We all know that part of studying abroad is the insane amounts of travel we get to do throughout the semester. What we don’t consider is that it is perfectly okay to not travel through every country in Europe. Instead, it is crucial to explore the city and country one is in. This past semester when I got to Pamplona, Spain, I had this urge to travel through every country in the EU and then some. However, as the semester went on I realized there was so much I wanted to do around Pamplona and in Spain. As I made friends over the course of the semester it made me realize that I did not want to travel every weekend and miss out on the memories I could make by staying back with friends. I chose to prioritize Spain and explore the country. It would be sad to come back from a semester abroad and say that I have traveled through every country but Spain. You are living in a country for four to five months so it is important to know it well.
During the semester I planned on taking a week off to travel through a few of the countries. However, my friends were instead going to Barcelona, a city that I had previously visited and loved. So instead of not joining them at all during the trip, I decided to cut a few days off my solo travel and explore Barca with them. It was quite possibly one of the best decisions I made because it turned into a great weekend with friends and lifelong memories. It was the right move to spend more time exploring the city with people instead of only travelling on my own. Going to more places does not mean that you are well traveled. If you are just zooming through each city and not taking the time to enjoy the places you visit then it turns out to be a trip not worth it. I had spent only two days in Vienna, Austria and I felt so rushed because there is so much to do. It was my only two day trip -- the rest of them were a minimum of three days in one city.
Furthermore, it is important to live in the city you inhabit for the semester you’re there. I think one of the biggest mistakes that people make is to not stay and be one with the city, instead they are off travelling every single weekend abroad. At first, I was one of those people who thought that travelling every weekend was the way to go. However, I firmly believe that when I stayed in Pamplona, I made the some of the best memories abroad. I grew to love this beautiful city and know that is where I’ll be going time and time again.
My one advice would be to know that these places you visit will always be there but the memories with the people studying abroad won’t. Your best experiences abroad be those that make you cry (hopefully happy tears), laugh or angry are those best spent with the people going right through it with you. At the end of the day, Norway will always be there but that night bonding on a beach with new friends won't be. So, instead of trying to conquer the entire EU, chill out in the city you’re studying abroad. Only then will you get the quintessential abroad experience!