I’m writing this after walking out of turn at graduation this May. As an engineering student, I participated in the co-op program for 3 rotating semesters, which contribute to why I’m studying abroad to finish up my degree. Thankfully, the department of chemical and biological engineering offers our Unit Operations Lab abroad, which will be my last class of undergrad. My co-op delayed my timing to study abroad, but provided me with more skills and finances to be able to participate.
After being accepted, I started to plan my trip. I want to make the most of my opportunity abroad, and I am taking the time to travel before and after my program. It took a lot of time and preparation to get this done. To start, I planned out my days and my route to my program destination. Once I had this mapped out, I booked my initial flights. Then, I purchased a rail pass to help save costs on travel within Europe. Eurail has seasonal sales and makes getting train tickets easy, so I watched the sales and made my reservations as I needed them. Once the travel plans were organized, I made a checklist of what all I needed to bring. I decided on a minimalist backpack lifestyle while I’m abroad. I’m copying a link to a very helpful blog post I found which helped me make decisions on packing. Most European budget airlines have a weight capacity for carry on baggage of 10kg (~22 lbs). I have a 40L backpack and a small daypack containing 3 pairs of pants, 4 t-shirts, 3 button down shirts, 5 pairs of compression shorts, 1 pair of sleep shorts, 5 pairs of durable and comfortable socks, travel microfiber towel, travel sheet set, European plug adapter, power strip, TSA approved padlocks, ethernet cable, chromebook/charger, portable power bank, and travel toiletries. It sounds like a lot, but I managed to pack under the weight capacity. Note the padlocks, if you’ll be staying in hostels like I am, they will be useful for locking up on your luggage while you’re out exploring the city (hence the daypack). As for hostels, the app HostelWorld was incredibly useful in picking places to stay. AirBnB also has some good options in certain cities. It took time eliminating unnecessary materials, and practice runs for weight and carrying the bags. Packing cubes are worthwhile investment as they’ll making organizing luggage easier and more space efficient. It was tedious planning packing list and travel plans, but well worth the time and energy.
I’m excited for my trip and my program, but I’ll be anxious until I get on the plane and make my way abroad. I’m looking forward to experiencing new cultures, seeing new countries, and furthering my education experience in Denmark. I’m hoping to just go with the flow and explore in my free time. I’m not fixating on my itinerary aside from my travel plans. I’m hoping to get a better experience by talking with the locals, and seeing all that I can in my time abroad. I’m bringing along a small journal, to make notes of the places I go and the sights I see so that I can reflect on it later. I’m expecting to learn more about each of the countries I visit, on the historical and cultural side. Learning what everyday life is like and making the most of my time. I’m interested to learn the teaching and academic style from my program as well. Like I mentioned, I’m going in as open-minded as possible to make the most of this experience.
Blog for reference: https://thesavvybackpacker.com/backpacking-through-europe-planning/
(Yes this actually all that I’m bringing with me for ~ 7 weeks abroad)