My Top 10 List While Studying Abroad
1. Visit the Amalfi Coast in Italy
Whether it is just for the day or for a weekend get-away, the Amalfi Coast is a sight worth seeing. The coast is lined with stunning Italian homes that reach the tops of the mountains. Not to mention the seafood is fresh from the ocean and tastes amazing. Even though traveling with a large group of friends can be challenging at times, it makes things like renting a boat for the day easy and inexpensive. Inside the city itself holds hundreds of small local shops that are worth exploring. Tables line the city square where you can find old antique artifacts, jewelry, paintings and much more. The ocean is crystal clear and the perfect temperature to swim in throughout all of September.
2. Go to Oktoberfest
Although Oktoberfest only runs for the last three weekends in September, it is at the top of my list for things to do while abroad. Thousands of people from all over the world travel to Munich dressed from head to toe in dirndls and lederhosen to attend the festival. Once the doors open at 9 am, a stampede of people flood through the gates to get a table inside the tents. Once inside, the music begins playing and beer and pretzels can be purchased. Outside of the tents, huge amusement park rides fill the street along with tents that sell traditional German food.
3. Go to museums and historical sites
Even if you’re not a history fanatic or art lover it is necessary to visit the museums and historical sites a city has to offer. Each city is unique in its own ways and is built off of the fundamentals that you can find in these museums. Some of my favorites so far include Piazza della Signoria in Florence where many of Donatello’s works can be found, The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and the Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna. They are all must-sees when traveling abroad!
4. Go on tours (most cities offer free ones!)
Even though tours can seem strenuous and overdone at times, there is so much to be learned through them. Each city I travel to, I like to go on a tour of the city to not only learn how to navigate the city, but to also see the history behind the city. Each tour I have been on has been very informative and helps me gain perspective of what it is like to live in these magnificent places.
5. Ride a gondola in Venice
The city that is surrounded by water is a perfect place for a gondola ride. While traveling around the city can be somewhat difficult, considering there are no cars; only boats. Taking a ride on a gondola is a great way to take in the city itself and navigate to other parts as well.
6. Wine Tasting in Tuscany
There are many wineries in the countryside of Italy that are great for day trip excursions. Wine tastings often include a chance to taste three separate wines, antipasto and a tour of the winery. These experiences are great to see what Italy is like outside of big cities like Florence, Rome and Venice.
7. Eat Gusta Pizza in Florence
A small Italian restaurant on the other side of the river has one of the best pizza in town and is suitable for anyone. Even though their menu is small, (about 7 options of pizza) the food will not disappoint. The pizza is made from a traditional brick oven and makes others hard to compete.
8. Bike tour through Munich
Throughout most European cities, biking is a popular way of transportation. When traveling in Munich, a relatively large city, a bike tour is the best route in order to see what the entire city has to offer. The tour goes through the city center, parks, and rivers accompanied with a great bike tour. The tour even stops half way through at a traditional German eatery where they serve potatoes, mac and cheese and schnitzel.
9. Ice bar in Amsterdam
Amsterdam is a huge city with so many things to offer. One of my favorite experiences in the city was going to the Ice Bar at night. The bar itself is made purely of ice and is kept at extremely low temperatures. Once given coats and gloves, the bar is a great place to sit, relax and enjoy an ice cold drink with friends!
10. Do something you typically would never do
Take a cooking class, learn to paint, talk to a stranger! I’ve found that, although it is difficult to do in a foreign country, trying new things has made my experience all the better. Jumping out of your comfort zone can be especially hard in a new place but is imperative to having the best time possible.
Siobhan is a Fall 2017 SAI Florence student from Muhlenberg College.