In my opinion, one of the most influential ways to inspire others to travel is to hear success stories of others who have the same obstacles or reservations that you do, yet went out and pursued traveling anyway. I have a friend who recently traveled abroad as part of a one month-long study abroad program offered by her university. In this blog post, I will share some of the questions and answers from our interview.
My name is Lindsey. I’m a 20 year-old college student studying at the University of Arizona, and I went on a one-month study abroad trip to England, Ireland, and France.
Q: How far in advance did you start planning/preparing?
A: I probably started thinking about it about 8 months beforehand; part of that was because we had a weekly class during the semester before the trip, during which time we began our group planning.
Q: Approximately how much did you spend on the trip? Did you have to save up or were you on a scholarship?
A: Since it was a study abroad program, I spent probably around $7000. That included the program itself, airfare, hotel, food, souveniers, an additional personal trip/airfare, etc. Most of it I saved, some I took out a loan for, some my parents helped with, and the rest was covered by a $1500 scholarship.
Q: What 5 things were exceptionally important to pack?
A: Cash! I found I needed that a lot. I’d also say socks; I definitely forgot to bring enough socks, which resulted in my having to buy detergent to wash them. A phone charger and adapter, for obvious reasons. Both passport and ID; both are useful in different settings. Peanut butter; it sounds weird, but I love peanut butter and it is so different over there.
Q: Since it was a study abroad program, you were obviously with other people. What was it like traveling with others? Would you have preferred to travel alone?
A: It was awesome! For the most part, everyone got along, and I really enjoyed doing things with them, especially since it was my first time out of the country. For that trip, I would not have liked to travel alone. I felt much more comfortable and experienced much less culture shock with my friends.
Q: Where did you stay overnight (i.e. hotel, motel, friend’s house, rented house, etc.)?
A: In all 3 places, we stayed in hotels.
Q: How hard was it to figure out transportation?
A: We mostly walked everywhere. We did have some trouble getting from the airport to our hotel, but we eventually found a taxi.
Q: What was the weirdest place or thing you saw?
A: The weirdest thing was that there were no trash cans anywhere in London, yet it was rarely ever trashy! I can just imagine what it would look like if it was that way in America.
Q: What 3 locations/landmarks/tourist attractions would you recommend visiting?
A: Since I went to 3 places, I’ll mention one from each. For England, I’d say Borough Market; it’s only open certain days, but it’s wonderful! For Ireland, definitely visit Blarney Castle. There is also a really good fish and chips place in Dublin that we all loved. For France, I’d recommend eating a picnic dinner on the Seine River at sunset; nothing beats it!
Q: What was the hardest adjustment you had to make?
A: Probably learning what was socially acceptable and what wasn’t was the hardest adjustment; things are very different in those countries! And the fact that we weren’t there for very long didn’t help much either.
Q: If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to travel, what would it be?
A: Make sure you are super prepared before you leave (emergency numbers, bank info, health insurance, money access, etc.) so that you can focus on having a great time and being spontaneous while you are there!
Lindsey’s story is incredible, and what’s amazing is the absolute attainability of it! Literally anyone could do what she did, and with relative ease. If you incorporate some of the expenses earning/saving, the researching, and the planning that are discussed in some of this blog’s other posts, along with Lindsay’s experience and advice, you would likely be one of the most well-prepared travelers.
Here are some of the pictures Lindsey took during her travels:
Please let me know what you thought of this post, and Lindsey’s experience! Happy travels.