Tag Archives: abroad

Enhancing Your Study Abroad Experience

By: Victoria Driver

Crazy, fast, overwhelming are probably all words you will use to describe the first few weeks in the new city you call home when you choose to study abroad, but it is worth every second of the madness. You probably weren’t sure what to expect when coming to a new country with a new language and culture. I experienced this culture shock myself, but within a month, I’ve already begun to learn the “ins and outs” of surviving abroad and have organized my tips and tricks down to the essentials

Hydration is key With so much going on around you, it’s easy to forget about what your body needs to stay healthy. In most of Europe, water at restaurants and eateries comes at an extra price.  If you aren’t a fan of tap water, buy a large bottle of water from your local grocery store and make sure you stay hydrated. Your mood will improve, and your body will thank you.drink-water-stay-hydrated-abroad-student-travel-tips

We can all use a bit of beauty sleep Europe has a bustling nightlife for Study Abroad students. If you go out too often and begin functioning on limited amounts of sleep you will run the risk of getting sick. The key to fueling your love for nightlife and being at your best to explore Europe is to find balance. Planning is key to every aspect of life abroad, so try to map out the nights you spend out on the town by planning your week and nightlife events beforehand. This way, you will be sure to elevate your social experience.

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Exercise is good for the soul Homesickness and culture shock are two of the most common reasons that students struggle with their Study Abroad experience. Therefore, try exercising at least once a week to produce natural endorphins. Join the local gym (If you’re also studying abroad in Florence, the Swan Gymnastic Center is great). You can also jog around your city – there is so much to see in your city and only so much time to see it – you may even start to enjoy your weekly exercises just for the sights.

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With just these few simple tips and reminders, you can enhance your time in your host city and your study abroad experience!

The 5 Best Restaurants in Rome Center

By: Peter Gerolamo

Rome has an endless supply of bars, restaurants, and cafes to choose from. From quick stop-and-go cafes to formal dining, you can find basically everything under the sun in the Eternal City. As a student living in Prati, I did most of my shopping and eating near my residence. As a college graduate working in Rome, I’m fortunate enough to live right by Ponte Sisto. Here is a list of my 5 go-to food establishments within reasonable walking distance from Ponte Sisto.

  • Baffetto: A pizzeria with two locations, one near Abbey Theatre and one in Campo, Baffetto is my go to take-away pizza. It is different than normal Italian pizza in that the crust is much thinner. An entire margherita is only 6 euro and you wait no more than 5 minutes for it to be ready.food to eat in rome, restaurant recommendations in ponte sisto area in rome, restaurants for study abroad students, travel food tips
  • Dar Poeta: My favorite sit-down pizzeria, Dar Poeta is located right behind Piazza Trilussa in Trastevere. My two favorites to order here are the linguna de foco (spicy salami) and the Superformaggi. Dar Poeta is a usually crowded at nights, and there is a reason for that. You’ll see why once you’ve tried it out for yourself.food to eat in rome, restaurant recommendations in ponte sisto area in rome, restaurants for study abroad students, travel food tips
  • Il Duca: Located right next to the popular abroad student trattoria “Tonys”, Il Duca is where I had my final meal as an abroad student. They have a wide array of pasta dishes to choose from and I highly recommend getting the fried veggies as an appetizer. Overall, Il Duca provides a great atmosphere to dine with a larger group. food to eat in rome, restaurant recommendations in ponte sisto area in rome, restaurants for study abroad students, travel food tips
  • Fast Food Eat Street Food: When I am looking for something that reminds me of food back in the States, I get the Esquilino burger from “Eat”. With cheddar and bacon, the burgers at Eat are delicious and normally between 5 and 6 euro. The French fries are a nice compliment to any sandwich.food to eat in rome, restaurant recommendations in ponte sisto area in rome, restaurants for study abroad students, travel food tips
  • Giolitti: A gem in terms of Gelato shops, Giolitti is located near the Pantheon. I recommend all the flavors, however my go-to flavors are banana and nutella. Giolitti is a great place to go after dinner to enjoy amazing gelato while walking home.food to eat in rome, restaurant recommendations in ponte sisto area in rome, restaurants for study abroad students, travel food tips

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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10 Ways to Stay Safe While Studying Abroad

You’ve been lectured, re-lectured, then lectured again for good measure endlessly by parents, professors, and loved ones about safety while abroad, but how much does this wisdom really sink in when your thoughts stray to all the fun you have to look forward to? But take it from someone who has witnessed at least some of the things mentioned below first-hand – it’s better to be a little over-prepared and cautious than to wind up in a scary or inconvenient situation. Take a minute to read some tips the team at Bus2alps have put together from experience, and learn from our stories and advice rather than your own misfortune.

