When studying abroad first popped into my mind, I had a million different things I wanted to do. As soon as I decided to study in Spain, I dove into the top 10 lists and travel guides to find fun things to do. After some more research and scrolling through Instagram, I have compiled a short list of what I believe are “must-do’s” for any student studying abroad. No matter what your site is, make sure to add some of the following to your bucket list!
Food. As a foodie at heart, this one topped my list before even determining where I would go abroad. No matter where you are coming from or where you are going, it is essential to take your taste buds on a journey abroad with you. What better way to immerse yourself in a new culture and tradition than quenching your appetite with a flurry of authentic flavors and wonderful aromas right from the source? I know I cannot wait to try Iberian Serrano Ham and enjoy Tapas and conversation.
Museums and Historical Sites. I believe a great way to step into the culture of a new place is to look toward its history. Many sites have museums dedicated to giving visitors such a glimpse into the past. These museums and historical sites allow one to drink in a lot of the vibrant culture that cannot be otherwise observed. Additionally, these are often cost-effective activities for students abroad compared to the amount of time you can spend on them. In addition, historical sites like plazas and streets offer experiences you will not want to miss. I personally cannot wait to check out Plaza Mayor when I arrive in Salamanca.
Churches and Other Places of Worship. Additionally, some sites have a plethora of churches and other places of worship, which boast some of the most ornate architecture from periods of old while standing erect beside more conventional buildings. I think these different styles of architecture combine to form a beautiful mosaic of culture past and present. Many of these churches and chapels stand as one-of-a-kind monuments, such as the Capela dos Ossos (Chapel of Bones) in Évora, Portugal. In Salamanca, students such as myself will get to explore Catedral Nueva and Catedral Vieja.
Festivals and Celebrations. Many sites have annual festivals, events, or celebrations that will happen during your stent abroad. This allows one to witness the blending of modern culture and tradition firsthand (not to mention, these events also usually have the best food!). I recommend grabbing some friends and attending a festival or two while you are abroad.
Big Cities. If your site is not a large city already, many sites are in close proximity to a large city that is also full of fun things to do. For example, those studying in Salamanca are only a two-hour train away from Madrid.
This list only offers a small taste of what you can include in your general abroad experience, but I hope it gave you some ideas and made you even more excited about your upcoming experience abroad.
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Kai da Luz
My name is Kai da Luz and I am a current sophomore at Villanova University who is studying in Salamanca. I love to play volleyball and am a major foodie.