Studying abroad is the surest way to catch the travel bug. Unfortunately it is normally before you have enough money to afford such a sickness! Thankfully, my major requires at least 2 semesters abroad, so I’ve gathered quite a bit of information on the best way to get the most of your time abroad.
1. Talk to as many people as possible who have already been there. They can tell you the best (and worst) places to eat, sleep, and party.
2. Make sure you eat all the local food. Ask the locals about their favorite places. I guarantee its better than what any guidebook has to say.
3. Read reviews before you stay anywhere. And always rent the cabin on a “cruise ship”. 20 euro is so worth not getting bed bugs!
4. Ask everyone (locals and friends who have visited) their favorite places to party. Pub crawls are the best way to check out the hottest night clubs and meet really interesting people from all over the world.
5. Take tons of pictures, but be sure to actually be in the moment. If you get too caught up in remembering it, you will forget to focus on what it is like when you’re actually there!
6. Get lost. Wandering allows you to find things you never would have thought of looking for. It’s an adventure that you don’t have to plan for at all!
7. Take risks! Do all the things you have always been too afraid to do. Whether it is skydiving, paragliding, canyoning, skiing, or just trying crazy foods! The rush will make your trips even more memorable.
8. Look for all the cheapest options possible, and make some plans. Or let someone else do it for you. Many cities have groups that arrange trips for American students, such as Florence for Fun in Italy, so there is usually a group discount and a chance to make new friends.
9. Do anything and everything that is free. New Europe is a company that gives tours working only on tips, which is the cheapest you will find. Get a little bit of history and I’m sure the tour guides can tell you the most interesting places to hang in the city. And its a great plan for a future job if you can’t get over the travel bug by the time you graduate!
10. Most importantly, meet as many people as possible. Networking is the way to go in today’s job market, and the most people you know, all of the world, the more likely you are to get a nice travel job, or at least a free place to stay.
These are my top ways to get the most out of your study abroad experience. And if that one semester isn’t quite enough to fulfill your cravings, pick a major that requires more : )