You might be wondering why I’m writing a blog post about planning out your trip when
the applications for the Winter study abroad programs haven’t even closed yet, but trust me when I say that you need to plan early. Planning isn’t just thinking about all of the fun you will be having exploring five different countries; it’s preparing yourself for the trip of a
The Company Visits
The most obvious (and most professional) preparation that you need to take
before your trip is to research the companies that you will be visiting. Don’t save this
until the last minute! If you do, I can promise that you will get wrapped up in one
company’s history that you find especially interesting and the next thing you know, not
only have you not packed but you’ve only investigated the first half of the company
list…AND your flight leaves in the morning. You don’t want to be the student that
shows up knowing nothing.
Remember, you’re traveling to some of the most interesting culinary locations in the
world. So let’s talk about my favorite thing about traveling – the food! When I
participated in the Winter One Trip last year, there were so many times that the group
was stuck on the hotel’s Wi-Fi trying to find a last minute restaurant that would show us
the culture of the area.
One of the neatest experiences for me when I visited London was
taking a trip to Borough Market. I found it when I was on Pinterest looking up things to
do in the different cities I was visiting. It was such a cool marketplace that one of the
leaders on the trip said that he will be going back the next time he’s in London. Also,
when you’re eating out in foreign countries, don’t be afraid to branch out with what
you’re willing to try. Whenever I was in Heidelberg, Germany, I tried the meal below. It
was a goat cheese and apple chutney type dish. Unfortunately, it tasted like an old dusty
house, but the dumpling in the top of the picture was the dish’s savior.
Plan Free Time
You should also be planning out some events before you leave for your trip. I have some
quick examples of plans that I made for my trip. In London, a group of us went on a pub
crawl; you can find businesses online that host weekly pub crawls all over London. In
Paris, go to the top of the Eiffel Tower. You can buy tickets online and not going was
one of my biggest regrets from my trip. In Amsterdam, schedule a wine and cheese tour
to learn about pairing and the history of cheese in The Netherlands. The company that I
used for this was Reypenaer and I was very happy with the tour.
And don’t forget, these plans don’t have to be set in stone since you will make many more friends who may also have plans in mind. But, if you feel like you cannot leave the country without a specific experience and no one wants to come with you, go by yourself! I spent a half-day in Paris, France doing just that because my friends weren’t ready to wake up early.
It may seem premature to prepare for a trip that is two months away, but you will not
regret it. Please feel free to contact me personally or leave questions in the comments
section for any more planning tips!