Today I am here to tell you a story about a boy. The story is too painful for him to tell himself, so I was chosen to share it for him. Once upon a time, about four years ago, a boy from Marist College studied abroad here in Florence. You guys all know him- His name is Mike LaPorta.Mike had the time of his life that semester and traveled to places like Oktoberfest, the Amalfi Coast, and Interlaken, but did not make the time to go to Prague or Budapest. Some may not see this as that big of a deal. How cool canEastern Europe really be anyway? This ended up being the biggest regret of his life to that point.
Mike returned to America, as all study abroad students do, and began a summer internship at an advertising firm in New Jersey. Sitting at a desk doing paperwork was not quite the same as soaking in thermal baths in Budapest, and he could just not quite shake the idea of Prague and Budapest from his mind. Instead of focusing on his work, his time was filled researching pictures of these cities, and reading up on Wikipedia about all the incredible activities that can be done there. The only word to describe how he felt is devastated.
He could not get over the fact that a trip to Prague or Budapest while studying abroad is incredibly cheap in comparison to the price one has to pay when traveling there from America. His boss could not figure out what was wrong with him. He was sad and there was no way of helping him. Not taking advantage of cheap student travel is honestly one of the biggest mistakes a study abroad student can make.
As you all know, Prague is a must see while in Europe. I was there last week, and I am pumped to go back tomorrow. It is home to the largest medieval castle on the planet, and has the best nightlife in Europe. Budapest is an untouched city and is filled with thermal baths, exciting caving, and gorgeous scenery. Both countries have cheap Eastern European prices and you will spend less during a weekend in these cities than you will in Florence or Rome.
The best advice that I can give is to take advantage of every opportunity that is given while studying abroad. Instead of a new iPod for Christmas, ask for a trip to Budapest. It will honestly change your life and you will not have to spend your next semester as heartbroken and depressed as Mike LaPorta was crying over Google Images. So what would you prefer, looking at the wikipedia page of this, and this, or go with Bus2alps to Prague and Budapest.