Summing up what it’s like to live in Europe is next to impossible, but throughout the last few months, there are certain things that are undeniably representative of life abroad. By this time, you’re so accustomed to life in Europe that it genuinely feels like home, and the idea that someone is going to make you leave in a few weeks sounds like a cruel joke. While heading back to life stateside might not sound ideal right now, the memories you’ve made this semester are guaranteed to stay with you for a lifetime. Some big, some small, there are certain moments that define living overseas, and reminiscing over the times that have characterized your life while abroad will swiftly become a favorite pastime.
The moments when you look around and are hit with the wonderful reality that this is your life, that you get to call one of the world’s most beautiful cities your home, even if only for a few short months, are the moments that make studying abroad one of the most absolutely unique, rewarding, and special experiences of your life. In honor of that, we’ve put together a quick collection of our favorite reminiscences of this European fall we’ve been lucky enough to share with you.
Gelato. This one tiny word sums up so much of what we love about life abroad. Il dolce far niente is made that much sweeter when it’s accompanied by a scoop of stracciatella. Plus, if you’ve developed a coppetta-a-day habit similar to ours, you might have a few extra pounds to take home as a tangible reminder of your time abroad. Beautiful.
Walking. Everywhere. To balance out the amount of eating that seems only natural while living abroad, your primary mode of transportation has likely been your own two feet. The amount of walking you do while living in Europe is roughly seventeen times the amount done in America. Whether you find yourself strolling to the metro or bus stop or making your whole journey on foot, traveling the pedestrian way is a blessing in disguise. While it’s easy to moan about the time and effort it takes to get around as compared to hopping behind the wheel, the moments spent strolling the streets have allowed discoveries of places and views you might have never stumbled across otherwise.
Becoming accustomed to jet-setting every weekend. Sure, the “jet” might be more of a bus/train/RyanAir contraption than a luxury aircraft. But that’s not the point. The point is, you reached a point in your life where it’s natural to say “Oh, I can’t make it this weekend, I’m going to Prague.” And, you’ve gained killer experience in sleeping just about anywhere. Overnight bus ride? No problem! Take a quick snooze in the airport in exchange for partying in Paris for the weekend? Sounds like a fair trade.
The moment when you’re hurrying home from class, and you glance up and realize your backyard is made up of some of the most stunning views in the world. A sunset stroll by the Tiber when the light hits the water just right or a jaunt past the Duomo and across the Ponte Vecchio are near-everyday occurrences, yet every so often you’re struck by the realization that you’re actually living in a storied place most people only dream of.
The funny thing about spending a semester in another country is that it seems to go by in a whirlwind of everything happening all at once while also feeling like you’ve spent a lifetime exploring and finding your own special niche in a brand new city, country, and continent. Don’t worry about it ending just yet; instead, just take the last few weeks to absorb every moment and take note of the memories you’re making along the way.