Tag Archives: amsterdam

9 Things No One Tells You About Studying Abroad

As my study abroad experience winds down, and I return to the States in the next two weeks, I’ve reflected on the things that I never expected or considered when I  was preparing for this adventure. Whether you are studying abroad this summer, next semester, or next year, I hope this post imparts some guidance to what no one tells you about studying abroad.

1.  It’s like starting freshman year all over again.

You just don’t get the help of orientation activities, clubs, and common areas to help you meet people. Most people seem to travel abroad with their friends, others, like me, try to be independent and go where I wanted to go. Studying abroad is a privilege, and I am honored that my parent’s let me study abroad, as the costs can prove inhibitive. That’s said, I feel like I have had to completely re-establish myself by finding new friends and meeting people who enjoyed my quirks. Except, I have noticed that when people come abroad with their friends, they aren’t as interested in making friends.

2. There will be times of loneliness.

As I said before, it’s difficult to come alone without a core friend group.  I’ve had my fair share of loneliness watching people have their instant travel and bar-hopping buddies. I got through it, and really had to reach out of my comfort zone. Also, do what you want to do, and don’t wait on others to make it happen.

3. You will miss certain American food items LIKE CRAZY.

Do yourself a favor, and pack yourself some peanut butter. Because if you find it in your respective country, it’s not the same! Once I got here, I was dreaming about goldfish, cookie dough and my favorite version of Special K. Save yourself the trouble, and try and save room for your favorite snacks. You can use the empty space for your souvenir collection.

4. Traveling get’s HELLA expensive, and it’s exhausting.

Euro-tripping sound’s amazing. I thought so at first too. Until I realized how expensive it could be. Flights, hostels, food and museums add up fast. Unless you have been saving up for months and years for these trips or your parents chip in, you might just be staying put. And more people than you think are all about staying in the region too! I also quickly realized that I was exhausted when I was traveling two or three weeks in a row. And then I got sick. Take a little downtime, and make sure that you are living and experiencing the city you chose to study in, and not just using it as home base in between your fantastic weekends.

5. You will spend most of your money on food, transportation, and booze.

Trying new dishes and restaurants- TOTALLY WORTH IT.  However, Keep the alcohol cheap and even, gasp, limit it , because you don’t want to waste all your money on being blacked out. Use those funds to have a memorable experience like renting a scooter for the afternoon or visiting a famous landmark.

6. There is pressure to go out every night, but please, do you!

There are many people here in Barcelona who seem to go out every night. Sometimes, it feels like everyone is going out. Some people can easily live that lifestyle, others need a break. Please feel strong enough to resist the temptation of clubbing 7 nights a week and get a good night’s sleep and your homework done every once in a while.

7. Some classes may be harder than in the U.S, and the indifference about that is too real.

I definitely have less work to do here, but my tests count more toward my grade. And that’s a scary thought, especially when that someone has test anxiety and loves the cushion of several smaller assignments to soak up an average test score. Also, don’t come abroad expecting your GPA to get a good bump, because that’s not going to happen. Just focus on maintenance, because you’re not going to have much time to study between all your traveling and exploring your city.

8You will have FOMO.

Sometimes I get so wrapped up in my friend’s snapchats and Facebook posts at home, I wish I was there with them. You will get FOMO as you see them all together on Spring Break just goofing around, wondering what would happen if you’re there. But. Please don’t let this FOMO stop you because you are having the experience of a lifetime as cliche as it sounds. Check in with them occasionally, but don’t let their actions make you homesick.

9. Hola

No, I’m not saying hello! It’s a chrome add-on that makes it look like you’re browsing in the US, and makes it easy for you to watch Netflix. Because, even abroad, you’re not going to stop binge watching. It’s the best form of me-time out there!

But all in all, you will have the time of your life, experience self-growth and immerse yourself in a totally new country.  As cliche as it is, you will have the experience of a lifetime. I’m so excited for you to start this amazing journey in your life! 

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I Survived Spring Break 2015

So, If I decided to write a post about my spring break, it would probably take as long as my vacation to write it. And let me tell you, this “break” was no vacation but a marathon of traveling. Let me paint a picture: 6 countries in 11 days. That old adage there is no sleep for the weary or wicked is true. There is no sleep (or rest) for the student traveler. Nevermind, that wherever I went, the rain came too.

That said, my immune system suffered dearly.

So, I have decided to sum my experience up for you with two photos from each city.

Prague, Czech Republic 

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Swans by the Famous Charles Bridge
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Yes, these two men are peeing fountains. And the water is 100% drinkable. Bonus: This display is next to the Franz Kafka Museum

Highlight: Easter Market in Old Town and Public Works of “Art”

Berlin, Germany

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Constant construction and regrowth in Berlin
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Between the Berlin Wall. East Side and the West Side

Highlight: The Holocaust Memorial almost brought me to tears, and the Doner Kebab

Amsterdam, Holland

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Bikes, Canals, and Narrow homes!
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What’s a trip to Amsterdam without a pose with the “D”! IAMSTERDAM

Highlight: Van Gogh Museum, the Heinken Experience Canal Cruise, The Atmosphere and STROOPWAFEL

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So pretty!

Brussels, Belgium

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Europe has a fascination with peeing boys.

Highlight: With only three short hours, it would have to be the strawberry and banana waffle with warm chocolate drizzled over it. It was devoured before I remembered to take a photo.

Paris, France

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CHEERS TO PARIS
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Versailles

Highlight: I return to the city of lights! Loved the Musee d’Orsay- filled with impressionist masterpieces by Claude Monet and spectacular sculptures, Versailles, and of course, the Macaroons from Laduree!

So what was my favorite city? It’s a toss up. But, I would have to say Amsterdam because it is like nothing I have ever seen before. It’s like an adult fantasyland with idyllic homes and calming canals while all sorts of debauchery and fun are encouraged. Where else in the world can you hit up a coffee shop then indulge in the secrets of the red light district? No where.

But please, I wish Spring Break 2015 never came to an end. It was long and short at the same time. An exhausting whirlwind of new experiences. I loved every minute of it!

Now, I have returned to the grind, with finals week and my return home rapidly approaching the horizon. Oh my!

*All photos were taken by me!