I have always loved to travel, or maybe the idea of it, since I have only left the United States on family vacations twice. After this semester of exploring the best of Europe, I can now classify myself as a travel junkie. It’s possible I may be addicted to traveling for the rest of my life.
It has been one of my favorite parts of studying abroad, each place offering something new, exciting, and different. By the end of this semester, I will have been to eleven countries and twenty-four cities, all in a fourth month span! Italy, Switzerland, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Spain, England, Ireland, the Czech Republic, Croatia, and Monaco.
One of my favorite trips was to Interlaken, Switzerland. My friends and I arrived late Thursday night, and stayed in a homey, lodge-like hostel that made us really feel like we were in the Alps. We woke up on Friday to go out and explore the town! It was absolutely beautiful. We took a bus ride to a lake where there were swans swimming and breath taking mountains in the background. We came back to the town center, and decided we all needed to buy some winter socks and Swiss chocolate.
The most exciting part of my abroad experience happened the next day. It was the day before my 21st birthday, and that morning my friends and I decided to go canyon jumping. We really did not look closely into the details of this activity. We were picked up by a van that took us 45 minutes up a mountain. We got out and continued on about a 10 minute hike further into the snowy Alps. Soon, we arrived at the site of our jump! The ledge was daunting and we all were reconsidered our activity choice for the day for a few minutes. As our instructor went over some things and got us suited up in harnesses, we all began to realize that we were actually about to do this.
Each of us would be attached to an 85 meter (almost 300 feet!) long rope with a harness at the chest and waist. The instructor explained that we would jump, free fall, and then swing at high speed through the narrow glacial canyon, while “experiencing fabulous cliff visuals,” if you don’t close your eyes! The free fall only lasts 4 seconds, and then you will swing in the canyon above a river. It took a lot of courage, but one by one we all canyon jumped! It was such an awesome experience and by far the craziest thing I have ever done and probably ever will do. I’m so proud of all my friends for doing it, and we created an incredible bond sharing this experience together.
That day and the trip to Switzerland is something I will never forget. We all went out of our comfort zones and tried something daring and exciting, all while in beautiful Interlaken. The trip, especially because of the canyon jumping, became a highlight of our abroad experience. While abroad, you will be often challenged to go outside your comfort zone, but it allows us to grow and learn more about ourselves and one another.
Haley Bryan is the CEA MOJO in Rome, Italy. She is currently a junior at Providence College.
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