Cultural Experience | Europe

Travel: Forget your Expectations

Your trip won’t meet your expectations, but in a good way. 

Preparing to travel abroad is an experience within itself. Countless hours are spent bookmarking articles and questioning friends about places to visit. You spend the last few weeks frantically making lists and double checking that your passport is valid, even though you know that it is.

Best piece of advice I could depart: Forget your expectations!

Whether this is your first time abroad or seventh, every country and every city holds its own charm that is hard to imagine. I studied abroad in Paris, France. We stayed in the 8th district of Paris, and completely took in the culture every chance we got. Here are a few things to remember as you begin your personal journey.

1. Everything will work out

Traveling abroad is stressful. Checking and double checking your list like Santa Claus can be a bit maddening. Remember, in a short time you will be experiencing something new and completely different to your everyday life. It will be well worth the build up.

2. Remember that you still have to study

While studying abroad, it is easy to forget the study part. Most professors are conscious of the fact that a whole city Is waiting to be explored by you. However, you are still receiving a grade. It’s best to give it your all. Don’t lock yourself into your room to read and write, but find a park or a café any place with Wi-Fi and get to it!

3. Transportation is not a guarantee

Whether you are riding in a car, train, plane or the Metro, transportation is never a guarantee. When it falters, aggravation flares and tempers tend to rise. For example, a group of us planned to take an overnight train to Cannes one Thursday after class. We arrive at the train station luggage in hand and learn that train workers are on strike and we would have to jump on a train in the morning. While it was not ideal, we still arrived in Cannes and had a sun filled weekend. Learn to be flexible and roll with changes.

4. It won’t be how you imagined

What are you picturing in your mind right now? Are you on the top of the Eiffel Tower? Are you traveling the streets looking like a local? Or maybe you are imagining yourself in a café with a latte in one hand and a book in another. Nothing will be exactly as you remember. It will be better, but in a different way. The best things will happen unplanned and you’ll develop friendships you didn’t thing imaginable. Not everything goes as planned, but isn’t that the fun part of traveling?

5. Trust me, it’s worth it

With breathtaking views and century old architecture, it’s hard to let the bumps in the road get you down. Every moment of your abroad experience will make you ready for more. Take every opportunity. Write down everything. Photograph everything. Have fun!

Traveling abroad can be scary. Anything new and different can be scary, but your adventure is going to be one for the books!

College Tourist- BLog #1 graphic

Brittany Ray

University of Alabama | 6 stories

Brittany Ray is an upcoming senior at The University of Alabama majoring in public relations. The first time she left the South was to go to Greece. Since then, her need to travel has only increased! While welcoming her ongoing to-do list, Ray plans to travel as much as possible through her career.

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