Factual vs. Actual: How Study Abroad is Way Different Than I Thought It Would Be

Written by Carley February 8, 2017

Gondola Rides in Venice


It’s officially week three (time really does fly when you’re having fun) and now that I’m basically a local (not even close), I think it’s a good time to share what I thought studying abroad was going to be versus what it actually is. So for those of you who are interested in studying abroad or if you just want to laugh at how many times I’ve been wrong in the past two weeks, feel free to proceed with this blog.

1. I probably should’ve taken that Italian dictionary my grandpa tried to give me a little more seriously. Remember that Italian dictionary your grandpa tried to give you? Yeah that would’ve been really useful during the 10-minute conversation you had with the cleaning lady that ended in two confused faces and an incorrect Google translation. Speaking of Google… how about that Wifi you thought you were going to rely on for directions because you don’t believe in looking at maps? That probably would’ve came in useful when you rode a water taxi around Venice until 5 AM because you “knew where you were going.” This basically sums up my next point that…

2. Gelato is easier to find than free Wifi. Free wifi is easier to find than service from T Mobile. Your phone/service will work the same they (T Mobile) said… you have unlimited text, calling, and data they (T Mobile) said… Needless to say I should’ve called Paul from Sprint so I wouldn’t have had to ask my friends if they could still “hear me now.”

3. Traveling with friends brings me to my next point- Traveling in Europe is easy… Making travel plans with a group of friends is not as easy. So I’ve come to realize I’m more of a big picture thinker- I want to go to a country, therefore I need transportation and a place to stay, right? No. It’s so much more than that. If you’re taking a train/plane, you need to find transportation to get you there, back, and everywhere in between once you get to your destination. You have to make sure where you’re staying is near the places you want to visit and if not how you will get there or how you’re going to tell your taxi driver where your going if he or she doesn’t speak English.

4. Pizza delivery is not a thing. Twenty minutes on Google (so thankful for CIMBA’s Wifi), 5 phone calls, and two disappointed girls later, I found out the hard way if I want pizza here, I should probably order it before 10 o’clock and be willing to go pick it up.

5. Despite popular belief, you can actually get sick of carbs. Coming from a girl that could eat Italian bread with butter and pizza for every meal, I have officially carb-ed myself out. With endless pasta and bread at every meal, I never thought I’d say it but… I think me and carbs need to take a break. Thankfully there is endless Capicola and Prosciutto to fill my void for the time being.