So far I have only traveled to Ireland, Krakow, Munich and two additional cities in the Czech Republic. “What do you mean only!?” you ask. Compared to a bunch of my friends, that really is not that much traveling. In fact, most people seem to be away nearly every weekend. And how could you blame them? Prague is in the dead center of Europe, and traveling in Europe is relatively cheap. Let’s get this out of the way – I am not anti traveling and I totally get why people dedicate much of their time in Europe to traveling. Instead, I want to emphasize some seldom-mentioned reasons for not traveling. Here are some the reasons why I am in favor of staying home:
$$$ — Traveling in Europe, albeit cheaper than America, still costs money. But, cost is only one factor to consider when debating the merits of traveling vs. staying home. In fact, I’d contend, which I assume other study abroad students would support, that cost shouldn’t always prevent students on this once-and-a-life-time opportunity. It’s not like I don’t spend money when I am home. Still, I have saved some money staying in Prague most weekends.
Learn your city — Since I have had plenty of open weekends in Prague, I have been able to explore many different parts of the city. Going to the same restaurants, cafes, and bars on weekends gets old after a while, so, in a way, I had to explore other areas of Prague. I now feel comfortable going practically anywhere in Prague. As I wrote in my first post, directions aren’t one of my strong areas. I have, however, improved my general sense of direction, thanks, in part, to my continuous exploration of Prague.
Independence — Because of the variety of everyone’s travel schedule, I seem to find myself hanging out with new people every weekend, which I have enjoyed. Each weekend seems to create some new, for lack of a better word, crew, of people to explore Prague with.
Internship — In addition to my course load, I work two part-time internships, so I generally work five-day weeks. Although “real people” work five days a week anyway, study abroad students aren’t necessarily “real [people”. Most students have either three-day or four-day weeks, making weekend trips easier to schedule. If you are going to one of Europe’s many major attractions, you want a full weekend; leaving Friday night and coming back Sunday makes for a short trip. My internships prevented me from traveling more than anything else – a tough tradeoff for sure – but I am happy with my decision.
I’m certainly in the minority group when it comes to traveling, which makes sense. If you were studying in the heart of Europe why would you not travel as much as you could? Plenty of my pals who frequently traveled have said they aren’t going to get to some of the places they wished to see. I would encourage anyone studying in this area to travel around some, but don’t feel compelled to have to go somewhere every weekend. My study abroad situation is not better or worse than the traveling hounds – it’s just different.
I still traveled though. Here are some highlights:
Selfie of the week: Because I am an egotistical millennial, here is the selfie of the week: