FALSE. One thing I never thought about was all the free time we would get during the trip. I knew we had scheduled free days, but the business meetings and presentations rarely lasted two hours. This meant free time and lots of it. The business meetings were very beneficial to my education, but my favorite memories from my trip come from exploring and experiencing the different countries. Although, some of the business presentations were pure fun too: like the wine tasting (Valpantena Winery) or the beer tasting (Erdinger Brewery!)
So do you do with all that free time?! A bunch of us girls went white water rafting in Innsbruck, Austria while others went snowboarding and skiing. We explored the Alps, visited castles, and went to the zoo in Innsbruck too. All my favorite photos are from Austria (it was absolutely breathtaking).
In Italy we ate a lot of food. We also went horseback riding in the vineyards outside of Verona after visiting Giulietta’s house from Romeo and Juliet. Yes, we even stood on the balcony. Make sure to get a picture rubbing her statue: it brings good luck!
We had a full free day in Venice too. Go explore the waterways via gondola! In Geneva we watched the European Soccer Finals, which was such a fun experience! Try to immerse yourself in something local, it’s so cool being involved with people around you.
Bring good shoes for France, because you’re going to do a lot of walking. Designate at least four to five hours to see the Louvre. It is so beautiful and so beyond amazing. Climb the Eiffel Tower. You heard me. Walk up all those steps. You do have to take an elevator to the very top, so you might as well treat yourself and take the elevator all the way back down. But the views of Paris are spectacular from the top. By the time we got back down to the ground, it was time for the tower to sparkle! It was so beautiful, definitely something to check off the bucket list.
Our free day in Paris consisted of seeing the Arc du Triomphe, closed metro lines, overly crowded buses, and Disneyland Paris. One other girl and I spent hours at Disneyland and encountered no lines, and lots of happiness. I’m a Disney geek, so I was in heaven all day!
In London make sure to go on the London Eye and look at all the world-famous views. You’ll see the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, the business district and in the distance stands St. Paul’s Cathedral. A group of us went to the Imperial War Museum, which I highly recommend seeing. My nights in London were spent on the West End of the city. If you’re not familiar, the West End is London’s version of Broadway. The first night we saw Wicked, and the third night we watched Les Miserables in the theatre where it originally premiered. I am also a Music Major, so I was completely entranced with the shows.
Obviously, there is a ton to do while on your IBS trip! Make the best use of your time abroad. Remember you can nap and catch up on sleep when you get home. When else will you see the Mona Lisa or Big Ben?!