15.3.11

Vacationing while abroad: what it is and what it isn't

You think study abroad is a vacation!? NO! That's your school time people. Vacationing is exploring the even bigger parts that encompass your host city and country. Here are some what is is and what it isn't when it comes to travel and leisure during break times in study abroad.

WHAT IT IS:
  • Enjoying things you love, like the theatre! I saw Billy Elliot in a great half-price seat from TKTS in Leicester Square (worth trekking down there by 10am!)
  • Meeting new people no matter how young or old! 
  • Cultural learning and growth! You can learn so much about a country once you've actually visited. It's strange to see how my perceptions of London and Oslo have differed.
  • An opportunity for self-growth. I grew up shy. There are a number of things that up until just a year ago and on through my study abroad arrival I would never think of doing alone. That barrier has gone by the wind. I've done so many things by myself--and enjoyed the experience that although it's fun with more, being a party of one shouldn't spoil your fun. Here are activites that once scared me but I have since done alone (and had fun!):
     Applying and attending a college in a city I've never been, located an 8 hour plane ride from 'home'  challenging of course, but obviously I'm making it through!
     Going to the movies (Toy Story 3 a couple months before going abroad): no big deal and I still cried.
     Traveling to a foreign country: Germany for study abroad! changing my life every second.
     Traveling to a foreign country w/o knowing the language: Belgium! scary but soooo worth it!
     Seeing a musical: Billy Elliot in a top-notch seat for half-price. not having a theatre buddy every time won't stop me from seeing the finest plays and musicals around. This list will grow, trust me!     

WHAT IS ISN'T AINT:
  • An excuse to take a month-long off learning your host country's language! Bring a short book or class journal with you to keep yourself acquainted. 
  • Putting off finances because you only live once. Sure it's true but be responsible! Make a budget, stick to it, and enjoy the rest of you study abroad learning (you know, when break is...OVER?) financial worry free!
  •  Testing your alcohol limits in a new land. It saddens me that many people spend their vacations getting drunk wherever they go (mostly 19-23). I traveled alone this break so I chose not to drink but it can ruin the fun if all you looking for is a drug to make you forget. 
  • Trying out a new accent. Have you always had that British, Scottish, etc. accent or are did you swallow the crazy pill today? Some people really can't help it. They get to a new country and start automatically pulling the fake accents. Stop it.  
  • Just another stamp on your passport. Don't stop your interest at the airport and spend the day in your hostel. Soak up the museums, cuisine and people of your travel destination.

Have another idea for a what it is  and what it aint post? Send a link to your blog post or e-mail me your list (propermood@gmail.com) and I'll feature yours on the site! 

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