A while ago, I asked you all to send me in some questions about my study abroad experience. I received some questions, both online and in person, and now I will finally address them!
If I had 48 hours in Europe, and was on a reasonable budget, what should I do?
This question was definitely the most difficult I was asked, so congrats & thanks for the challenge. I’m assuming I can begin this 48 hours wherever and whenever, so here’s where you should start. Paris, France at 1:00pm. Spend the afternoon site-seeing, like the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame. Grab a baguette and a coffee in downtown for an afternoon snack. Hike up to Montemartre and Sacre Couer for one of the best views of Paris. Then, stop in a restaurant that serves dinner crepes and have one of those with a glass of wine for a meal. Around 9:00pm, head over to the Trocadero metro stop for the best view of the Eiffel Tower light show. Rent a room at the St. Christopher’s Inn Hostel for one night.
Get an early start and head to the airport for the 2.5 hour flight to Sevilla, Spain. Arrive at 11:00am. Go to the city center and visit the Cathedral. Head to the top of the Giralda for an amazing view! After that, take a walk over to Plaza de Espana to soak in the beautiful Sevillian sunshine. On your way back, stop for some gelato on San Jacinto in Triana. Then, I recommend visiting Mi Barrio, a local bar for some Sevillano dancing and singing. (If you’re feeling feisty, join in!) Then stop at Tribuna Tapas Bar (nearby) for the best patatas bravas in the city. After that, head back across the Triana bridge to the Guadalquivir River for a strawberry mojito (or two) at the kiosk. Then go back into the city center to find Las Setas (the mushrooms)–go to the top, get a drink & watch the sunset over the city. Then be sure to grab more tapas and drinks (at the international beer bar). Finally, visit Buddha–a local club, for some dancing and a few more drinks. (You could sleep in a hostel, or stay out all night dancing like the Spanish–your call!) The following morning, catch the 8am bus to Cadiz for a day exploring the city and sub-bathing on beautiful beaches.
I think this might be the best way to spend 48 hours in Europe. If I had 72 hours, I would probably send you to London or Lagos as well. I believe this is a reasonable budget, considering a flight from Paris on Ryan Air is not that expensive, and neither is the hostel or the bus to Cadiz. You might be wondering why I chose Paris though? I was mesmerized by the city. If you want a feel for Europe, Paris is definitely a great place to explore. The Eiffel Tower light show was one of my favorite things also. And of course, I had to send you to my home in Sevilla as well, because that is one of the greatest cities in Spain!! (:
What was your favorite trip?
I think my favorite trip would have to be Morocco. Originally, I was not expecting to go to Africa but I’m glad I did. It turned into a great adventure… I was able to hike up the hills of Chefchaouen to a mosque, barter with locals for goods and ride a camel along the beach! How can you beat that?
What was the best thing you ate?
I would say it has to be a tie between patatas bravas (typical tapas in Spain) or a macaroon that I tried in Paris. Patatas Bravas are basically home-fry like potatoes with a spicy brava sauce on them (so good!) The macaroon was like nothing I had ever tried before…tres magnifique!
What was the worst thing you ate?
This would probably be blood sausage. My host Mom would put this in my soup frequently. I also tried it cooked a different way when I was out for tapas with friends. In all honesty, it doesn’t taste that bad, but I can’t get the idea of what I am actually eating out of my head to be able to enjoy it. It’s really greasy, which doesn’t help either.
Is it better to live with a host family or in an apartment?
There are pros and cons to both living with a host family and living in an apartment. I am happy that I made the choice to live with a host family. If you are looking to improve your language skills, living with a host family is your best option. Usually in an apartment or residential dorm, you will be with other study abroad students, typically Americans. However, if you live in an apartment you are able to have friends over, cook whatever food you want (when you want it) and have control over your laundry. (Also take into consideration that you have to pay for your own food, which means grocery shopping! That can also be costly!) But if you don’t like to cook, or have to worry about laundry, a host family will do those things for you. It’s also nice to have locals who know the city living with you, so they can give you tips and advice on where to go and what to do! My personal recommendation is host family (but it really depends on what type of person you are)!
What is the craziest thing you did while abroad?
Probably ride a camel……in Africa.
Did you really stay out and party all night like the Spanish?
Sometimes, yes. But most of the time we went home around 3am. Some of you might be shocked to hear that, but 2-3am is actually considered leaving the party EARLY for Spanish people. They stay out until 5-6am on weekends. There was only once I actually stayed out all night, and that was Carnaval of Cadiz. I made it to my bed around 7:00am as the sun was starting to rise…it’s exhausting keeping up with the Spanish!
Was it difficult studying abroad and having a boyfriend?
Yes, it was difficult, but it wasn’t impossible. It takes a strong relationship with a person to be apart for almost 4 months. Sometimes it feels like everything is working against you, for example, the time difference or the lack of Wi-Fi. I would advise you to find a time where you both can definitely Skype each week. If you find that you have more time to talk, then that’s great. But having a set time to catch up is important. My boyfriend and I did not pick a definite time, and that was probably not the best idea. We were always struggling to find a Skype time that worked for both of our busy schedules. It’s important to be patient and understanding (on both ends) in order to make it work! Sending each other mail is also a fun idea to consider! I have to give a huge shout-out to my boyfriend though, for supporting me while I followed my dreams and traveled the world for 4 months. I am so lucky to have a such a great friend like him in my life. Thanks Mark!
If you could go back to one of the places you traveled to, where would it be?
I think I would have to go back to Paris. I felt like there was so much to see but I didn’t really have enough time in one weekend to do it all! It was one of my favorite cities. Everything about it was beautiful. I want to go back to explore and enjoy Parisian life more. I felt rushed when I visited Paris, because we tried to fit in so many things. I definitely would take my time if I went back. Paris isn’t a city you should rush.
Thanks for sending me some questions! I’m working on a few final posts to wrap up my experience abroad, so stay tuned! xoxo