country and city has taught me something different. Each one has taught me to love a new location, to be okay with a new bed (if there is one), and to eat what's given to you (no matter how strange).

Don't get me wrong, I love where I live here in Missouri, I love being in a comfortable home, and I'm a picky eater, but the adrenaline rush of being in complete oblivion of a place unknown to me is so addicting. Since my trip to Indonesia I have also traveled to England, France, and Jordan. All are beautiful in their own way, and I don't have a favorite (please don't ask me to pick). My tips about immersion will all be based on my first trip – to Indonesia. These five tips on how to truly be present in a place you're traveling to are not about things you can buy, or tours you pay for, or even the luxury of places you stay, but instead are focused on the intangible things such as friendships, language, and change of the heart.

1. Stay a while.

No one is asking you to stay forever, but spend enough time in one place that you are able to make a friend. It could be the barista at the coffee shop you go to, or someone at the park, but at least a week is enough time to make this happen. One week will allow you to see the way the local people live, as well as give you time to see all that there is to see in your travel destination.
I stayed for two weeks in Indonesia, and volunteered at an English Center where I made friends that I will have for a lifetime. I was able to go on gelato dates with my new friends, and still have time to see a volcano, go on a float trip, and conquer my fear of heights (kind of) by jumping off of a 35-40 foot cliff into water. Anything is possible to explore if you stay long enough.

2. Find the little things.

This is when knowing local people comes in handy. Your new local friends will suggest the best places to eat, tour, take pictures of, and where the best local coffee shops are. Don't fall into the trap of your own imagination or the trap your own taste buds, step outside of yourself and live like a local.
On the island of Java there is bound to be great coffee (I mean…there has to be, right?) and some of the best coffee I found was actually in my hotel. None of the "chain" coffees came close to the taste of the tiny espresso-sized mugs of coffee I got at the hotel's breakfast.

3. It's not about you.

You're soaking in a new experience, not being your own experience. So many times I see travelers and friends leave the country expecting to change the world with their presence, but they're not letting their presence be changed by the world. When you travel to your next location, look for ways you can be educated about the place you're in, listen to your new friends and strangers, and find every excuse to spend the most time outside of your hotel room.

4. Rest.

You aren't going to remember your trip if your mind isn't rested enough to store more memories. Long flights and travel wear people out very quickly, and your excursions aren't going to be as exciting if you're not awake to remember them. However, if you need to adjust to a large time difference, don't go to bed until 8 pm the first day that you're there. That will allow your body to readjust to the time zone quicker so you'll be more rested for the days ahead.

Wherever you're going, I hope you learn the most you can and that you immerse yourself into a beautiful culture. Even if you don't understand it at first, allow yourself to be open to differences. Stop comparing your destination to "what's back home" and just let yourself be! Travel is meant to be an addition to your cultural portfolio, not a comparison. I hope these tips help you to have a better understanding of how to venture into a new culture. Have a great trip!

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