ISEP student Jessica Forlizzi is a part of ISEP Voices Spring 2016. She is a junior from East Carolina University, and is currently studying abroad at Universität Bern in Switzerland.
Many of you who are preparing to study abroad might also be thinking about what other countries to visit while abroad. How will you get there, and what is the most cost-efficient way? For those traveling throughout Europe, it’s extremely easy to get from country to country by any form of transportation. However, life is all about the journey, not the destination. My advice is that where you may be abroad, you choose traveling by train over traveling by plane.
In my travels thus far, I’ve had the opportunity to travel a great deal and via various types of transit. My most memorable times traveling were always by train. Being on a train gives you a plethora of opportunities that a plane cannot provide. You get to see many different views of the country. Some of the best views I have ever seen were traveling by train from one side of the country to the other side. Also, traveling by train can be very cost effective, especially if you take an overnight train and end up at your destination the next morning. Why pay for an extra night in a hostel when you can sleep while in motion?
Another reason traveling by train is so great is it gives you the real feel of a local. There are so many locals going about their daily lives; it is the perfect time to learn more about the culture of others. On one of my first long train rides, unsure of if I was actually on the right train or not, I prayed the guy next to me spoke English. Sure enough he did. Not only was he able to tell me that I was in fact on the right train, but we also had a very long and interesting conversation. He told me about his life in Switzerland, his family, what they do for fun and tips on traveling. This was the first time someone from my host country actually shared with me valuable information about the people who reside within the territory.
After this wonderful conversation, I was hooked on learning about the people who sat next to me because everyone has their own story to tell. It was not only a great way to pass the time, but also a way I could actually learn about international culture from their point of view. One time I sat next to a women who did not speak any English. She worked for a famous scientist who was trying to save the rain forests. She gave me pamphlets to read and invited me to join his next forum. Even though there was a language barrier, after some time we were able to communicate in other means to understand each other. On my most recent train ride back from a trip to Italy, I sat with a group of millionaire thirty-year-olds. During this train ride, a conversation developed into a friendship. Hopefully in the future, it might also help me with career opportunities.
Thus, taking a plane seems like the simpler route. Yet, if you are in love with the journey and the mysteries it holds, hop on the next train! It is cost effective and you do not have to arrive two hours before or go through security. It’s a way to meet and learn about others, and offers the greatest of views.
Are you ready for your own adventure? See all of your study abroad options on the ISEP website.
Want to see more from our ISEP bloggers? Learn more about our ISEP Voices Spring 2016 group.
Like this Story? Also like us on Facebook.