Getting to study abroad is an amazing travel experience in itself, but why not take advantage of the opportunity to see more? There are many factors to consider before you plan to leave your home away from home; I’ll go over some of the most important.
First, how long is your program? If you’ll be there for a whole semester, there will be more time to go a bit farther and properly space it out so you don’t get overwhelmed. We were in England for a six-week summer program, so the best option for my classmates and I was to keep travel relatively close, within the UK and Ireland. But believe me, there is plenty to see! A quick train ride north of Cambridge took me to the town of Ely, where I got to explore their amazing cathedral, pictured above. I spent the weekend popping into local shops (my favorites were Waterside Antique Centre and Lemon Tree Deli Cafe!), walking along the beautiful riverfront, and visiting their museums. Each little town, whether it’s country or coastal, is unique and worth the visit. Of course, London is filled with possibilities, as are the other nearby big cities of Edinburgh, Scotland and Dublin, Ireland.
Second, what kind of program are you participating in? Mine was focused on academics, but there are also students that go for an internship or research. Each of these has its own amazing benefits! Studying at an international university offers the irreplaceable opportunity to take classes not offered at your home institution and get unique perspectives on topics of your interest. That being said, you are expected to study outside of class time and complete assignments just like any other semester, which can make certain kinds of travel more difficult. If you’re going to be at an internship or assisting with research, you will most likely have a bit more free time on your hands. Oftentimes their schedule functions as a typical work week, leaving you with more opportunities to make farther and longer trips elsewhere.
Taking this into consideration can help you prioritize what you want to accomplish during your program with the added travel you wish to do. Many of my classmates, like me, preferred a stronger academic focus while keeping to relatively local travel. On the other hand, some students ended up realizing they would have preferred more time to see places like Amsterdam, Paris or even Morocco without worrying about exams and deadlines. Thankfully, Arcadia offers connections to many different programs with varying types of study, length of stay, and location!