This post will be dedicated to emphasizing that although IBS is a formal business trip, the amount of time to explore each city and do whatever you please is completely available. With 9 company visits over a span of 16 days in Europe, there was a very sufficient amount of time to get a remarkable “abroad experience”. In the Winter One Europe program, we had a total of about 6 days in London, 4 days in Paris, 3 days in Heidelberg, and 3 days in The Hague/Amsterdam. In every city, we got a free day to explore and roam as we wish. For someone like me, this was so awesome because I love to travel and experience different cultures.
In London, for the most part, all of our company visits were in the morning except for one day where we had two visits. With that being said, we were pretty much done with our day around the early afternoon each day. Having over 30 other students traveling with you makes for such a great time because there are always options for what to do. One day you might go with one group to check out some particular tourist spot and the next day you go with a different group to go find some delicious local food. The options are never-ending.
In fact, on New Years Day we had the entire day to ourselves. I decided to wake up early and go site seeing on my own. I grabbed my tube ticket and took off, just me and the city of London. This was one of the most impactful parts of my experience because it was so neat to explore and just be apart of the environment without having to worry about anything but yourself. Especially in a city like London. I went and did a tour of the Westminster Abbey and checked out Winston Churchill’s war rooms across the street. The experience is truly yours to make the best out of it.
In Paris, we probably had the most amount of free time out of all the other stops. This is where the sense of independence and exploration really took off for me. Getting a city tour on our coach bus the first morning we were there was great. We got to see the main attractions right away and as a group. Some friends and I then took it upon ourselves to explore the rest of the city once we arrived at the Eiffel Tower. We road bird/lime scooters all over Paris. This is another top memory of mine.
The scooters are so widely available in Paris and do not cost that much to use. Me and my friend who I met on the trip, Cole, took an entire afternoon riding around on scooters. We went around trying different foods, going to different museums, and shopping at different stores. This was by far one of my favorite days on the trip. The sense of freedom to do whatever you want while not busy with the course requirements is remarkable and so abundantly provided by IBS.
Heidelberg was our next destination. Although we were probably most busy in terms of company visits while staying in Heidelberg, we definitely got our time to navigate through the town and immerse ourselves in the culture. From visiting the castle in Heidelberg which was constructed in the 11th century to dining in a German brewhouse full of locals I was extremely satisfied with the abroad experience I got in Germany. Even though we got the least amount of time to roam, the company visits that took that time up, were 100 percent worth it.
Exploring the Netherlands
Our last stop in the Netherlands was another destination where we got plenty of time to check everything out. Although we stayed in The Hague which is about an hour away from Amsterdam, the public transit system in the Netherlands is phenomenal. So getting on a train to get to Amsterdam was just part of the fun. A few amazing things I got to do in Amsterdam included: see the Anne Frank house up close, ride a bike through the beautiful streets of Amsterdam (arguably my favorite part of being there), and all the unique people I was able to talk to from all over the world. I even communicated with multiple people in Spanish.
The time your given to do as you please is greatly provided and the options of what to do are unlimited. The amount of experiences one gets to encounter while on an IBS trip is priceless and the learning is never-ending. The itinerary was so perfect in all aspects. The balance of company meetings and course requirements meets perfectly with the amount of free time given. IBS truly makes an itinerary that satisfies both the business learning opportunities and culture diving.