While mindlessly perusing my Facebook newsfeed this week, I actually came across an article that was really cool! It's the top 50 study abroad programs according to Best College Reviews, and my school got #5! All you FUS grads, feel proud!
I attended a small Catholic school called Franciscan University of Steubenville, and in 2006 I had the opportunity to participate in their amazing study abroad program to Gaming, Austria.
|Home Sweet Home|
Gaming is super special because it's quiet, nestled in the Austrian alps, and the students actually live in a renovated 14th century monastery. There is a Hapsburg ancestor buried right under the marble church floor!
|Right under there!|
|Sacre Coeur, Paris|
|Salzburg at night|
|Our Lady of Czestochowa, Poland|
The school also includes one ten day trip to Assisi and Rome, complete with accommodations and tours.
And, another ten day break we got to plan all on our own. I traveled to England, Ireland, and Scotland.
|Cliffs of Moher, Ireland.|
Here are my top five tips for traveling while studying abroad.
1. Leave room for spontaneity: By all means, make sure you know how you're getting to your destination (i.e. train, bus, plane) and I always did make reservations for hotels and hostels, but don't plan out every single second of your trip. Leave time to watch the street performers, discover random eateries/pubs, and maybe even make a few friends.
|Make some friends: We met some Irish cows|
|Be spontaneous: get your ears pierced in Paris!|
|I happened to get along just swell with my traveling buddy :)|
3. Bring good walking shoes: I had lots of people tell me that Europeans look down on Americans when they wear gym sneakers or tennis sneakers, but you're going to be doing a lot of walking! I wore a pair of Italian leather high heeled boots one night, and I was literally crying while trying to get home at 2 a.m. (you stay up late there! There's a lot to see!). Also in Rome, I lost a kitten heel in a sewer cover while crossing a street (my friend and I rescued it, don't worry). For the most part though, I wore a comfy pair of Puma sneakers or Sauconeys You can also only fit so many things in your backpack. Personally, I'd rather be comfortable, see as much as possible, and let the Europeans laugh at my attire than wear shoes that would fall apart.
4. Take pictures and keep a journal: I was really good at the picture taking part, but a little wishy washy on my journal. There are a lot of things I wish I could remember more details about. With taking pictures though, make sure you're taking time to enjoy the sites without always being behind the lens.
5. Eat lots of chocolate: This should be pretty self explanatory. You might gain the study abroad program 20, but you'll enjoy every calorie. If I had to do it over again... maybe I wouldn't have eaten that giant, jumbo Milka bar over finals week... but probably not :)
Do you have any travel tips? Did you get to study abroad? What was your favorite place? I'd love to hear, so please share in the comments!
*The only people that may understand how this is "short" will be those who have also gone to Gaming.
*All photos were taken with an ancient Nikon point and shoot that was only 4 megapixels (remember they used to make them that low!?). I would have loved a DSLR, however, with how much I was traveling and lack of security, I probably would have found it cumbersome.