Take Time to Travel While Studying Abroad

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Studying abroad in one country doesn’t mean you have to stay in that country. Students share with us how they were able to study abroad to the fullest by taking trips throughout Europe.

Our office was contacted by a student about a month ago about a program that allows students studying abroad in Europe the opportunity to travel to different countries. The program is called Bus2Alps and it’s a tour company located in Europe. Currently it provides more than 25 destinations in Europe and North Africa. So instead of experiencing one country through your study abroad, you have the chance to travel with other study abroad students to fully enhance your experience. If you need something to do for the weekend or want to plan a trip for spring break, students we know are going on adventures with Bus2Alps.

To learn more about what this kind of opportunity can offer, we have two students sharing their experiences with Bus2Alps.

“I traveled nearly every weekend.”

Rachel Bergan, University of South Carolina

My name is Rachel and I am a senior at the University of South Carolina. I am majoring in fashion merchandising, and after I graduate I hope to work for a company that specializes in either fashion PR or fashion journalism. This past semester (spring 2012) I studied abroad in Florence, Italy and it was the most amazing experience of my life. Everything from the food, to the culture, to the traveling contributed to an exciting, eye opening, and life changing experience. I encourage, no insist, that everybody study abroad at some point while in college. Whether you do a year, a semester, or a summer break, it is a once in a lifetime opportunity that will change your life. Never in my life did I ever imagine that in less than four months I could make it to over 20 cities in five different countries, and I am so grateful that studying abroad gave me that opportunity.

Traveling was definitely what I enjoyed the most about my study abroad experience. Due to the large amounts of students who study abroad each semester, there are many tour groups that offer student travel to top destinations around Europe. These tour groups are becoming more and more prominent in popular cities like Florence, Rome, Barcelona, and London. While there are popular tour groups in many European cities, the one that I have found to be the best is Bus2Alps.I traveled nearly every weekend when I studied in Florence and after taking multiple trips with Bus2Alps, they proved to me why they are the superior student travel company in Europe for several important factors.

“I signed my name on the Lennon Wall in Prague, Czech Republic.”
  • What you get for your money: While the initial cost of booking with Bus2Alps looks higher than the cost of booking with competitor companies, you end up saving money when traveling with them. On the trips that I took with Bus2Alps breakfast is included in the booking price almost every time, and usually a dinner is included as well. The cost of additional transportation (such as ferry rides, train rides, etc.) as well as a tour and/or activity is also included in the booking cost. While the initial cost of competitor companies looks to be less, there are lots of hidden costs included in the trips. When traveling with Bus2Alps, I felt like I got what I paid for on every single trip.
  • The trip leaders:Many people who I know choose to take trips with companies like Bus2Alps because of the ease that traveling throughout Europe becomes. Much of this ease is due to the amazing trip leaders. They have all studied abroad, are knowledgeable on the destinations, and are 110% dedicated to showing you a great time throughout the duration of your trip. The trip leaders have amazing knowledge on the best sites to see, restaurants to eat at, and bars and clubs to party at each night. The leaders are enthusiastic, readily available and helpful, and always want to be involved in showing you a good time. Rather than sending you off on your own, they want to join in on the fun with you and help make your experience trip that much more memorable. Each and every member of the Bus2Alps team wants to make sure that not only each trip you take is memorable, but that your entire study abroad experience is.

