World Traveler at 21

It's been an incredibly long time since I've written a post for We Are IU - sorry! Whilst being abroad, I'm almost always busy traveling, studying or exploring to do much else. However, my program is quickly coming to an end, and I thought I'd share some of my traveling experiences with you all. I have a feeling that choosing to study abroad will undoubtedly be the best decision I make throughout all four years of my time at IU. The experiences I've had and the people I've met have been incredible and have made the last five months pretty extraordinary.

Studying in England has made it easy for my friends and I to travel to many different places. Here's just an overview of what I've been up to the last five months!

AMSTERDAM

Back in February, several of my friends and I took two coaches and a ferry to Amsterdam. I wouldn't necessarily recommend taking a coach to Amsterdam from England as I spent about eight hours on a bus and we drove through the night. For those of you thinking about studying abroad and visiting Amsterdam, just fish out a little more money for a flight. You won't regret it.

Now that I've finished all my traveling, I can now honestly say that Amsterdam was my favorite city. I don't think I realized that while I was there, but after reflecting on that trip, I really did fall in love with Amsterdam. It's a pedestrian's and biker's paradise. The city is so walkable and the canals really are just as magical as they're made out to be. I loved the relaxed atmosphere of the city. The weather wasn't the best while we were there, but I was able to visit the Anne Frank House, and that was incredible. (It's nine euros well spent!)

DUBLIN

In March, two friends and I flew to Dublin the week before St. Patrick's Day. We took advantage of the free walking tour our hostel provided and saw most of Dublin in three hours. The weather wasn't the best in Dublin either, but the people were great! I think visiting Trinity College (especially the library) was the highlight of that trip. 

We also took a day trip to Howth, a little fishing village north of Dublin. When the weather's nice, lots of people do cliffwalks, but as we were there in March, we never really had the chance.

PARIS

At the beginning of May, just before our exam term started, my friend Colte and I took the EuroStar to the Gare du Nord station in Paris. We were only there for a few days, but we were able to see a lot. I honestly think we ended up walking about 40 miles in the span of two days. Paris is beautiful and there's so much to see! (It is pricey, though). Also, the metro is just about the most confusing thing in the world.

BARCELONA

I just got back from my trip to both Barcelona and Berlin. Barcelona is undoubtedly my second favorite city I've visited. The weather was stunning and the views are just unbeatable. We took advantage of another free walking tour that ended at the Sagrada Familia cathedral - no picture will ever do it justice. Unlike Paris, Barcelona's mstro system is very easy to navigate. Another thing about Barcelona - it's actually a lot cheaper than you may think. 

BERLIN

I actually flew to Germany in April to visit family, but they don't live in Berlin. Barcelona satisfied our craving for warmer weather and beaches. Berlin satisfied our sightseeing, history-loving side. We never took a walking tour in Berlin, but we utilized the metro a lot. We visisted the Berlin Wall, Checkpoint Charlie, the Brandenburg Gate among several other landmarks. It's a gorgeous city!

Overall, my study abroad experience has led me to discovering so many different countries, as well as opportunities to travel throughout England. I have quite a long list of things I'll miss like public transportation and great chocolate. But I'm excited for those of you who will be traveling abroad soon, whther it be for a summer, semester or year! IU offers great programs - check them out!!

If you're interested in a more detailed summary of my experience abroad, I have a personal blog (Simply Substantial) where I write longer posts about the countries and cities I've visisted. 

Enjoy your summers, Hoosiers! 

--Gillian

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About The Author
Gillian WilsonStudent Blogger

Hello all!

My name is Gillian Wilson and I plan to graduate in May 2015! I'm double majoring in International Studies, with concentrations in Western Europe and International Communication and Journalism, with a specialization in Global Journalism. 

I'm currently secretary of IU's Online News Association and was a Welcome Week assistant for both my sophomore and junior years. I also served on Teter Quad's Board of Programmers as a freshman. I'm very focused on my studies, but I enjoy venturing out to 4th Street restaurants and shopping on Kirkwood! 

Join me as I share my university exprience with you! I'll be studying abroad in Canterbury, England, during the spring semester, so make sure you come back to read about my adventures abroad!