Balancing school & travel







Fun fact: During my time abroad, I traveled to 10 different countries!

As I mentioned in my prior Blogs, I love traveling, and I’ve always had goals of exploring new places, so when I received the opportunity to go about it I knew this was just the beginning. To be quite frank, I did not know that I would be stepping into ten different countries, but my silly motivation was an Instagram caption that said “10 pics, 10 countries.” I’m sure you are curious as to where I was able to explore: Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Ireland, Germany, England, France, Italy, Spain, and Greece. It still sounds a bit crazy for me to believe, let alone list all the countries like I just did. In this blog, I will share the tips and tricks that I used to allow me to explore ten different countries without disturbing any educational plans.

When to travel?

The abroad program that I had given us a total of two breaks. We had a long week for spring break, and then a five-day break for Easter, and that includes weekends. During my spring break, I traveled to 3 different countries (go check out my blog about this!), and during Easter break, I went to Greece (also go check out my blog about this trip!). Besides Ireland with a week-long educational program trip funded by DIS, the rest of the countries were explored on weekends during my downtime. Some students only traveled whenever we had longer breaks, but I found it refreshing and exciting to have little trips to look forward to especially if I was having a long week. This method might sound stressful to some, but I thought this approach was pretty great and also allowed me to detach from school and explore more countries.

How to travel?

The question that I am most frequently asked is how? How were you able to travel to so many countries? And the short answer is planning! I am a very organized person, and I like to have things organized to the second, or it leads to anxiety. While traveling, I ensured that all the trips were planned or had some sort of itinerary because this allowed me to be efficient with my time and make the most out of all my trips. Whether the trips were spontaneous, as in booked the week of departure, or a bit more planned a week or two, before I landed in the country I had a list of sights to see, and my friends and I would arrange schemes that would allow us to see, if not all, most of the sights planned. I would also suggest getting a nice backpack to travel with because this was my go-to for all these trips. For the longer week-long trips, I had a carry-on; however, for all of the weekend trips I used a large backpack and claimed it as my item, and this saved me a lot of money. I also recommend that one has small travel-size toiletries that fit in the tiny zip lot that is approved by the airport because a thing like this can cause issues or delays when one is trying to quickly rush past TSA.

Where to travel?

I’m sure everyone thinks this might be a weird section to write about because you travel where your heart most desires, but there is a strategy that can allow you to be most productive with these decisions. Before booking a trip, I did not approach the web with a destination but more or a time and date. I would open google apple and search for various flights around Europe from Stockholm because that is where I live. This approach allowed me to narrow down my options and pick cheaper flights. I don’t know how the algorithm works; however, some countries were vastly cheaper than other countries depending on the tip/ date one planned to travel. Although this may sound a bit confusing and maybe too much for some people, the best approach is to book early. The later one waits to book a ticket, the higher prices rise.

Overall, my travels abroad were great, and I had a lot of fun in every country. I would highly recommend that every student studying abroad attempt to travel around at least two surrounding countries because this elevated my overall abroad experience. What I mentioned in my blog are obviously not the rules for having a successful travel experience, but personally, they helped me and might help you or someone else you know.

Until next time,