    Rachel with friends in Munich, Germany at the annual Springfest.
  • Travel Destinations: Throughout the time that I studied abroad, I traveled nearly every weekend. I took multiple trips with Bus2Alps throughout the semester. For my Spring Break I traveled with them on a Greece island hopping adventure to Corfu, Athens, and Santorini, where I was able to do everything from cliff jump into the Mediterranean Sea, climb to the top of the Acropolis, and admire the beautiful sunsets in Santorini. I hiked the beautiful cliffsides of Cinque Terre and signed my name on the Lennon Wall in Prague, Czech Republic. At the end of the semester, I accompanied Bus2Alps to Munich, Germany’s annual Springfest (or Frühlingsfest as the Germans call it) for one of the most wild and memorable weekends of my life. My friend and I danced on tables to traditional German music and drank beer from the largest beer steins I have ever seen! I loved every trip that I took and it’s crazy to think that these destinations are only a small fraction of the trips that Bus2Alps offers. You can travel with them on their award-winning Amalfi Coast trip; to skiing and skydiving in the Swiss Alps in Interlaken; and ride camels in Morocco. Other trip destinations include Ibiza, Budapest, Amsterdam, Ireland, Croatia, and the French Riviera. The destinations are endless!

Throughout my study abroad experience, Bus2Alps not only provided me with fun trips to take on the weekends, but they played a large part in making my study abroad experience so memorable. I urge anyone who studies abroad to check out the Bus2Alps website and explore the countless destinations that you can travel to. I promise you, it will be worth it!

Patricia Garcia in Greece

Patricia Garcia, Puerto Rico

Spring break: probably my favorite time of year. This would be my first time spending it in Europe with my best friends and we were at a loss for where to go. Being that we are all from Puerto Rico, we had not adjusted well to the cold Madrid weather and knew we wanted to go to a warm place for spring break, where we could possibly go to the beach. I suggested traveling to the Greek Islands, but with all the political turmoil going on at the time, we were worried that a trip there would not be safe.

We had been living in Madrid for three months and had traveled to Portugal, Belgium, Morocco, Switzerland, Paris and all over Spain together. I had traveled every weekend with my same three friends and we had come to realize that traveling brought out the best and worst in us, so when we were planning our Spring Break 2012 trip, we were all hesitant to spend an entire week together, alone. Our goal was to meet new people and feel like we were going on a real spring break trip, like we would have been on back in the United States.


Cliff diving in Corfu, Greece

My friend who was abroad in Florence and had already went on her spring break  trip suggested traveling with Bus2alps. We had never heard of the company, but after doing research we realized Bus2alps offered everything we were looking for. All the travel, food and accommodations were covered and we would be traveling with a group of students our age for an entire week. Bus2alps offered Spring Break trips all over Europe but once I found out they had a trip to the Greek Islands, I was set on convincing my friends that was the trip we had to go on. I had been to the Greek Islands before on a cruise, fell immediately in love with them and promised myself I would one day come back. I convinced my parents that the Greek Islands were safe and not affected by all the political riots going on in Athens and told them that we would be traveling with trip leaders the entire time, so we would have some sort of supervision. I knew that this was the trip my friends and I were looking for, to a warm location where we could go to the beach, and even convinced my friend who was living in New York City at the time to join our trip. Three weeks later, we would be on our way to beautiful clear waters and quaint island cities.

Red sand beach in Santorini, Greece

After planning all my trips, sleeping in hostels, spending a fortune on food and transportation, I liked the idea of having an entire spring break trip planned for me where I did not have to worry about any of these things and could actually relax and fully enjoy my trip for once. Even though I had already been to Greece, Bus2alps made my experience there completely different. Our first stop was the island of Corfu, where we went to a private beach, got to cliff dive from a 75ft cliff and even attend a real (pink) toga party with local Greeks. In Santorini, we went to the Black Sand beach, the Red Sand beach, and I even got the chance to celebrate my 21st birthday at a local bar. We also went to Athens for a day but thankfully things had calmed down by then and we did not encounter any problems. We got to see the Parthenon and the Temple of Poseidon.

Yet all the traveling and sight-seeing was not my favorite part of the trip- it was meeting so many amazing people that I would not have gotten a chance to meet had I not gone a trip with Bus2alps. I met students my age who were abroad all over Europe, even a girl from my sorority who went to a different school and two people who were studying abroad in Madrid like us. Our trip leaders also made the trip worthwhile, making us feel comfortable, safe and being always available for anything. Since they were so close to our age, they felt more like older brothers to us than they did paid “supervisors.” Traveling in a bus for a week with 50 other people brought us all so close and by the end of it we all felt like a family of nomads. I still keep in touch with most of them and we plan on visiting each other.

