I’m not going to lie, the first few days were tough. I was homesick, I missed my friends, I missed Chapel Hill, and I was terrified. What if I didn’t make any friends who wanted to travel with me? What if I forgot to pack something that was super important? What if, what if, what if was all that ran through my mind. But eventually I did make friends and I didn’t forget anything crucial and after I got settled in I felt okay. I definitely found comfort in talking to my sorority sisters, especially my fam. They always gave me so much encouragement when I was homesick and always listened to my never-ending stories about my adventures even though I’m sure they got tired of hearing about them.
Classes were fine and pretty easy, but I’m not going to talk about classes in this post because nobody really wants to hear about that. Traveling was by far the best part of my time abroad. Traveling within Europe is cheap, like REALLY CHEAP. I never paid more than $100 (roughly £66) for a round trip flight, and hostels were so cheap and pretty nice. When traveling is that cheap I’m not really sure why you wouldn’t take random weekend trips to wherever you wanted to go. I ended up getting to go to Edinburgh, Rome, and Amsterdam. Each one of these places was so different from the others that I could write pages and pages about my experiences, but I’ll try to capture my trips in small little blurbs so that I keep it brief.
Edinburgh: This is, in my opinion, one of the most underrated cities in the world. It is the perfect mixture of historic and modern. While in Edinburgh I climbed up to Arthur’s Seat (supposedly the location of Camelot), toured Edinburgh Castle, and had brunch at the Elephant House Café where J.K. Rowling started writing the Harry Potter books. I walked the Royal Mile about six times a day and loved every second of it.
- Jumping out of your comfort zone is something you need to do. I don’t mean just taking a small step out so that you can hop back in when things get scary. I mean taking a leap so great that you are forced to adapt and face some fears.
- TripAdivisor is your BFF. When you go to a new place and don’t really know what it has to offer, hit up TripAdvisor and it will save you from so much stress.
- Another one of your BFFs is public transportation. It’s cheap, it’s convenient, and it’s not as scary or intimidating as it seems. I’m pretty much a public transportation professional now.
- Travel is an addiction. Once you start, you’ll never want to stop (the brain says “YAY TRAVEL let’s do super cool things,” but the bank account says “let’s hold off on that for a little bit”).
- Your family (your biological family and the family you choose, a.k.a. your best friends) is one of your greatest sources of encouragement. These people are one of the greatest blessings in my life and I’m not exactly sure how I would have gotten through some days without them.
- The world is pretty cool sometimes. It just is.
- God pretty much rocks. Like seriously. There were somedays when I questioned why I decided to spend three months completely out of my comfort zone, but God always reminded me.