By Rachel Bergan
This past semester (spring 2012) I studied abroad in Florence, Italy, and it was the most amazing experience of my life. Everything from the food to the culture to the traveling contributed to an exciting, eye opening, and life changing experience. I encourage, no insist, that everybody study abroad at some point while in college. Whether you do a year, a semester, or a summer break, it is a once in a lifetime opportunity that will change your life. Never in my life did I ever imagine that in less than four months I could make it to over 20 cities in five different countries, and I am so grateful that studying abroad gave me that opportunity.
Traveling was definitely what I enjoyed the most about my study abroad experience. Due to the large amounts of students that study abroad each semester, there are many tour groups that offer student travel to top destinations around Europe. These tour groups are becoming more and more prominent in popular cities like Florence, Rome, Barcelona, and London. While there are popular tour groups in many European cities, the one that I have found to be the best is Bus2Alps. I traveled nearly every weekend when I studied in Florence, and after taking multiple trips with Bus2Alps, they proved to me why they are the superior student travel company in Europe for several important factors.
What you get for your money: While the initial cost of booking with Bus2Alps looks higher than the cost of booking with competitor companies, you end up saving money when traveling with them. On the trips that I took with Bus2Alps, breakfast is included in the booking price almost every time, and usually a dinner is included as well. The cost of additional transportation (such as ferry rides, train rides, etc.) as well as a tour and/or activity is also included in the booking cost. While the initial cost of competitor companies looks to be less, there are lots of hidden costs included in the trips. When traveling with Bus2Alps, I felt like I got what I paid for on every single trip.
The trip leaders: Many people that I know choose to take trips with companies like Bus2Alps because of the ease that traveling throughout Europe becomes. Much of this ease is due to the amazing trip leaders. They have all studied abroad, are knowledgeable on the destinations, and are 110% dedicated to showing you a great time throughout the duration of your trip. The trip leaders have amazing knowledge on the best sites to see, restaurants to eat at, and bars and clubs to party at each night. The leaders are enthusiastic, readily available and helpful, and always want to be involved in showing you a good time. Rather than sending you off on your own, they want to join in on the fun with you and help make your experience trip that much more memorable. Each and every member of the Bus2Alps team wants to make sure that not only each trip you take is memorable, but that your entire study abroad experience is.
Travel Destinations: Throughout the time that I studied abroad, I traveled nearly every weekend. I took multiple trips with Bus2Alps throughout the semester. For my Spring Break, I traveled with them on a Greece island hopping adventure to Corfu, Athens, and Santorini, where I was able to do everything from cliff jump into the Mediterranean Sea, climb to the top of the Acropolis, and admire the beautiful sunsets in Santorini. I hiked the beautiful cliffsides of Cinque Terre, and signed my name on the Lennon Wall in Prague, Czech Republic. At the end of the semester, I accompanied Bus2Alps to Munich, Germany’s annual Springfest (or Frühlingsfest as the Germans call it) for one of the most wild and memorable weekends of my life. My friend and I danced on tables to traditional German music, and drank beer from the largest beer steins I have ever seen! I loved every trip that I took, and it’s crazy to think that these destinations are only a small fraction of the trips that Bus2Alps offers. You can travel with them on their award-winning Amalfi Coast trip; to skiing and skydiving in the Swiss Alps in Interlaken; and ride camels in Morocco. Other trip destinations include Ibiza, Budapest, Amsterdam, Ireland, Croatia, and the French Riviera. The destinations are endless!
Throughout my study abroad experience, Bus2Alps not only provided me with fun trips to take on the weekends, but they played a large part in making my study abroad experience so memorable. I urge everyone who studies abroad to check out the Bus2Alps website and explore the countless destinations that you can travel to. I promise you, it will be worth it!
Rachel is senior at the University of South Carolina, and studied abroad in Florence in Spring 2012. I am majoring in fashion merchandising, and after I graduate I hope to work for a company that specializes in either fashion PR or fashion journalism.