Category Archives: Art

How to Get Ready for a Music Festival Abroad

For all the music lovers and festival enthusiasts studying abroad this semester, the time has finally come to forget your inhibitions and immerse yourselves in the good vibes of Barcelona’s Abroadfest. Whether this is your first experience with a music festival or whether you’re a pro at this kind of stuff back in the States, you’ll want to check out this list of tips for attending a festival abroad:

  1. Know the Line Up: The key component to a music festival is, of course, the music. Abroadfest will be held in  Razzmatazz and Shôko, so make sure you’re ahead of the game and know where to be at what times by looking up the Abroadfest Line Up now. In order to ensure that you are up front for your favorite bands, plan out your strategy ahead of time and know which stages you want to post up at and which times you’ll need to be there. While you’re checking out the lineup, if you find some bands you haven’t heard of, take the time to make a dope playlist and learn some new music. You’ll be glad you did when you get to experience these bands live.cell phones at music festivals, external battery, portable charger, iphone, android, cell phones abroad, music festival tips, abroadfest, europe
  2. Bring the Right Equipment: The last thing you want is to be at a music festival without the essentials. The second to last thing you want is to be overwhelmed with stuff while you’re trying to rage to your favorite bands. The happy-medium here is to bring the essentials and pack lightly. Make sure you are packing everything in a secure, light bag; a bag that zips is preferable for security reasons – fanny packs are your friends. My recommendations for must-have items are: an external battery for your phone, an extra protein bar for energy, a hard copy of notes you’ve made regarding which stages to be at which times in case your phone does die, whatever form of money you decide is best for you (make sure you check out our safety tips blog post when planning this out), and a water bottle. Anything else is just extra – except good vibes, of course.
  3. Stay Hydrated and Nourished: As mentioned above, I always recommend bringing a protein bar and water bottle. Some festivals restrict liquids and foods being brought in, so make sure you keep this in mind. Staying hydrated is key, especially when surrounded by hundreds of people jumping around in a tightly-packed setting. You’re going to sweat – a lot. Your body will thank you for focusing on getting enough water in your system.drinking water at music festivals, stay hydrated at abroadfest, study abroad tips, barcelona, abroadfest
  4. Prioritize Safety: Safety abroad is always a priority, and this becomes even more important at a music festival. For a full list of ways to protect yourself (and your bank account), check out our blog on How to Stay Safe While Abroad.
  5. Live in the Moment: The best part of a music festival is the positive and contagious vibes. Focusing on living in the moment while abroad is always something I’ve found to be important, but this is even more of a necessity at a music festival. You’re surrounded by great music, creative visuals, and interesting people. Focus less on capturing the perfect Snapchat Mystory and more on engraving every detail you can into your memory. Send out good vibes and you’ll find that even more come your way. Soak in every moment, because you’ll never encounter as much kindness as you will at a music festival.

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Most overrated tourist attractions in the world

Today I am compiling a list of the most overrated tourist attractions in the world. A lot of times we get this image of perfection from movies, TV, and books, but often times they don’t live up to our high expectations. Some tourist attractions leave you really disappointed while others truly blow you away. These are the attractions that left me disappointed along with a short explanation on what you should see and do instead. (Disclaimer: these are completely based on my personal experiences/preferences; everyone has different tastes and likes).

#1 The Mona Lisa (Paris, France)


Everyone who has been to the Louvre in Paris has mixed opinions. Over my five visits to Paris I went to the Louvre a few times and this opinion never changed. You wait in a massive line (unless you have the Paris Pass) and then follow the rushing crowds to see the iconic Mona Lisa or are just too overwhelmed with art to know what to do with yourself. The Mona Lisa is tiny (H: 77 cm; L: 53 cm) and they don’t let you get really that close to it, which is understandable.  My other gripe with the Louvre is that every caption is in French, so to read about the painting you need to purchase an audio guide. Shouldn’t the Italian painters at least have their mother language there to describe their masterpieces? I don’t think everything should cater to be in English, but there should be some better alternatives.

I must admit, I enjoy art…but I can only spend so much time looking at it. In my opinion the Museum Orsay and Pompidou art galleries are a lot more interesting compared to the Louvre. So if you have to choose I would check out one of these as well, but please make sure to check out Saint Chappelle. This is one of the most beautiful interior churches and the 360-degree stained glass just blew me away. Paris can be overwhelming since there is so much to do and see, don’t try and rush it though. Enjoy and savior the beauty that is Paris.

#2 Mannequin Pis (Brussels, Belgium)


This little guy wasn’t that disappointing since it was free to see him taking a piss, literally. Don’t get your hopes up and instead of rushing over to find this little guy head to the Delirium bar, which has hundreds of beers on tap and is a great place to have a few drinks and get delirious.

#3 Hollywood Sign (Los Angeles, California)


I have seen the Hollywood Sign so many times in movies and just expected to see it from the streets near the Chinese Theater and the surrounding area. To see the actual sign you need to drive to a look out and even then it is still pretty far away. There are better places to go though. You can take a hike to get a lot closer and see a better view, which I would recommend.

#4 Astronomical Clock SHOW (Prague, Czech Republic)


The Astronomical clock is one of my favorite attractions in Prague. It is magnificent, but the show every hour is a big letdown. Hundreds of people line up every hour to watch these 600-year-old puppets perform a very short and disappointing show.  This show would have been epic 600 years ago, but now we are just too spoiled. Stay for the show and see for yourself, or head to the top of the tower for a stunning view of the city.

