The EC 309 class that I took during my 3-week trip to Europe was the least of the lessons that I am taking into my future. That’s not to understate the terrific teaching of Dr. Lee and Dr. Arcabic, but this was also my first trip out of the country. Understandably, I learned a lot about traveling and different cultures. Here are some recommendations, observations, and fun facts for anyone else who might be in the same position as me.
- Cherish air conditioning, dryers, and free water while you have it. Some things that are commonplace in America aren’t everywhere else. Depending on your accommodations, you might rely on fans and windows to cool the air. You will probably have to air dry clothes at some point. And you won’t find any water fountains or complementary water cups when dining.
- Understand the power of the American dollar. One wonderful aspect of Croatia was how affordable the items I would be purchasing were. Bottles of water and bags of chips (Chipi Chips Paprika were my favorite) often ran below $1, and a fancy dinner would be a maximum of ~$35. However, when travelling to Euro countries, prices approached or exceeded those that we are used to at home.
- Pack lots of the essentials. I’ll be honest here: you will re-wear shirts and pants on trips like mine. But you don’t want to re-wear undergarments and socks. So, pack lots of those.
- Get to know the people on your trip! Hopefully, these people will become your best friends over this time. So, make sure you are open making new friends and sharing your stories!
- Your flights will work out. I had never been on a delayed flight until I got on my international overnight out of the US. I was panicking when I figured out that I would miss my connection in Europe, but after a chat with a flight attendant, she assured me that it would be worked it out in the morning. I watched a movie, slept, and when I woke up and visited the airline app, I had already been placed on a later flight! Airline representatives meet all passengers at the gate with new boarding passes and vouchers for food. I even got a seat upgrade on my next flight thanks to this! What a relief.
Hopefully these observations can help you if you’re embarking on a similar journey. I know I’ll read them over before I leave the country again!