By: Erica Saltzgaber
People often ask me what my favorite part of studying abroad was. Quite frankly, this is by far the hardest question to answer because I was exposed to so much. I traveled to 13 countries, 55 cities and also attended a Spanish university one hour from Madrid. How do I possibly choose? Since I can’t I will talk about a few.
Number 1: The ability to travel without a car
Living in Fort Collins my entire life and traveling around the states, having a car was essential. That is not the case for my experience in Europe. Every morning while I attended school at Alcala de Henares, I either walked or took the bus back and forth every day. It was fun to meet locals and over time I started recognizing families going to school or individuals going to work.
While I was backpacking, I traveled via train nearly the entire time. I loved the option to just choose my train, get on and sit back and relax while it navigated myself and my fellow travelers to our destination. There were several instances where we lost track of time and almost forgot to get off but it defiantly created some awesome memories and great stories!
Number 2: Experiencing difference cultures
My expectation of Europe’s culture far exceeded my expectations. I could see the culture of that given country but also as you travel within a country, I was also able to experience the cultural differences from city to city. It was crazy to experience the culture in Morocco one weekend then the culture in England the next!
Number 3: The Food
I LOVE food and the food in Europe was AMAZING!!!! When I had the chance to try new foods, I took full advantage of it. The food in Europe is healthy (for the most part) and extremely different to what I would have back in Colorado or in the USA. From my personal experience, I needed to salt nearly everything except for my Spanish salads because my host mom would over salt them every day.
Number 5: Freedom to explore whenever I wanted (within reason because I was “going to school”)
When people say, what was your favorite part of your experience abroad I can’t help but to share my excitement about having the freedom to truly explore whenever I wanted. The cities and countries are so close to each other and major forms of transportation are often inexpensive meaning I could get a bigger bang for my buck.
My time abroad transformed me into the person I am today, and I would never change my experience for the world. My advice to you: If you want to travel and dream of trying something entirely new, DO IT! You will see and do more than you ever imagined if you grasp the chance of a lifetime to live abroad. Let nothing hold you back because it is possible to live the dream of becoming a world traveler.
– Erica is a fourth year Management major at Colorado State University. She is also President of the Alpha Kappa Psi Professional Business Fraternity on campus. Upon graduating this May of 2015, she will take a position as a Management Trainee for Enterprise. She loves travel and will take any chance she can get to explore what the world has to offer.