Thursday, February 21, 2013

Fellow Travelers: Leah in Croatia

 Where did you study abroad?
 Dubrovnik, Croatia. 

Describe your schooling experience and how it compared to school in the US.
The school itself wasn't much different (the way the classes and curriculum were set up), but the students mentality was much more laid back than in the US. At home if we don't turn in an assignment or if we do bad on a test there isn't another chance to make it up. Whereas in Dubrovnik, the professors would give multiple chances for things like that. 

Tell us your best and worst experiences while studying abroad.
The best experience was getting to see so many different places and cultures. The worst part was that I didn't speak any Croatian going into it, so it was pretty intimidating from the get go. 
Did you miss anything from home that you didn't expect to miss? 
I mostly missed food! Croatians don't eat much ethnic food, and I eat it all the time at home. I really missed Chipotle, kind of pathetic haha I also missed peanut butter! 

Tell us about your extensive traveling after your school program ended.
I didn't travel much while I was actually in Dubrovnik, but I traveled both before and after. Before my program started, I went to Hungary and Slovenia, which I loved. Afterwards, I went to London, Dublin and Vienna with my friend who was studying with me. (We used Ryanair and easy jet, they're the best thing ever for someone who wants to travel on a budget, you can get to most major cities using this with for pretty cheap most are around €60 for one way, some more some less). London and Dublin were so much fun, it was really nice to be in an English speaking place for a while. After Vienna I went to Rome to meet my boyfriend. We spent the next five weeks traveling. We went to Rome, Florence, Milan, Paris, Brussels, Antwerp (Belgium), and Amsterdam. We spent at least anywhere from three to five days in each city. From Amsterdam we flew back to Rome to meet my brother and his friend. With them we traveled for two weeks through Italy. We spent a few days in Rome then went down to Palermo, Sicily, then to Naples and back to Rome where we left for home. If anyone has the opportunity to travel for that amount of time, please please please do it! Yes, it will cost money, but it will be one of the best times you will ever have! You meet so many awesome people while traveling, and you get to see things that most people only dream about.

Why did you make the effort (it is a lot of work to study abroad) to travel and study abroad?
My program (packaging science) doesn't have a program abroad. But I knew ever since high school I wanted to go abroad so I saved my general electives. I figured I was going to have to take them somewhere, it might as well be in Europe! 

What is the best advice you would give to someone who is going to study abroad?
I would say talk to someone who has just studied abroad. They know better than anyone what you'll need to pack and what you won't need. Read travel blogs too, they're filled with great advice and stories that will get you even more excited to go! And one more thing: don't let all of the paperwork and preparation with visas scare you's worth it, I promise!!

Where do you want to travel to next?
 I want to go everywhere!! So many places to go, so little time! I would really love to go to Asia, specifically Japan. I also would love New Zealand/Australia. I went to Sarajevo when i was in Dubrovnik, and that had so much Turkish influence I would love to go to Turkey (that will have to wait a while until things settle down over there…)

For more info on Leah's study abroad experience check out her blog here!!!

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