So, this past weekend, my friends and I went on a rather interesting trip. It all started rather innocently- we thought we were going to plan a trip to Wales. It was close, they spoke English, and we wanted an easy first trip, to figure out traveling and become more comfortable with it. And then someone went on Sky Scanner and found plane tickets to Bergen, Norway for about 55 pounds. And within the hour, we had all booked tickets: six girls, nowhere to stay, and plane tickets to Norway. What.
We spent the next week frantically contacting everyone we could about hostels, apartments, hotels, cabins, and even campgrounds in Bergen. We found out that Bergen is the “Gate way to the Fjords” and had to Google what a fjord actually was. And before we knew it, we were in Norway. Just like that. I had always heard that traveling was one of the great benefits of study abroad, but I had never imagined myself going to Norway from London.
The whole town was very cute and very friendly. The houses were all lined up and colorful, just like I remember from the Norway section of Epcot. The apartment we found was very quaint and we got good student prices on our rooms. Thankfully, most people spoke English perfectly as well. The first day we hiked up Mount Floyen, one of the mountains that surround Bergen. The view of the city was absolutely breathtaking.
But being unsatisfied with that accomplishment, we decided to climb another, taller adjoining mountain. Don’t regret a minute of it. The next day some of us went on a fjord excursion, where we took a boat to Rosendal, through the fjords. They were a bit different than I had envisioned in my mind, but they were very majestic looking. In Rosendal, we hiked up a waterfall- again gorgeous. Almost all of us fell asleep on the boat ride back, exhausted from all of the hiking and exploring. We went out that night for dinner and then bought most of our souvenirs the next day. We made it back to London safe and sound and had classes the very next day.
Traveling is a very fulfilling and rewarding experience. While on the plane back from Norway, I realized how many different places I want to see. It is an expensive hobby, but I really believe that it helps you gain independence, confidence, and will create you into a more well-rounded person. I was a bit nervous before this trip; I was imagining everything that could go wrong. I’m hoping that by the end of my experience in London, traveling will just be second nature and anxiety can be replaced with whole-hearted excitement.
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<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">I was born and raised in Chicago, where I grew up learning about my Ukrainian culture and language. I currently attend the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and am studying Human Development with a concentration in Child and Adolescent Development. I play on the university’s club water polo team and synchronized swimming team and am active in the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. I have traveled internationally to Ukraine, Canada, and Mexico for vacation and Cape Town, South Africa for a service learning trip. In the future, I hope to continue my studies in law school, with the hope of one day practicing as a family law or child advocate lawyer.</span></p>