The last three consecutive weekends, I have left Bristol to take weekend trips: First Paris, then Wales, then Berlin. This weekend I have finally been able to relax a little and enjoy all that this wonderful city has to offer. One Bristol student recently created a stunning time-lapse of main attractions in the city, and watching it made me realize how much I have grown to love my new home in Bristol.
As I'm now about halfway through this study abroad adventure, I feel as though I can give some useful advice to prospective study abroad students. My advice is this: Find a balance between traveling and taking the time to explore what's right around you in your own city. At this moment, I feel like I've found the perfect balance, but I know that if I had taken any more weekend trips, I would have felt like I was missing out on experiencing Bristol. One of my best friends who studied abroad in Florence last semester gave me some great advice before I left. She told me to stay put in Bristol for the first month, because that's when genuine friendships are built - It's the time for you to establish a connection to your new home.
I took her advice, and couldn't be happier that I did. Looking back, I've realized that in my first month I made friendships that have been a defining part of my study abroad experience. I had so much fun just exploring Bristol and following my flatmates around to all the best spots in town - after all, what better way is there to assimilate than to do as the locals do?
Your time abroad is precious, so I can only recommend that students make the most of it however they feel is right. But if I've learned anything from the past few months here, it's that finding the right balance between travel and local exploration makes for a fulfilling and amazing time abroad!
Until next time-