Studying abroad is an incredible opportunity to immerse yourself in a new culture during college and gain valuable life experiences while gaining credit hours for your degree. While the weekdays might be filled with classes and academic responsibilities, weekends provide the perfect opportunity to travel to countries around you! As a study abroad alumni, I have made a list of tips and insights on how to make the most of a weekend in a new country. So, grab your backpack and get ready to have a damn good time!
What should I prioritize for a weekend trip?
Before setting foot in the new country, research and create a list of must-see attractions and activities that go with your interests. Whether it’s historical landmarks, local cuisine, outdoor adventures, or cultural events, having a plan will help you make the most of your limited time. Check out travel blogs, guide books, TikTok, and ask for recommendations from locals or other students to make sure you don’t miss out on any hidden gems.
How do I plan an itinerary?
Once you have identified your top interests, plan your itinerary wisely. Consider how close everything is to each other and make sure to schedule them on the same days! Create a rough schedule, including travel time, so you can make the most of every moment. However, remember to keep a balance between a structured itinerary and leaving room for spontaneous moments. Keep in mind that most of the best experiences often come from unexpected adventures. My favorite days were when I had two things planned and the rest of the day went with the flow. An example could be to have tickets to a museum and a hop-on-hop-off bus and have the rest of the day for everything and anything you see that you want to do!
How do I do local things in a new country?
Engage with locals and ask for recommendations, try traditional foods, explore local markets, and participate in cultural events. Learn a few basic phrases in the local language to interact with people such as: hello, goodbye, thank you, and ‘Can I have another drink?’!
How do I find stuff to do for a quick trip?
While popular tourist attractions are worth visiting, don’t limit yourself to those alone. You can find unique excursions from Airbnb or Tripadvisor and use it as inspiration for what you want to do during your trip. You can do everything from cooking classes at a local’s home, to horse rides on the beach, to yoga during the sunrise.
What if I want to do slower-paced things while I travel?
In such a short period you can feel pressure to pack your weekend trip with sightseeing, but remember to embrace the art of slow travel. It is super common in Europe to people watch, so be sure to grab a book and go to a café and appreciate the little moments once in a while. You can also relax on the beach or take a stroll through the park. Allow yourself to get lost in the streets and discover hidden gems.
A weekend in a new country as a study abroad student is a valuable opportunity to explore, learn, and create lasting memories. By prioritizing your interests, planning wisely, immersing yourself in the local culture, seeking authentic experiences, embracing slow travel, being present, and allowing room for spontaneity, you can make the most of your time abroad. So, go out there and make the most of your weekend in a new place!