Studying abroad is one of the greatest experiences in the world. There is nothing better than traveling around Europe with your best friends and making awesome memories. Currently, I’m studying abroad in Switzerland and I absolutely love it. This semester has been jam packed with travel, European eats and, oh yeah, some school work.
Before I left this past summer, I asked some of my older friends if they had any advice before leaving and the majority of them said to ‘bring peanut butter’. I’ve decided to expand on that list to help my future study abroad-ers for this spring semester and years to come.
BYO peanut butter.
Contrary to belief, not all grocery stores have an aisle full of different kinds of peanut butter. Most European grocery stories have one random brand of peanut butter. If you need your Skippy or Jiff, save some extra room in your suitcase.
Kebabs are not the only option.
A photo posted by xU xU(@xu3173) on Dec 20, 2015 at 4:43pm PST
You’re studying abroad, embrace the local cuisine and spend a couple more euros. Save the kebab as a last resort (or the perfect drunchie snack).
Oatmeal will become your best friend.
A photo posted by Spoon University (@spoonuniversity) on Oct 22, 2015 at 10:24am PDT
I’ve grown accustomed to having oatmeal for lunch if whatever we have at school isn’t appetizing. Oatmeal is filled with complex carbohydrates and can be doctored up however you like. Top your bowl of oats with a banana and a scoop of peanut butter for a filling and delicious meal.
The bread is 1368x better than American bread.
A photo posted by Noelle Hebb (@noellehebb) on Dec 20, 2015 at 1:55pm PST
Trust me, European bread is the bomb.com. I usually have an upset stomach after eating American bread, but I don’t have the same issue with European breads. Bread produced in America is so highly processed that it doesn’t have the same whole grains that its European counterpart has and therefore causes a different reaction in the stomach.
You are probably going to have to pay for water at a restaurant.
Try asking the waiter for tap water or a carafe of water. Waiters can sometimes be picky and will force you to buy water which is typically $4-5 depending on what country you are visiting.
Wine is cheaper than water at restaurants.
A photo posted by Food & Wine (@foodandwine) on Dec 16, 2015 at 2:09pm PST
Don’t forget to indulge in a cheap glass of wine with your dinner. The waiters will always have great recommendations for a wine that pairs well with your main dish.
It’s going to be hard to stick to a healthy diet.
A photo posted by JUICE PRESS (@juicepress) on Dec 21, 2015 at 9:27am PST
I studied abroad in the land of bread and cheese, can’t get much more difficult than that.
Açai bowls and avocado toast aren’t common breakfast items.
A photo posted by Tovita Nutrition (@tovitanutrition) on Dec 21, 2015 at 6:09am PST
The Acai and avocado craze hasn’t hit Europe yet, so you might have to make your own toast and smoothie bowls.
Make sure your debit/credit card has a chip.
A photo posted by American Express (@americanexpress) on Dec 11, 2015 at 9:01am PST
Some small towns don’t accept credit cards that swipe, and most shops in general require cards to have chips.
European food Instagrammers are key to finding cool local restaurants.
A photo posted by Ying C. (@applespoon) on Dec 20, 2015 at 4:26am PST
Check out the discover page on Instagram or search local hashtags for local foodie hot spots.
European coffee tastes better.
A photo posted by Evgeniya Iokar (@sex_on_water) on Dec 14, 2015 at 8:28pm PST
Once you have European Starbucks you will never want to have American Starbucks ever again. The coffee in Europe is so rich and flavorful, it makes American coffee taste like watered-down old coffee.
Nutella is everywhere.
A photo posted by FOODIE FAVORITES (@foodie_favorites) on Dec 21, 2015 at 11:46am PST
Crepes, waffles, breads, and croissants can all be found stuffed with Nutella. Pace yourself, or else you will be over it within the first month.
Flights are sometimes cheaper than a meal.
A photo posted by easyJet (@easyjet) on May 18, 2012 at 2:25am PDT
You can find flights for as little as 6 Euros depending on where and when you are traveling. Always use an incognito browser to search for flights or else the prices will increase depending on how many times you look at flight prices.
