Hot Girl Bummer: Study Abroad Mistakes and Mishaps

Bri Ferracciolo
July 6, 2022

Alright, we've gotta keep it real here. Studying abroad is AMAZING, and so much fun. It's a HUGE learning experience, especially when you start traveling, experiencing new places and cultures, and doing things on your own. I've had a blast so far in London (more on my overall experience in another blog) but let me tell you, it has not come without a few mishaps and misadventures. I figured I'd share them, just in case anybody reading can learn from my mistakes, or maybe just needs a good laugh.

Let's start with my trip to Positano, Italy. I planned and booked my weekend trip a little last minute, and the flights weren't super ideal, but I was dying to go to Positano, since it's been on my pinterest board for years. I departed on a Saturday, was supposed to get there at around 6:00 p.m., have an evening, spend all day Sunday there, and then leave Monday morning. Well, as it usually happens with budget airlines, my Wizz flight was significantly delayed. It's a good thing though, because I was a bit late to the airport. Due to the rail strikes I had to take a weird arrangement of trains, and I accidentally got on a thameslink train that was not actually stopping at Gatwick. I had to get off, figure out the right train, and then finally get on the right one to take me to Gatwick. Then once I got there, I was so confused about where to go,  AND I was flustered trying to get my liquids out of my backpack and into a little baggie that they require. Once I figured that all out, I couldn't find the gate. I didn't realize that they weren't announcing it yet, so I walked around the entire south terminal looking for it. If you've been to Gatwick, you know that it is pretty big, and the walking distances can be long. FINALLY,  I saw on one of the monitors that the flight was super delayed and the gate wasn't announced yet. I was really hungry, so I went upstairs and waited in line for about 20 minutes to eat at Wagamama. The ramen was flavorless and overall really bad. A colossal waste of money, if you ask me.  I finally got onto my flight and flew to Naples. From Naples I had to take a shuttle, which I frantically bought a ticket for online, and that took me to the train station. Then I had to take a train to Sorrento. The train station in Naples is giant, so I wandered around for almost 30 minutes just trying to find the right train. Then I didn't even know I had to get a ticket.  Eventually I figured it out, bought my ticket, and was on the way to Sorrento. At this point it was almost 9 p.m., so I was kissing my night in Positano goodbye. I made it to Sorrento, managed to escape the train station, and paced around outside trying to find the bus to Positano. I finally got to ask a bus driver, and as it turns out, the last bus to Positano had already left, and there were no more. I panicked. 

It's embarrassing to admit, but I had a bit of a meltdown. I started crying outside the train station. Not crying... SOBBING. It had been a really stressful day, I'd spent a lot of money, I was supposed to be blissfully eating pasta and sipping wine in Positano, but instead I was stranded. That was until my hero, a kind older Italian man, approached me at the station and cautiously asked if I was okay. He asked in English, rightfully assuming that I was a lost and confused American. Between sobs I explained to him that I needed to get to Positano but didn't know how, and he helped me ask a cab driver to take me to my hostel. The cab ride was only about 25 minutes but it was 70 euros. OUCH.  I couldn't get it together and kept crying in the back of the cab, and the driver was very concerned.  I was also frantically emailing the hostel because I had missed check-in time!!! I literally thought I'd be sleeping on the streets of Italy or something. I got to the hostel safely and was able to check in. At this point I was starving, and emotionally exhausted. However, the girls in my hostel room were already asleep, and I felt so bad about leaving to get food and potentially waking them up again, so I just crawled into bed and grieved my night in Positano. I ended up having a really great day the next day, but boy was it a pain to get there. It wasn't very fun getting back to London either. 

I've heard from other people here about missed flights or trains, reservations booked for the wrong days, getting on trains going the wrong way, etc. The moral of the story is that, sh!t happens!! I've lost some money on silly mistakes, taken the tube the complete wrong direction, seemed like an absolute idiot at a pub not knowing how to order, making reservations for drinks at 2:30 on a Wednesday because military time confuses me, and a few more inconvenient situations. I've walked 45 minutes from my hostel in Croatia wearing sandals (resulting in blisters), I've had my phone die at 11 p.m. when I'm clear across town and had no idea what bus to take, I've called the River Thames "the canal" (this is really, really embarassing) and I've broken into a British accent jokingly before realizing I'm in London. I've also almost burnt my dorm down by plugging in my Revlon OneStep without a voltage converter, and I showed up to Italy without a European adapter. 

The best thing you can possibly do when these things happen is to laugh at yourself. It'll all be a funny story someday. As long as you are safe and healthy, you are okay! If you make a giant error somewhere, you are not the only one. The money will come back, and your ego will heal. You'll never be this young and studying abroad ever again. 

Some advice?  Try to book trips in advance. Do your research on the locations of hostels or hotels, and don't just book the first or cheapest one you see. Read reviews! Utilize a buddy system. Carry a portable charger with you. Take a picture of your passport, and also print it out, just in case. Double & triple check your flights. Get to the airport early.  Set alarms to remember to check in for your flights. Download CityMapper. Don't ever try to out-drink the English or Europeans. Have fun, be spontaneous, but keep your wits about you. Travel mishaps are unavoidable no matter what, but this is how you learn and gain confidence. I'm easily a much more confident person now, especially when it comes to travel! The important thing is to breathe, keep your cool, and just keep swimming!! 

Bri Ferracciolo

<p>Hey! My name is Bri Ferracciolo, and I'm a junior at Indiana University Bloomington studying Media (specifically Digital Production). I'm a lifestyle creator on youtube, instagram, and tiktok sharing my college experience and daily life. I love all things wellness &amp; mental health, skincare, productivity, and of course travel. Outside of college &amp; content, i'm obsessed with dogs and reality tv, plus I'm a foodie!</p>

2022 Summer 1, 2022 Summer 2
Home University:
Indiana University
Carmel, IN
Film Studies
Media/Media Studies
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