Being able to travel outside of our host city is a huge part of the study abroad experience. Did I always know what I was doing when I was trying to navigate these cities? Nope. While the saying goes, "you live and you learn," it rings true for me, another saying goes "learn from other's mistakes." Here are some tips to do before departure to consider while traveling abroad.
Research the top 5 places to go in that city
Some places that you are going into may have limited visitation hours due to the off season, holidays, and weather conditions which should be considered.
|The Eiffel Tower|
Find out the things you "need to try"
Each place has specialty things that are arguably as important as seeing the top sites.
|Belgium Fries: served the way a local recommended|
Learn a few key phrases in the native language
Here are the phrases to know: hello, thank you, please, can I have (insert food) , I do not speak [insert language]. This will help things run smoother and also allow you to be more polite.
Consider a town that isn't a big city
As fun as it is to visit the places that are a big black dot on the map, it is always good to look for hidden treasures. You may be able to get more of an authentic experience and see something totally unique.
|Cochem, Germany: an adorable small town beneath a grand castle|
Find a place near the center of town
It is best to find a place close to the center of town walking distance from the main things. The reality is the distance will factor in whether you will be willing to go there. Trains and Ubers are an option, but the less expensive way to do it is to walk.
Spend some time on google maps
Continuing on from the last tip, it is a good idea to research where the place you are staying and your top places are in relation to one another. That way while walking to one place, you will not pass a place while walking to another.
|Saint Dustan's Church in the East: A place in London was a good distance away from where we were staying|
Keep an open and flexible mind
Having some sort of plan is never a bad idea, but the ability to shrug your shoulders and move on when things don't go smoothly is even more valuable. You may not be able to go to every place. In addition, do not be afraid to take a detour down a street or to restaurant that catches your eye, you may just find another hidden treasure.
|A little cafe found while on the way to Montmartre in Paris|
Gaby G. is the Spring 2017 MOJO Blogger in the French Riviera, France. She is currently a Sophomore studying Communications at Vanguard University.
Gabriella Gebo is the Spring 2017 CEA MOJO Blogger in French Riviera, France (Sophia Antipolis) in French Riviera, France (Sophia Antipolis), and is currently studying at Vanguard University.