I was fortunate to be able to study abroad for a full 9 months instead of just one semester, which allowed me to be a bit more relaxed about my travel. For instance, I have been able to see and do a ton of different things around my city (London) instead of trying to travel around Europe most weekends. I’ve been able to see 5 different plays/musicals on the West End, do seriously every tourist attraction possible, and just enjoy the city that I’m living in.
Of course, I also travelled around Europe, but lately I’ve been reflecting on choosing to sacrifice travel in order to study, which has been difficult to do. Before I left the US for London, I made a list of cities/countries that I absolutely wanted to see. I’ve been able to see most, plus a couple I wan’t planning on as I met friends who live across Europe, but I did not hit all of them. Specifically, I was very set on going to Germany, Austria and Poland, and my family originates from these areas of Europe. I had originally planned on using the next few weeks to hit the remaining places on my list, but ultimately I’ve had to decide to stay in the UK.
For anyone who may not know, the exam system here is very different. I took 4 year-long courses with no exams and very little coursework throughout the two terms. However, my final exams are each 3 hours long and 100% of my final grade. We have a full month off from classes before exams begin to study, and originally I thought that would be plenty of time to travel as well, but man I was wrong.
It has been difficult to sit back in London and study every day while I see others choose to travel during their final weeks, but I think ultimately I needed to remember that this is study abroad, and I can’t forget about my classes and grades. I’ve been able to see some absolutely amazing places, and I’m glad that I’ve been able to travel and study, even it meant sacrificing some places on my list at the end.