Benefit of studying in Europe: ease of weekend traveling

I don’t think there is any question that the last seven weeks have gone by the fastest of my life. Midterms are next week already, and I can’t believe my semester is approaching the halfway point already. It seems like just yesterday I was boarding the plane bound for Europe. However, amidst the classes and hoopla, I have been fortunate enough to have traveled to six countries in addition to Germany this half of the semester. While I started out on a trip to London, Dublin, and Barcelona before classes began, I have went on three weekend trips that have been nothing short of amazing.

Traveling in Europe is not only easy, but it is extremely affordable compared to US standards. For instance, I flew to Brussels, Belgium (an hour and a half flight) for 60 euros (~$60) roundtrip. Also, in addition to access to cheap flights, buses and trains also are great options to travel to any city in Europe as well. I have went on weekend trips to Brussels, Amsterdam, and Prague this half of the semester and I will give my thoughts on each destination.

Brussels: This was a city that I didn’t initially have on my list of places to go, but after having been there, I can’t believe it wasn’t! Brussels is a charming city that has a lot of culture and history in the city center. It’s refreshing to see a city that has its historical buildings intact (not destroyed by WW1 or WW2 as is the case in Germany and many other countries). From visiting the Atomium to eating Belgian waffles to seeing the city center at night, I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Belgium!

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Amsterdam: Ah yes, the world-renowned party city. If you know someone is going to Europe, there’s a good chance Amsterdam is on their list of places to go. The city is known for its historic canals, the Anne Frank House, the Red Light District, bicycles, and much more. I went to Amsterdam in the middle of February (the supposed tourist off season) but I was amazed at how many tourists were there! It was almost suffocating and I can’t imagine the place in the summer. Nonetheless, highlights were taking a canal and bike tour, as well as visiting the Anne Frank House, something that I think everyone should do in their lifetime. I had a lot of fun in Amsterdam, but I must say I think it is a little overrated. Outside of a few sites, I think there really isn’t much you can do in this city that you can’t do in any other European city. I had fun, but I don’t think I would rave to someone about Amsterdam. This is personal opinion, but hey, its my blog!

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Prague: If anyone ever says anything bad about Prague, they will have to answer to me. I went to Prague just this past weekend and I had the time of my life. Situated on the Vltava River, this picturesque city is a must see. Having recovered from communist rule during the Cold War, Prague maintains a blend of Eastern and Western Europe. The rich history of Old Town Prague and the Prague Castle is as unique as it is fascinating. Highlights included the bustling Old Town, the nightlife, and the view of the city from atop the Petrin Lookout Tower. The Czech Republic, although it is a member of the European Union, still uses the koruna as currency, and thus the country is extremely affordable for Europeans and Americans. Prague is a must-see place that should be on everyone’s European travel list!

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