8 Things You’ll Realize During Your Fall Semester Abroad

Water isn’t free: Remember back in the states when you’d walk into a restaurant on a hot afternoon and be greeted by a tall, cold glass of water?  And it’s free?  Well, that’s a luxury you’ll have to do without, I’m afraid.  During your time in Europe, ordering a water means getting a tiny, room-temperature bottle that you’ll have to pay for.

Drinking in public is totally fine: Having to pay for water definitely comes with some good trade offs though!  Most countries in Europe are very accepting of drinking in public (as long as you aren’t obnoxious about it), and it’s super easy to get away with drinking a couple beers on your way to the bar or sharing a bottle of wine at your favorite piazza.

 Getting lost is more of a blessing than a curse: Okay, walk two blocks to get to my apartment, and turn left at the cathedral…or was it right?  Didn’t I just pass this place? Everything looks so different at night…But that’s okay! Be it Florence, Barcelona or Paris, your host city has so much to see that you’ll completely miss if you don’t let yourself take the road less travelled and stray away from your walking routine.  Who knows – you may even find your new favorite bar and your new best friend!

Patience is key: In case you didn’t notice by being surrounded by amazing food and strange languages that you don’t understand, you’re in Europe now, and if there’s one Europeans can’t stand, it’s Americans who think they can make the entire continent run on their schedule.  Ha! Yeah, not gonna happen. Whether it’s waiting for your bill at a restaurant, getting stuck behind a couple that couldn’t possibly walk any slower or watching the clock for that train that is bound to come “eventually,” everything in Europe is just a littttle bit slower, and embracing it will make your time here a lot easier.

Friendships develop quicker: Back in kindergarten you probably met your best friend because you were both wearing red or had the same favorite Pokémon or something, and I’m happy to say that those days are back again.  Met someone at a bar who goes to the same school as someone you know? Best friends! Talked to someone from Maine, and you went there on vacation once? Friends for life.

Homesickness: You might get homesick, but then you realize the only thing you are missing out on at home is sitting on the couch and watching TV.  Trust me, you’re having more fun here.

Now is the time to live on the edge and seek adventure: Go out, explore, seek adventure.  Have a fun idea for a weekend trip?  Take it. For all you know, this may be your last time in Europe, so make the most of it!  Take those cheesy pictures, push your way through the ridiculous crowd at Mona Lisa – whatever you want to do; nothing is worse than going home and regretting the things you never tried.

You will get creative with ways to save money: Too afraid to check your bank account?Yeah, me too, which probably means that it’s time to think of ways to save money.  Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean you’ll have to starve yourself. I find that not eating out so much is the best way to pinch my pennies, so start making a habit of picking up ingredients and cheap bottles of wine at the store with your roommates and having dinners together!