Living European life back home

Whether it’s for a semester, a year, or a summer time spent studying abroad is easily the happiest, most carefree period in a young person’s life.   If you are in Europe it’s hard to ignore the joie de vivre, the true zest for life that Europeans seem to have mastered.   

Here are just a few European “happy life” tricks to bring back to America post Study Abroad:

1. Slow Down – Abroad life moves at a totally different pace than real life and it’s a welcome change.  In Italy getting a massive coffee to go so you don’t have to slow down your day is never in the cards.  So take a tip from the Italians and sit down and really enjoy your coffee, company, a good book, whatever it is – there will still be plenty of time to get things done. 

2. Enjoy life’s treats – Whether it’s a fresh croissant or an extra scoop of gelato, take a little time to enjoy some treats.  They say French women don’t get fat and you certainly won’t find them depriving themselves of goodies.   There’s a whole book on how that works, but the important thing is to treat yo’self every once in a while. 

3. Find beauty everywhere – When you wake up every morning and look out your window to a view of the Pantheon or casually pass the Eiffel Tower on your way to class it’s easy to let the world surprise you with it’s beauty for a few moments every day.  That incredible feeling of being completely awestruck by your surroundings shouldn’t have to stop when you come back to America – whether it’s an exceptionally beautiful Indiana sunset or the snowcapped, majestic peak of Mount Rainier on the horizon, don’t forget to let America blow your mind every once in a while too. 

4. Unplug – Although there are plenty of ways to affordably keep in touch with friends and family back home while abroad, take advantage of the chance to remove the device that’s attached to your body like an extra appendage in the US.  Since a lot of services do cost more abroad, it’s so freeing to not have a cell phone distracting you and your friends all of the time.   

5. Make new friends – When you’re abroad everyone seems more interesting - you’re in a new place, meeting new people with new backgrounds and interesting stories.  In the US it’s so easy to stick your earbuds in and tune out the world, but all around you there are people just waiting for someone to strike up a conversation.  They may not have grown up on the streets of Madrid, but their stories are just as interesting. 


Don’t let your return to America get you down, there are so many great lessons learned in Europe that can easily be brought back to the states with you!


Lauren Wallender, Elon University

Happy Backpackers

I definitely have WSA to thank for my exceptional experience in Amsterdam. One would think 4 days isn't enough to tour a city but WSA facilitated an optimum weekend full of sightseeing and fun. Amsterdam may have a notorious reputation for its lax drug and sex culture but there‚Äôs so much more to the city. Luckily, our tour guide, Arthur, native to the Netherlands, steered us away from the tourist traps and showed us around his beloved city, highlighting all of its gems. I'd definitely like to try other WSA trips in the future. It's hassle free traveling with an awesome itinerary - nice that the tour guides are flexible with the schedule and willing to cater the itinerary to the group's interest! Highly recommend WSA to any student with only a weekend to see a city.

Lauren Wallender, Elon University ~ Fall 2014

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