  1. Know Your Emergency Numbers: My first piece of advice is, once you’ve gotten through this article, pull out your phone and download the Echo 112 App. This is an emergency app that allows dispatchers to be able to track your location through your phone in the case of an emergency. Also, make sure you look into local emergency numbers – this is general knowledge that is important to know.echo app, smartphone tracker, safety abroad, student travel tips, emergency number, europe emergency app
  1. Don’t Put all of Your Eggs in One Basket–eh, Cards in one Wallet: So, imagine the worst: Your wallet gets lost or stolen. Well, actually, this is not the worst–imagine that your wallet gets stolen with every single credit/debit card you own, your insurance cards from the US, your driver’s license with the picture when you had a really good hair day, every single rewards card you’ve been racking up points on, and – if you’ve really hit the jackpot of misfortune – your passport. This is not one of those stories your mom tells you to scare you (trust me, this happened to my friend two weeks ago). Be smart. Bring just enough of what you need with you. Always make a copy of your passport, and keep it back at the place you’re temporarily calling home, along with all of those cards and documents you really only need back in America. The goal is that after reading this article and committing these tips to memory, you won’t have an issue with parting ways with your wallet, but if it does happen, having a backup card handy will get you by until you can figure out a way to replace your card.student travel tips, study abroad in europe, tips of packing, how to keep your wallet safe when abroad
  1. Always Make Sure Your Bag is Secure: This advice may help you avoid losing a wallet altogether. Whether you carry a purse, satchel, or backpack, make sure that you’re always aware of how accessible it is to others. Carry purses and satchels in front of you, and aim to only carry bags that have a zipper. Be aware of your bags in tight crowds; this is an easy chance for someone to “bump” into you and snatch some valuables. Always make sure your bags are in your line of vision if they aren’t on you – train stations, airports, and bus stops to a thief are like casinos to gamblers. They thrive in these spots and are skilled at what they do, so be one step ahead and watch your belongings.
  1. Only Use Registered Taxis: Even if you thought it was a good idea to wear your favorite most painful pair of heels down cobbly streets or if you stayed out way too late to watch the game and are desperate to get home, always make sure you’re being aware that the ride you’re accepting is actually a registered taxi service. This is especially necessary when leaving a train station or airport – just because a car is just waiting there in your time of need does not mean its a knight-in-shining-armour ready to rescue you. You’ll see a taxi station outside of most airports and train stations in Europe which shows you where to wait for registered taxis. Going off of this, if you are traveling to a new city, plan ahead and have some taxi service numbers ready for you. Familiarize yourself with their hours of operation so you aren’t stranded in the early hours of the morning in a new city.registered cab services in europe, student travel tips, european taxi services, safe rides for students abroad
  1. Only use a trusted ATM: I’ve found that bank ATMs are the best anyways conversion-rate-wise, but I’ve always found comfort knowing that my card information will be protected by using these machines over the sketchy ones conveniently hidden right next to the spot you buy your favorite cheap beer. ATMs can be a way for others to steal your card information, so always make sure you’re using a trusted machine. To protect your information, also avoid using cards on public wifi.
  1. Don’t Accept a Drink You Haven’t Seen Poured: This is advice that my parent’s repeatedly beat into my brains throughout my college years, and wisdom that is even more important to carry overseas. Advice to go along with this is to never leave your drink unattended – even for a second. If you have set your drink down and wandered away, spend the extra cash on a new one to be safe. A last note on the topic of alcohol, please be able to handle whatever amount you decide to consume. Being able to be a functioning human is a socially acceptable behavior anywhere, but it is an absolute necessity abroad. Don’t drink too much and always be in control of yourself and your actions.student travel tips, study abroad in europe, tips of packing, how to be safe at a bar scene abroad
  1. Always Let Someone Know Where You Are: If you’re traveling alone, or honestly, at all, it’s important to let at least one person know where you’re going to be. Checking in with someone may be hard for the independent spirits like myself, but it is the smartest way for someone to be able to know where you are in case of an emergency.
  1. Be Smart About Traveling Alone at Night: If you’re going to be walking home at night alone, avoid back alleys. They might make your trek shorter, but dark alleyways can be an opportunity for someone lurking in the shadows to caught you off guard and vulnerable. If you can, always walk in a group at night.student travel tips, study abroad in europe, tips of packing, how to keep your wallet safe when abroad
  1. Always have a Backup: A backup plan goes along with everything in life. For me, my back up battery has been a saving grace for my travels abroad. If you haven’t already, invest in an external battery for your phone. Go one step ahead and always have the address to where you’re staying along with any important phone numbers written somewhere and secured in a safe place; if your phone dies, you will be able to have a way to reach others or make your way back home.  
  1. Be Aware, Not Paranoid: Pay attention to your surroundings. Check exits when entering a crowded building. Dip into a restaurant or business if you feel like you’re being followed at night. Double check that cab that gives you a sketchy feeling. Carry your purse like it’s glued to you. Be smart and trust your instincts, but don’t let this turn into paranoia.