Oktoberfest is a must.
A photo posted by Califoodie Coops (@califoodielife) on Oct 3, 2015 at 1:24am PDT
Oktoberfest was like a giant frat party full of rowdy American college students studying abroad. If you are interested in meeting other Americans, the HB tent is the place to be. Make sure to get there an hour or two before doors open so you can get a table.
You can’t go to Italy without trying gelato.
A photo posted by Califoodie Coops (@califoodielife) on Nov 5, 2015 at 10:59pm PST
Gelato is practically on every corner. Make sure to look up the best gelato places in the city you are visiting and ask the servers for the best flavor recommendations.
Breakfast usually consists of a pastry and a coffee.
A photo posted by Califoodie Coops (@califoodielife) on Nov 21, 2015 at 12:29pm PST
You’re going to want to get used to having a small carb filled breakfast. Most people eat a quick breakfast and go off to work instead of having a leisurely breakfast of pancakes, eggs and bacon.
Always check out the local farmers market.
A photo posted by Anne&Dubndidu #DubndiduCrew (@annedubndidu) on Dec 19, 2015 at 1:43am PST
If you’re grocery shopping, make sure to check out the farmers market before heading to the store, the produce will usually be fresher and cheaper.
Bring your own measuring cups if you are planning on cooking.
A photo posted by My Sweet Violette (@mysweetviolette) on Dec 9, 2015 at 9:24pm PST
Recipes are usually in grams instead of cups and table/teaspoons. If you don’t want to use measuring cups, you can always purchase a small kitchen scale.
Spending all your money abroad is actually socially acceptable.
A photo posted by Coops (@coops1995) on Dec 13, 2015 at 11:07am PST
When are you ever going to have the opportunity to explore Europe again? YOLO so embrace it and replenish your bank account in the summer.
Carry extra coins with you because most public bathrooms cost money.
A photo posted by Divaholic lifestyle (@divaholic_lifestyle) on Nov 20, 2015 at 12:16pm PST
The public bathrooms are extremely clean and sanitary in Europe. The bathrooms are constantly cleaned by workers and therefore cost money.
Bring a reusable water bottle everywhere you go.
A photo posted by Nalgene Adventures (@nalgene_adventures) on Jul 8, 2015 at 8:03pm PDT
Switzerland has public fountains that are filled with drinking water. Many other countries have places for you to fill up a water bottle as well.
You’re going to get lost — embrace it.
A photo posted by @kayleighannthompson on Nov 11, 2015 at 7:53am PST
Having no phone service is a blessing and a curse. Sometimes getting lost will make for the best adventures and stories. Don’t fret, have fun and go with the flow.
Find Euro shot nights.
Take advantage of the cheap shot nights. Madrid, Florence and Heidelberg all have amazing shot bars that are cheap and fun. Ebb’s Cocktail Bar in Florence is the place to go for exotic shots, like the Nutella Banana or Apple Sombrero shot.
It’s okay to indulge and gain a few pounds abroad.
A photo posted by Spoon University (@spoonuniversity) on Dec 15, 2015 at 8:46am PST
Embrace the study abroad 15.
Always ask the locals for restaurant/cafe/bar recommendations.
The locals will always point you in the direction of a good eatery. Instead of looking at guide books, check out Yelp for up to date restaurant reviews too.
Restaurants with waiters egging you on tend to have subpar food catered to the tourists.
A photo posted by Califoodie Coops (@califoodielife) on Nov 5, 2015 at 11:37am PST
This is important especially if you are traveling to Italy or Greece (and really any major tourist city). The waiters will try and entice you to eat at their restaurant. Chances are their food isn’t that good or even authentic.
Do a pub crawl.
A photo posted by Juyoung KIM (@juyoung_stella_kim) on Dec 17, 2015 at 1:31am PST
Pub crawls are insanely fun, especially with a large group of friends. Make sure to do research before you go in order to find one that is worth the time and moolah.