Let’s be real — studying abroad can be a blessing and a curse. Yes, it provides us the perfect opportunity to “find ourselves” (by that I mean finding our favorite foods across Europe) but, also causes us to blow our hard-earned babysitting money on the finer things in life: food.

For those of you who have already started planning and going on trips, you know the struggles I’m talking about. However, for those who haven’t left their university yet, let me break it down for you.

Phase 1: Planning  

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Forget about studying for a test, you’ve got a food adventure to plan. Grab your laptop, hit up Spoon University and and start planning your European food adventure.

Phase 2: Pre-Departure Stress

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Okay, so you might have barely passed that test but it’s okay because pretty soon you’ll be on a plane, train or automobile to London, Paris, Rome, who knows! All that matters is that your stomach will be very happy for the next few days.

Phase 3: The First Bakery

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One thing America lacks is bakeries with quality. The bakeries in Europe will make your mouth water in seconds. Don’t get a big pastry at one bakery, get small ones from multiple bakeries to ensure you get a full spread of goodies.

Phase 4: Guilt

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You’re going to have to put your diet on hold if you want to enjoy as many foods as possible. Who cares if you go off your diet for two days? Embrace the flavors and the ingredients, but don’t embrace the guilt. On the bright side, the flour used in baked goods, pastas and breads is different than the highly processed US flour — that means no bloating, which means no guilt.

Phase 5: Realizing You’ve Spent Too Much 

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That moment at 5 am when you get a text from your dad saying you’ve spent too much money the past week. Yes, maybe I went a little overboard, but how else am I going to get a full foodie experience?

Phase 6: Carb Craving 

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Your first German pretzel, real Italian spaghetti, and Parisian croissant will all be memories that you will never want to forget. You may need new jeans, but I promise it’s worth it.

Stage 7: Savoring the Food Adventure

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Don’t forget to take something home with you, especially if you have a long flight or train ride ahead of you. Go back to your favorite bakery, cafe or restaurant the day you leave and grab something to snack on.