#5 Canal Tour (Venice, Italy)


I have mixed feelings about this tour; it was expensive and short, but it is just one of those things you do in Venice. The first big letdown was the construction and advertisements in the canals. This was disappointing since I was expecting The Italian Job first action scene I guess. We grabbed some wine and hopped aboard the boat, the tour was over fairly quickly, and I think all of us were a bit unimpressed. Venice is a beautiful city, but that Euro could of gone to a lot better use. I don’t regret doing this since I am not sure what else we would have done during the short visit to Venice (probably drank more wine).

#6 London Eye (London, England)


This was the biggest waste of money ever.  Trust me the view is not that great and getting a good photo with YOU in it is impossible with the glare/glass. Still go see the London Eye as it is a cool attraction, but I recommend avoiding the ride.

Instead of riding the London Eye go visit one of London’s FREE museums like my favorite The British Museum (famous things like the Original Rosetta Stone are here)

Although there is a few thousand of people who will disagree with me about the London Eye on Tripadvisior, if you really want to ride it then I would recommend going at night. I still can’t justify riding a glorified ferris wheel for $33.

What are you most disappointing attractions? Leave a comment below. Check out SwigMeetsWorld for more travel tips and stories!

A Guide To Appreciating Art Museums

By Lillie Strudthoff

If you’re studying abroad in Europe, there’s a 99.9% chance that you will have to spend time in an art museum at some point. For some people, the idea of seeing important artistic and cultural artifacts is thrilling. For others, it brings to mind images of dusty buildings and a tour guide who sounds like an international version of the teacher in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.


If spending an afternoon staring at oil paintings makes you want to stand in the middle of the nearest strada, check out this guide to appreciating art and museums (yes, even the boring stuff):

1. Go by yourself.

I know, I know. You don’t even want to go with the group, so suggesting that your museum time be self-inflicted seems rather ridiculous. But you might find that some of the things you hate most about museums have nothing to do with art. If you go by yourself, you can spend as much (or as little) time looking at the works as you want, and you don’t have to listen to your pedantic classmate monologue about how Michelangelo’s paintings were actually rather sub-par.

2. Go with an awesome tour guide.

Someone who’s funny and entertaining can make even the dullest topics seem awesome. Exhibit A: Bernardo (aka Bernie, aka quite possibly my favorite person in the entire world).


This adorable man was responsible for showing the cast of Jersey Shore around when they were in Florence. His ability to remain jovial while Snooki peppered him with questions about the realness of the “babies with wings” depicted in the frescoes earned him the title of “the kindest, most patient tour guide in the world” from Rolling Stone. His talent for dealing with vapid people is matched by his ability to make 14th-century triptychs seem absolutely fascinating. Seriously, if you’re in Florence, look him up.

3. Pick one (or two, or three…) works or artists to learn more about.

Art history is incredibly interesting when you start digging into it. Art was an integral part of politics, religion, and society, so what might look like a simple sculpture today could have actually been a bold act of defiance 500 years ago. Also, a lot of artists’ lives are crazy in the best way. Don’t believe me? Read a few pages of Renaissance goldsmith Benvenuto Cellini’s hilarious autobiography. He’s basically the artist version of Captain Jack Sparrow.

4. Revel in the ridiculousness.

If you think about it, museums are pretty weird. Where else can you stare at pictures/life-size models of naked people in public and not be considered a perv?

You can also find gems like this.

If you begin to feel unbearably bored, start counting the number of awkward portraits or scary-looking baby Jesuses you can find. No matter where you are, I guarantee you’ll have a high count by the end of the tour.

5. And if all else fails, do it for the selfie.

Tried everything above and still can’t appreciate art museums? Then you might as well make the most of it and have the Mona Lisa in the background of your newest profile pic.

30 thoughts everyone has the first time they see the David

By Virginia Fay, Michelle Hayman and Sara Wiseman

  1. …Does that look a little small?
  2. Why are his hands so massive?
  3. Seriously, they’re like baseball gloves.
  4. How the eff long did this take?
  5. I’m exhausted just looking at this.
  6. I don’t have enough patience to make a sandwich let alone carve something out of stone.
  7. My ex-boyfriend looks kind of like him?
  8. …Right? He looks like that, right?
  9. It was created in 1501? When was that?
  10. Did they just see me take that photo?
  11. Oh, crap! They saw me.
  12. Who made this?
  13. Michelangelo. Didn’t he do the Mona Lisa too?
  14. Wait, no. That was in the “DaVinci Code” = Obviously DaVinci
  15. Can we talk about Tom Hanks’ hair in that movie? Disgusting.
  16. But, no, this guy did the Sistine Chapel.
  17. God, isn’t it so annoying when they shush you in there?
  18. Like, your shushes are louder than any conversation I was having. Rude.
  19. Look at how interested this old guy is in the David. So cultured.
  20. He probably doesn’t know anything about art and needs to relax.
  21. Boy, David looks kind of hot and bothered doesn’t he?
  22. What do you think David’s diet was?
  23. Straight protein?
  24. I bet he would have loved Chipotle, given the opportunity.
  25. God, I want Chipotle.
  26. I should probably at least get a pizza instead.
  27. David could totally put away a lot of pizza, with that size.
  28. If I Instagram the picture I took, will the authorities find out somehow?
  29. You can’t get retroactively banned from a museum, can you?
  30. What else is even in this museum?