If I Were To Go Abroad All Over Again

T-minus 1 week folks. That’s right, the London Internship Program is almost over! Sigh. 

As I reflect on my experience here, I notice that there are a few minor modifications that might have made my experience even greater. So, here are a few easy peasy things I wish I had done differently:

  1. Eat More 

It seems like 30% of abroad is spent listening to others talk about how abroad has made them gain weight. I have heard endless conversations about having too much pasta, cheese and bread. Here’s the thing: whenever I decided to get something that seemed healthier, I always left the restaurant feeling disappointed. One major part of abroad is the delicious variety of foods! Don’t deny yourself that experience. Plus, your body is smart enough to tell you what to eat. You are going to crave salad or pizza, depending on what you need. Also, so much of abroad is spent walking, so there is no need to worry about burning calories.

Enjoying a street bratwurst with ZERO GUILT!
  1. Explore the U.K. More

Flying here, I imagined myself traveling around Europe as a whole, instead of just the U.K. I felt pressure to visit a bunch of different countries. I forgot that the U.K. region has so many amazing places as well. Instead of buying expensive tickets to fly to Spain, I could have just taken a cheap train ride to Edinburgh or the Cotswolds. Plus, London is packed with different activities —totally enough to fill up 14 weeks. I didn’t realize that there was so much at my fingertips!

I mean… look how cool London is! Why travel???
  1. Take part in more BU events 

At the beginning of abroad, you get a list of student activities that you can sign up for. My favorite times abroad have been the BU trips. I went to Brighton, Cambridge, Bath, Scotland and York with BU! I also saw two musicals through BU and went ice skating. These activities are great because you don’t have to do any of the planning. You can sit back, relax and get to know other students in the program. I wish I had signed up for more! 

Enjoying the BU Scotland trip with fellow COM student, Stephen! 
  1. Go beyond your BU friend group 

When you are in a new place, it’s super easy to stay attached to the people you know. I often planned trips with friends from Boston and remained by their sides for these past few months. However, the program is filled with amazing students who aren’t in the COM internship program, and some students who don’t even go to BU. I wish I had reached out to the new people I met in my classes and planned outings with new people. 

Stepping out of the COM bubble and hangin’ with new friends in Lisbon!
  1. Travel solo 

Being abroad can be nerve-wracking! Everything is unfamiliar. Therefore, I always wanted to have someone by my side, so something felt familiar. I even asked friends to go grocery shopping with me! This past weekend, one of my roommates took a trip on her own. She described it as a relaxing experience. She did everything she wanted to do (rather than doing what others wanted) and developed a deeper understanding of herself. I wish I had planned at least one small trip with just me, myself and I.

Feeling free in Cambridge! 
  1. Bring warm clothes & comfy shoes

Don’t be fooled by London not getting Boston-level snowstorms! London is CHILLY! I wish I had packed a few more warm coats, scarves and hats to walk around in. In Europe, I felt like I had to be a fashion queen! However, I learned the hard way that comfort comes before style. I found myself with many blisters after wearing hip shoes for miles of walking around new cities. I wish I had just worn my tennis shoes and not worried about looking cool. Also, all the traveling took a toll on my clothing. I have small rips and stains on all my pants. I wish I had packed clothing that I didn’t care about getting dirty. 

My friend Brad all bundled up in Ireland.
  1. Stop doing it for the ‘gram

As COM students, we are pretty darn good at social media! However, while abroad, it can feel like you have to craft perfect social media posts of you doing all the amazing things you are doing. I often found myself posing for fun Instagram pictures, rather than actually enjoying the view. I wish I had stopped obsessing about getting the perfect photo and lived in the moment.

Oh no, here I go taking yet another picture. Smh.
  1. No regrets!

Welp! This point completely contradicts the rest of the blog! Oops! But, it needs to be said! 

These past few weeks, I have been dwelling over whether I did abroad all wrong. As I scroll through others’ social media posts abroad and watch the weeks fly, I begin to feel filled with regrets: 

I should have gone to Vienna, I knew it! I should have gone to Vienna. Should I book a trip to Vienna? Oh no! I forgot about Budapest. HOW COULD I FORGET ABOUT BUDAPEST? But wait, I haven’t seen Hugh Grant. I need to find Hugh Grant first.

As the British would say, I’m going mad! But is important for me to realize that there’s no correct way to “go abroad.” I have learned so much here and got to see so many stunning things. I should give myself a pat on the back and be comforted by the things I have done, rather than worry about the endless things I haven’t done. Besides, who can do everything? 

Good luck on your future abroad adventures! 

Peace! -Hannah 

Abroad isn’t about skydiving and meeting famous people; it’s about the small moments, such as trying on sunglasses with buddies.

Hannah Schweitzer, Study Abroad Correspondent

Hannah Schweitzer is a junior studying Advertising with a minor in Film/Television at Boston University. She is currently studying abroad in London and interning at Catsnake, a viral video and storytelling agency. In her free time she enjoys performing improv comedy with BU’s Liquid Fun, hosting her sex positive radio show, Love Is On The Air, and eating York Peppermint Patties. Hannah is a COM Ambassador and is happy to answer any questions about life in COM at hschweit@bu.edu!

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