All photos credited to Danny dePasquale.
10. Lower your voice
Notice the Americans are the only ones screaming on the metro? Yeah, everyone else noticed too.
9. Cool it with the excessive group shots and selfies
Not every situation may be opportune for flashing sorority symbols and snapping selfies.
8. Avoid writing on clothing and obvious labels
Try to tap into the local clothing and accessory style. Often simple is better. Avoid the usual Polo tee or Northface zip up, they’re a dead giveaway.
7. For the love of everything holy, don’t ever wear a passport necklace
I assume this needs no further explanation.
6. Ditch the cargo pants
Are we camping? Are we rafting? Why do you need that many quick-drying compartments in your pants?
5. Stop asking for tap water
It’s just not going to happen. Also, if you prefer fizzy water you’re a monster.
4. Give your map a break
You look like an imbecile with your nose glued to a map. Sometimes the best way to discover a city is by just wandering around.
3. Don’t wear baseball caps
If you don’t want to stick out as much, maybe save the baseball cap for a different day. It’s America’s greatest past-time, I know this! But do you see any baseball diamonds around here?
2. White tennis shoes are always a sin
You’re going to be walking a lot here so you’ll need to be comfortable. And for some reason most American minds jump straight to, “Oh, I’ll wear my brightest pair of white tennis shoes!”
Knock it off. Be comfortable without angering the gods.
1. Learn to stop worrying and love the differences
There are a lot of things that are different than home. That’s why you came here, right? So, ignore the fact that there’s no ice in your coke, that you don’t have a dishwasher and that laundry costs $1 million. Stop worrying and love the differences and this experience for all it’s worth.
Suddenly it happened. You’re halfway done with your semester. How did this happen? It feels like one minute you were sitting by the Duomo (which you recently learned how to pronounce) eating pizza and the next thing you know, it’s midterm season.
Usually you would look to Netflix to help you get through this tough time. Unfortunately, “Netflix is currently unavailable in your country.” Great. Now what?
Naturally you’d be able to day dream about your upcoming spring break trip to Panama City with your besties. But crap, you’re literally on a different continent. FOMO is threatening your mere human existence. What happens when they post that first Instagram, all together, in matching sorority beach cover ups? What can you possibly look forward to this spring?
Oh wait… JUST KIDDING. YOU’RE IN EUROPE. THE LAND OF THE MOST GORGEOUS BEACHES IN THE ENTIRE WORLD. I think you’ll get through it.
Let’s get down to business. As you’re sitting at your desk finishing your paper about the cultural reconstruction of Spain post Franco regime, there’s only one thing you should be looking forward to. And that thing, is your European Spring Break 2014.
I mean, don’t get me wrong, I know freshman year Spring Break 2012 was awesome when you spent 14 days at the local gym with your mom doing work out classes with a bunch of post menopausal women in better shape than you, but this one might be a little better.
I know you’re sitting there thinking, how can a European beach be so incredible that I’m not going to have extreme anxiety when I see Facebook posts of my best friends bonging beers in the Atlantic Ocean? Three words: crystal clear water. Most beaches throughout Europe have water so incredibly gorgeous, so incredibly clear, you can see straight to the bottom of the ocean. Even when the water is 40 feet deep. And i’m not trying to hate on Florida, but that murky blue green water ain’t got nothing on the Mediterranean.
Another thing to be pumped about: pebble beaches. This might sound strange at first, but don’t knock it til you try it. The worst part about being at a beach (not that there are many) is most definitely the sand that gets caked on to your face, between your nails, and in the most unspeakable places. However, pebble beaches never leave that kind of residue. You can spend the entire day at the beach without having to take a midday shower just relieve your skin of that horrendous itchy feeling. That, my friend, is well time saved. Which, in turn, leads to more time tanning and drinking.
Which leads to my next point, partying. You may think your friends in Panama City are raging their faces off. And maybe they are. But while they are getting crazy on Natty Light, PBR or Keystone (ew), you’ll be enjoying ouzo in Greece, wine in France, or Ožujsko Grejp in Croatia (the best grapefruit beer you will ever taste). And not to mention the booze cruise you will partake in when you arrive in Corfu. I’ve never been on it, but believe me when I say this: it’s unreal. I’ve seen the photo album.
The last point I want to make here before I end this post, is to take advantage of your current situation. It’s not every day that you’re a two hour plane ride from France, a 12 hour ferry ride to Greece or even a three hour bus ride to southern Italy. This break in your semester should be celebrated and fully cashed-in on. Throw your inhibitions overboard and go somewhere crazy. You won’t regret it.
And don’t even worry what your friends back home are doing. Trust me, they will be there when you get back. Panama City beach will be there when you get back. And above all, Natty Light will always be there when you get back. So push through those midterms gracefully solely by looking forward to your European Spring Break 2014.
All photos credited to Danny dePasquale.