“I recommend it not just to people who are studying abroad, but anyone planning to travel to Europe in general.”

Even though I had already been on a similar trip, Bus2alps made my spring break the most fun trip I had ever been on during my entire semester and exceeded my expectations. Traveling in a bus for a week with 50 other people brought us all so close and by the end of it we all felt like a family of nomads. I still keep in touch with most of them and we plan on visiting each other. I can honestly say I wish I had known about Bus2alps sooner and gotten the chance to travel on more trips with the company. It is an amazing company that will guarantee you an experience of a lifetime and I recommend it not just to people who are studying abroad, but anyone planning to travel to Europe in general.



[button link=”http://pinterest.com/isvmagazine/isv-magazine/” size=”large”]To view more photos from Rachel and Patricia, click here to visit our Pinterest board![/button]

10 thoughts on “Take Time to Travel While Studying Abroad

  1. Glad you got to travel around so much and see so many things. However, I hope someone also writes an article about how great it can be to stick around in the city/country where you chose to study abroad in the first place. In the end, you usually call this another home and know it just as well.

    1. Thank you for your comment. We have several other articles of students sharing study abroad experiences where they didn’t travel as much. If you do know of students who would like to write articles about their time studying abroad we would be more than happy to publish them. We appreciate your constructive comment.

      1. I would be happy to write an article about my experiences living in a small Japanese city for three years, if JET Program posts are acceptable. If not, I could write about my study abroad years ago.

        There’s enough hype in study abroad about visiting a dozen cities during your study abroad summer but I must question what the benefit is when study abroad looks more like a spring break trip. Is it just to say “I’ve been here and done that?” We need to highlight long-term indepth study for those are the students who will uncover their host country’s true culture.

        1. We would love to read about your experiences in Japan. ISV Magazine is written by students, for students. We encourage all students to share their thoughts and experiences. Thank you for reading.

  2. I always wished I could have taken a trip when I was in school to Europe. Luckily I had the chance to live there and it was an experience of a lifetime. I will always encourage friends to visit. Great post

  3. One of the worst stereotypes of study abroad is this “EuroTrip” attitude – hoping from one country/city to the next via bars and buses. This article highlights absolutely no actual value of studying abroad, unless dancing drunkenly on tables in Germany or going on “a real spring break” is a high priority.

    (Also, in terms of ethical journalism, how much did Bus2Alps pay for this article???)

    1. International Student Voice is an online magazine written by students, for students. Students wanted to share their experiences with this program. We appreciate your opinion and if you know of students who would like to write articles about this issue we would be more than happy to publish them.

    2. This is a great article! Peter as a former study abroad student, I took the opportunity to travel around Europe while in my study abroad. It wasn’t anything like the movies you have watched and the stereotypes you have in your mind. There is nothing wrong with taking weekend trips with your friends and see a different place. One has the whole week to connect with the culture of the place where he/she studies. Students pay a lot of money to attend universities, and how they chose to spend their free time while studying abraod it’s up to them. This magazine is the students’ voice and they have the right the express themeselves as they wish.

  4. While I agree it’s important for students to make new friends and immerse in a new culture, learn a new language, etc. while studying abroad, it’s not very often students have the opportunity to travel to Europe. If students want to travel to a new place for the weekend, why not? It presents the same opportunities to meet new people and learn new things. Just like EVERYTHING else in life, there needs to be a balance. Should you travel all the time that it starts to negatively influence the goal of your study abroad? No. Should you take advantage of this opportunity? Yes. If study abroad advisers are that worried, talk with your students before they leave.

  5. My husband and I will be going in November as well. This will be our secnod trip and we will try to get to Versailles or Giverny this time. There really is so much to see and do in Paris, you may find that you do not get a day trip in. We went for 8 days the 1st time and did not.

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