Ibn Battutae once said, “Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” Then all my family and friends said, “Yes, we’ve already this story. Please stop talking about Europe for two seconds.” But forget the haters! Travelling is great! One of the many benefits of studying abroad is the ease with which you are able to see so much of the rest of the world. I’ve been lucky enough to travel to some amazing places this semester and I would like to share some of the knowledge I’ve gained along the way with you, mostly because my loved ones won’t listen to me talk about it anymore…
Connect with Friends
In Germany, I stayed with a girl who had studied abroad at my high school. In Scotland, I hung out with a friend of a friend. Meeting up with people who live in the countries you are visiting is like getting a personal tour guide and someone to enjoy your experiences with all in one! These people know their city and can show you around all the local spots that the internet may not yet know exist and if you’re lucky enough, they may even let you sleep on their couch.
Do Your Research, But Allow for Improvisation
Before I went on any trip I would do some pretty in-depth research, and by “in-depth research” I mean googling, “What to do in ‘X City’” and reading the occasional Buzzfeed article of “12 Burgers of ‘X City’ That Will Change the Way You See the World”. These lists did provide a helpful idea of what to expect and I definitely used the destinations as an itinerary outline, but some of my favorite parts of the cities I travelled to were the parts I found just by wandering down a street that looked interesting. Don’t pack your day so full of tourist spots that you don’t leave any time for random exploration.
Explore Your Own Country
Casually stumbled upon the most beautiful building in Scotland.
There is so much to see and do in London, you could easily fill your whole semester exploring the city. But London is just a small sampling of what England has to offer. I’ve been able to visit Stonehenge, Bath, Cambridge, and Dover so far in England and although these destinations are a mere bus ride away, they seem like a different world altogether. By getting out of your home city you can gain a new perspective on the country you are studying in.
Take a Break
Found these guys just outside of London! Can ewe believe it?
Travelling is wonderful, but exhausting. Make sure to take a weekend off every once in a while and appreciate your own city. There is a lot of stress involved with buses, airports and new places. A break every once in a while can do wonders and ensures that you have the energy to truly appreciate every city you are able to travel to.
I guess London is fun too...
If you get the chance to travel, DO IT. Studying abroad is such a wonderful opportunity to see the world and I believe it is important to see as much of it as possible while you can, if for no other reason than to keep your Instagram game as strong as possible.