Enjoy your time abroad and trust that as much darkness there is in the world, there’s twice as much goodness that exists. Allow people to surprise you and show you kindness and you’ll find that there is more of this than you could imagine. Be smart, be safe, and travel on.


Wine & Dine Your Parents with a Taste of Tuscany

By: Molly Dunn

It’s safe to say you feel like a new person after a few months of studying abroad. You’ve experienced multiple new cultures, eaten foods you’ve never even heard of and managed to direct a taxi driver in a language that isn’t your own. You’ve been away from home for a long time which means you’re starting to miss your parents. Chances are high that not only were your parents missing you too, they were also happy to have an excuse to come to Italy for a visit.

A lot of parents make plans to visit their children abroad around the Thanksgiving time, so I’m writing this as a way to help you prepare. You’re their little globetrotting travel expert now, so you’re obligated to show them a good time! Like any good child, you pull out all the stops.

If you’re in Florence, you’re planning to show off the Ponte Vecchio, the Duomo, Piazzale Michelangelo.. Maybe even a family picnic at the Boboli Gardens. But we all know the most important part of this trip for both your parents and you… is food and wine. You’ve got it all planned, pizza at Gusta Pizza, paninis at Pinos or All’antico Vinaio, some gelato at Gelateria dei Neri and you’re definitely taking them for the pear ravioli at La Giostra.

If you’re in Rome, you’re taking them to the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain.. Maybe even watching the sunset from the Spanish Steps. The food tour will start with pizza from Dar Poeta in Trastevere, Pane e Salame for a panini near the Trevi and then a stop by the Frigidarium for the best gelato in Rome.

So.much. food… You know what you need to wash it down? Wine.

You know the best place for wine? The Tuscan countryside.
Lucky for you, Bus2alps has you covered. Take your parents on an unforgettable “wine crawl” through Tuscany’s Chianti region on the Taste of Tuscany day trip. Visit two different wineries and enjoy a three course traditional Tuscan lunch all while bonding with your parents in a way only ample amounts of delicious food, wine and relaxation can offer up. Share some incredible views with vineyards in your backdrop, have some of world’s top rated gelato, and they’ll be happy to finish off Christmas shopping with some added generosity. Then you just convince them to ship back a couple bottles (or cases) of wine and truffle oils back to the U.S. to be waiting there when they get back.

Your time abroad has made you grow in ways that you never could have imagined, and your parents will definitely take notice. As the wine flows, your parentals will find inspiration to tell you stories you’ve never heard and stories they never thought of telling you. Like that time your Dad got food poisoning in Ireland or when your Mom backpacked through Eastern Europe for a few weeks with a man named Hans. No matter the story, you will find that your relationship with your parents is on a whole new level.