It seems like everyone is going on the European vacation of our dreams this summer, indulging in delicious pastas, pizzas, and wine. This makes the prospect of staying in a ghost, err, I mean, college town over the summer not the most appealing. Well, what if I told you that you could bring the “European Summer” to your own lifestyle at college? I can’t transport you to Europe, but there are so many ways to start romanticizing your summer into one you’ve dreamed of your entire life. From cooking classes to wineries to fruit picking, there are so many ways to add some of Europe into your life this summer. Get ready to have the picture perfect summer and romanticize your college town to the next level.

Step one: attend a cooking class

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There's nothing that feels more like living the European summer dream than going to an Italian cooking class down the street. Whether you find a local studio, restaurant, or kitchen supply store, you’ll have the best time and even better food. You can bring new skills home with you and dedicate your summer to using those new skills by throwing a small dinner party. Sur La Table has a variety of cooking classes that will make you feel like you’re in the French Riviera or the blue waters of Croatia. I promise that after you go to a cooking class or two, you will be feeling like you went to Europe and back. If you’re going to follow any step of this guide, this is the one. What better way to pretend to be in Europe than to eat your way through the experience? The food is all you would remember anyways… 

Step two: spend the evening at a winery

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Spending the evening at a winery will def get you in your European summer feels, trust me. Being surrounded by the lush fields of grapes, perfect sunset views, and glasses of wine calls for a quintessential European night, no matter where you are in the world. You are probably surrounded by more wineries than you think. If by chance there isn’t one near you, you can always find a wine tasting class or wine bar nearby that gives those same European feels. As long as you’re with some friends, learning about different wines, and getting a little tipsy, you’re doing it right. A lot of these places might even have happy hour deals as well, so no excuses, get up and go with your friends pronto!

Step three: check out flea & farmers markets and art shows

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Think small, vintage shops on the coast of Greece, bargaining, and finding things for much cheaper than you would at a store in the states. Flea markets are just what you’re looking for, and they take place pretty much everywhere. Not only will you find great vintage items and support amazing local shops, but there are usually bomb food trucks at these markets as well. Flea markets are always a fun time and truly feel like you are roaming the streets of another country. Throughout the summer, there are usually also tons of farmers markets and art shows. Art shows are fantastic because you are indulging in different cultures’ art, and if you love any of the art enough, you can bring it home and add some new culture to your lifestyle. This is a great way to explore different regions of art and make your summer feel a bit more diverse. Plus, you get to walk around for free at a nice park and window shop, regardless of if you buy anything or not. 

Step four: go fruit picking & picnicking

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This is another super fun summer activity that transports you to a European state of mind. Find any ol’ local farm near you and walk around, pick some berries, and have a picnic at the park. This is fun, inexpensive, and turns your Saturday into a dream come true. Fruits like blueberries, peaches, and strawberries are all in season right now, so go get dibs on the freshest ones. I promise this activity will remind you of a classic Italian day, and you could even pack some fresh squeezed juice, a speaker, and some card games with you and the day will be a forever favorite. Top the day off with an Italian movie, like Call Me By Your Name, and by the end of the day, you won’t remember what country you’re even in.

Step five: walk around a local park

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As simple as this may sound, going for a nice walk in a park nearby often can feel like you are in another city, or even country. The sights seen throughout some parks are beautiful and unexpected a lot of the time. If you can find a park with flowers scattered throughout the grasses, that’s a bonus. Being surrounded by nature is the perfect way to emerge yourself into another mindset. Bring some of your freshly picked fruit, and eat it along the way to feel even more like a local European. Often, we don’t realize the beauty of the Earth that is right in front of our eyes, but if you start looking for it, you will start to appreciate where you live more than ever before. 

These five steps should get you started on feeling like you are living out the European summer of your dreams in no time. I promise, these things will make your summer much more enjoyable and will make you feel like a local European.