Studying abroad feels like a dream, and not just because you're spending four or five months in another country. Yes, eating gelato on your way to class and skipping over to a new city every weekend is a sweet version of reality. But, what makes the experience seem particularly out-of-this world is that you'll be home in the blink of an eye. You'll land at the airport after having the greatest adventure of all time, and feel like you just woke up from a nap. (Seriously, it's
so weird and goes by too fast.) So, there are some things you need to do while studying abroad that should beat everything else on your bucket list.
There's no time to be bored in a world as beautiful as this, and you're going to learn that fact first-hand. From the minute you touch down in London Town, or take a bite of that very first panini in Florence — well, you'll never want to leave. You'll spend some time early on in the semester figuring out the weekend trips you want to take and planning little excursions. The hike in the cliff sides, paragliding in the Swiss Alps, or climbing the bridge in Sydney are all on your mind. Where do you even start?
Let me tell you: You'll become a pro at carrying that weekender bag to the train station, and somehow check mostly everything off your bucket list. Just make sure you do these eight things first.
Pose With A Landmark In Your City
Girl, clear your camera roll, because you're about to fill it with
pictures from being abroad. You plan on taking a snap of every panini or plate of food. You'll even pack a waterproof case for your phone so that you can get some sweet pictures in the Mediterranean Sea. The one thing you can't miss out on, though, is posing with the famous landmark in your city.
If you're studying abroad in Florence, you'll likely pass by the Duomo every day. Being in London will call for at least one photo of Big Ben. At the end of the semester when you're asking yourself, "Did that actually happen?" the answer is yes, and you have the pictures to prove it!
Hop On A Boat For A Day
During these four or five months, you're going to be on all sorts of transportation. You'll hop on planes, trains, and snag a seat in a taxi when it starts pouring on your way to school. But in between the Vespas and other automobiles, you should also make some time to float on a boat — even if it's just for the day.
Truth is, there's so much to explore beyond the streets and sidewalks. You could take a boat cruise to the islands just off the coast of Croatia, or ride down the river that runs right through Amsterdam. Getting out on the water will give you an entirely new perspective on the place you call "home," and is seriously a must-do.
Go To At Least One Famous Museum
To some, going to a museum may seem a little boring, but it's a must-do during your semester abroad. You'll most likely be based in a city that's so rich in art, history, and culture. Everywhere you look, there will be a white marble statue or painting that dates back thousands of years.
At first, you may walk by it and not think twice. (After all, there's a coffee shop you've been dying to try around the corner!) You may even dodge the areas with the famous museums, because they tend to be packed with tourists. One day, stop and grab a ticket, or look a little bit longer, though. It'll make you appreciate your city so much more.
Find An Amazing Restaurant Off The Beaten Path
Studying abroad involves a whole lot of eating incredible food. It's finding your favorite restaurants on the other side of the river, and making a pact with your best friends that you'll stop at every gelato shop you pass. You'll befriend the man who owns the sandwich shop downstairs, and maybe try snails for the first time. (Yes, this is definitely what you'll miss the most when you inevitably have to go home.)
The challenge is always to find an amazing restaurant off the beaten path — a place that's filled with locals instead of tourists. They're typically run by a family that's so passionate about its recipes that have been passed down through the generations. If your family comes to visit, this is surely where you'll go.
Watch A Sunset With Your Study Abroad Friends
Watching a sunset with your study abroad friends is an easy way to make some epic memories. You'll hike up to the spot in your city where you can see the entire skyline, and maybe bring a bottle of wine. Together, you've already taken all kinds of trips, and you'll bring up your favorite stories along the way. There are
some things only they'll understand going forward. They've truly made this experience one-of-a-kind.
Speaking from experience: Do this bucket list item on the last day in your city, when you're feeling particularly sentimental and in love with where you are.
The markets you'll find during your semester abroad will make every mall back home seem bleak. Granted, you won't find your favorite brands, but that's the best part! You'll walk through rows of fine leather goods, and might even purchase a pair of handmade sandals. Not to mention, you may find a cute bracelet or ring that you'll wear every single day. (Trust me on that one.)
By the end of the shopping trips,
you'll need another suitcase. After class, you'll run back and get pick up some vintage postcards for your best friends and siblings. Another bucket list item is in the books. 07
Stay In Your City For A Couple Of Weekends
When you're studying abroad, take a weekend or two to stay in your own city. You're going to be packing up your suitcase and hitting the road to other countries. It's easy to forget about all of the incredible things there are to see right where you are. You picked this place for a reason, after all.
Maybe you wanted to study art where there are a lot of famous museums, or go to the country where your family is from. Be a tourist and scope out the landmarks you pass by every day. It's going to become normal to you, but it's really not something that happens on the reg. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and it flies by. Make the most of it, OK?