Auburn Family

10 Things Everyone Says While Studying Abroad

Whether you’re in Brussels or Barcelona, be prepared to say all of these.

1. “Do you have Wi-Fi?”

One of the biggest dilemmas study abroad students face is how to use their cell phones. International data plans will rack up hundred dollar charges in a matter of minutes, so most students can only use their smartphones when Wi-Fi is available. This results in asking, “Do you have Wi-Fi?” at every restaurant, museum, store, or really any building you enter.


2. “How should we split the check?”

Often followed by, “Do you have a 2 euro coin?” Splitting checks is an American phenomenon, so in most foreign countries the responsibility is up to you. Unless you have a wealthy friend that will foot the bill, you will usually have to fork over an oddly specific amount in cash.

3. “7 hour bus ride? That’s not too bad!”

Cheap travel is synonymous with long bus and train rides. While you might groan at the idea of spending 10 hours on a bus in America, the low prices are too good to pass up when you’re traveling overseas.

“During your first few weekend trips, you may think a five hour bus ride sounds miserable, especially when you arrive at 3 a.m. But after a few weeks, it becomes routine. Soon enough, you're doing 12 hour bus rides and it's nothing!” said Ally Arrigo, a junior at Ole Miss who spent her summer in Florence, Italy.

4. “Can I borrow your adapter?”

Electrical appliances have different shaped plugs overseas, so American electronics are useless without an adapter. With phones, computers, and hair dryers to plug in, multiple adapters are a must.


5. “No free refills?”

In the land of the free and home of Coca-Cola, a can of soda costs $1.50 tops. Overseas, soft drinks can be much more expensive because they are imported from the United States. A can of Diet Coke at a restaurant will usually cost around 4 euros, with no free refills!


6. “I want Chipotle.”

Studying abroad gives you the opportunity to eat gelato in Rome, ratatouille in Paris, and fish and chips in England. Even with all the delicious local cuisine, you still might crave a taste of home. For some students this craving comes sooner rather than later.

“By day three of my host mom’s mysterious grey chicken recipe I was experiencing full on Chipotle withdrawals,” said Peggy Bruner, Auburn senior who spent three months in Spain.


7. “Can you give me directions… in English?”

Living in a foreign city inevitably means a lot of time spent getting lost. Maps are often hard to read, especially if they’re in a foreign language, and your trusty “maps” application on your iPhone is useless without Wi-Fi.

“None of us were any good at reading maps, and we never could pull up the GPS on our phones, so we always tried to ask the locals, even though we rarely understood them!” said Caroline Given, junior at Auburn University who spent last summer traveling around Italy.

8. “Can I ride your Vespa?”

You won’t have a car overseas, so getting anywhere involves a lot of walking. In older cities, cobblestone streets can make the walk to your favorite cafè quite literally a pain. After a few weeks of walking with sore feet, a Vespa ride from a local is quite tempting.


9. “Can you believe we’re really here?”

There’s nothing quite like sitting on the bench where Augustus and Hazel from “The Fault in Our Stars,” once sat. Actually seeing works of art you’ve read about and living scenes you’ve seen in movies will leave you in awe.


10. “Sorry mom, I’m never coming home.”

After a semester abroad, you can’t imagine life without your new friends and endless adventures outside your door.  You can always just “accidentally” miss your flight and stay forever, right?

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