By Rachel Erdenberger
Five months, 11 countries, 22 cities and innumerable amounts of new friends later, I’m back from the amazing and unbelievable life that I had just a few months ago when I studied at The University of Economics in Prague, Czech Republic. I was also able to experience a nine-day road trip across five European countries and six of their major cities. I’ve learned so much from the many cities I got to know better thanks to the amazing tours and excursions provided by my study abroad program, International Studies Abroad, an organization that helps students plan their travels.
One of my favorite memories centers on my excursion in Vienna, Austria. I was walking in one of the many picturesque squares in Vienna with all of my new friends, exploring the beautiful Christmas Markets. We ate homemade soup in large, freshly baked bread bowls, drank delicious hot punch out of custom made Christmas mugs and feasted on European Christmas cookies of all shapes and sizes. It was an amazing, once in a lifetime experience that I will never forget.
I wouldn’t change a thing. As a matter of fact, I would do it again in a heartbeat. I would do anything to see the gorgeous views from my speed train as I traveled through the rolling hills filled with vineyards in Northern Italy again. To smell the freshly baked pastries from the many Patisseries that are spilled all over the streets of France or feel the crisp blue water of the Adriatic Sea as I jumped in from a pearl-white stone cliff.
Another highlight of my trip was having the ability to explore something new each day. You explore something new in not only the cities that you visit, but within yourself as well. Studying abroad in Prague was one of the best decisions of my life, and I’m grateful I was able to see so many amazing things. I have visited bone churches, old castles, beautiful clock towers and old markets all over Czech Republic and have gotten to know the city like the back of my hand.
During my trip, I learned many things that I am happy to share to let others who plan on studying abroad know what to expect. As an experienced traveler, I can confidently say it is extremely important to find a good program in which to go abroad, as this will be the basis of your trip. I went abroad with ISA because they offer many excursions already included in my tuition and room and board fees. They have amazing reviews and a great staff.
Also, it is important to pick a study abroad destination that will take you out of your comfort zone, because this will help you get the most out of your experience. If you fear getting homesick, just remember that your time abroad is limited, and you should enjoy it as much as you can. You should utilize sites like RyanAir.com for your flights if you are studying abroad in Europe, because you can find flights for as little as $20. My final tip is to always remember to just got for it!
I say go for it, because you have to do as much as you can. Go for a study abroad trip. Go for that weekend trip to a nearby city. Go for that foreign meal that you have never tried. You won’t regret any of it. As a matter of fact, you will love every moment of it.
No matter where it is you want to go in the world, now is the time to do it. The world is an open book, it’s just your decision where you want the next page to take you. Whether it’s Buenos Aires or Shanghai, your options are infinite.