And so, I begin my final post with a quote; “Courage is grace under pressure.” -Ernest Hemingway.
My last day in London was spent exploring the final bits I had wanted to see. As I try to stuff all of my souvenirs into a broken suitcase, it hits me: I just finished two months of school in two different countries. The person I was when I landed in Madrid is not the same as the girl leaving London. I have had the time of my life and I wouldn’t trade it for the world! It was a completely new experience for me to live on my own in a country that didn’t speak my language. It was nice to then go to an English speaking country with other Drexel students to interact with. In my last post, “Battle of the Dual-City Program”, I mentioned all differences between Madrid and London (so check that out if you haven’t already). But with this post I kinda just wanted to say my goodbyes to Europe and the friends that I’ve made here. It’s crazy to think that I’ll be home soon and life will resume. It feels like I was living in a dream but now I can hear my alarm trying to wake me up. I’ve learned a lot over the past 2 months. Friendships have been tested as well as my culinary skills (which I cannot say I’ve mastered). I’ve learned to be independent. When I walk down the streets, I don’t feel like a college kid, I feel like a grown up. I feel like maybe I can do this adulting thing. Or is the fact that I just called being an adult “adulting” a sign that I am not ready to grow up? Either way, I know that when I get back to the states, I’ll have a lot of nostalgia and a lot of debt. After the last day of the London program I will be traveling for a week and then heading home so maybe I shouldn’t say goodbye too quickly.
*Quick shout out to all the amazing friends I made abroad and a huge thank you to these girls for keeping me sane through all of this!*
Instead of a goodbye, I’m going to do my final Do’s & Don’ts for studying abroad!
Do try something new!
Food is always a great place to start but don’t just say no to something because you don’t know what it is. Find out more about it and maybe give it a go!
Don’t buy everything you see.
Go for the small souvenirs. It’ll save you a lot of money at the store and the airport.
Do pack lightly.
There are tons of packing lists online that’ll help you!
I mean it. Do NOT pack more than what you need. It is so annoying to lug around heavy suitcases because I have unfortunately found out that a lot of places in Europe do not have elevators! You will regret it and you’ll end up not wearing half the clothes you bring. I think i mention this in every post and that’s because I overpacked and then bought more clothes so basically don’t be high-maintenance and indecisive like me.
Do explore on your own.
If everyone is sleeping in on a Sunday morning but you want to head to the markets, go! You don’t always have to bring a friend and trust me, sometimes it’s nice to do your own thing and not care about what someone else’s opinion.
Don’t forget to eat your fruits and vegetables.
Taking care of your health while abroad is super important! You don’t want to fall sick and miss out on all the fun you could be having. Unless you’re trying to pull a Lizzie Mcguire.
Do look up the fashion trends of the country you’ll be staying in.
Some countries prefer to dress up in colors while others dress down in dark colors so don’t forget to see what the trends are and embrace the culture!
Don’t forget to spend wisely.
I wouldn’t keep to a strict budget because some things are worth paying a little extra for. But just keep in mind how much you’re spending and if there is a cheaper way to do it. Pinterest and blogs have some great tips!
Do have an open mind.
You’re not going to like everything about the place you’re going but just be open to it and respectful. If it goes against your morals don’t do it. But don’t disrespect another culture just because it doesn’t match your own.
Don’t forget to call home.
Let your parents know you’re okay! Send a picture or a text just letting friends and family know what you’re up to and make them jealous with all the cool stuff you’re doing while they’re stuck at home.
Do be respectful to everyone you meet.
You represent America when you go abroad and not everyone in Europe likes Americans. So be kind, be respectful, and follow the rules. You’re in their land now.
Don’t be a naive tourist.
Be smart about your belongings. Don’t leave your wallet at the top of your bag and always lock up your valuables in a safe place. Things do get stolen so just keep an eye out and watch your surroundings.
Do whatever makes you happy because this is your life!
I hope you get to study abroad because I can’t imagine my life with this experience! I want to thank Drexel for the amazing programs they set up and my parents for funding this trip and paying for a lot of stupid mistakes. You live, you learn, you grow and that is exactly what I did. So, if you’re on the fence about going abroad, reach out to me or anyone you know who has gone abroad and ask “Was it worth it,”. You get a lengthy answer but you can hear the passion in the voice. Or maybe that’s just me. Thank you so much for reading my blogs!
“Of all the books in the world, the best stories are found between the pages of a passport” -unknown