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7 Strange Things When You Study Abroad

This summer, I studied abroad in Italy for a month and traveled to Barcelona and Amsterdam when the program ended.  I could tell you how amazing and beautiful Europe is, but I’ll let you Google image search that instead (or take a trip yourself!).  Instead, here a few comical and creepy things I picked up on while enjoying the European culture.  

Stop trying to make jorts happen.  They’re not going to happen.  Europeans refuse to let the trend die, while Americans refuse to let it in, thankfully.  I saw hot Italians wearing jorts, families full of jort-wearers, and men wearing japris (jean capris).  The point is everyone, and I mean everyone, wore them (while sporting the Macklemore haircut).  Maybe American girls hate them just because we associate them with rednecks and gangsters, but bottom line, they are ugly.       

Take that Hard Rock T-shirt off, please.  What matches a pair of jorts better than a Hard Rock shirt?  Apparently, nothing.  It could have been because there are so many Hard Rocks in Europe, and I admit, it was kind of cool to see where everyone had been.  But no, just no.

Maybe if you grunt a little louder?  A giant group of American girls is impossible to ignore, but we could have done without the catcalls.  Whether it was a whistle, a shout, or a grunt (gross, yet hysterical), we heard it all.  I’m not saying American men don’t do this, as well, but most have a little more class.   

The winking isn’t working.  I’ve always questioned winking, and then I went to Italy.  Whether it’s through texting or social media (with that cute emoji), Americans wink all the time.  But they never wink in real life, unless you’re that creepy guy across the bar or an old person, or both.  In Europe, it’s like a thing to wink.  My friend saw the same Zach Galifianakis lookalike a few times during a weekend in Cinque Terre, and he winked every sing time.  Then again, he was with a woman, who could have been his wife as easily as his sister based on the strong resemblance.

But my plane leaves in an hour… and I hadn’t even been checked in, yet.  My friends and I were first in line due to sleeping at the airport, too.  When the attendants finally strolled over, chatting on their cellphones, everyone was in a panic, besides me.  In my mind, nothing was worse than going home luggage-less (long story).  When traveling through Europe, keep in mind lines are long, and no one cares if you have to reschedule a flight due to not having your boarding pass printed (good luck finding a printer in Europe!).  

I love it when you don’t wear deodorant.  A Hard Rock shirt is so much worse when it stinks.  In Italy, deodorant didn’t seem to be a necessity.  If you wore it, great, if you didn’t, whoops.  Public transportation was the worst when the guy who insisted on pressing his body against yours (while staring at you nonetheless) smelled gross.     

If I tap the waiter on the shoulder, will he bring the check?  Italians would dine forever is they could; time is nonexistent at meal-time.  This is one of the reasons customer service is unimportant, especially at restaurants.  The waiter will take your order, and that’s about it.  I would wave like a fool for 10 minutes straight for the check, which eventually led to chasing the waiter down.

I hope each and every one of you have the chance to explore Europe to find yourself, discover a new world, and learn to truly appreciate all you have in America.  At the same time, find your own weird and funny situations to laugh about along the way.

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Avalon Swindell Jones

George Mason University

Avalon is a senior at George Mason University, majoring in communication with a concentration in public relations and minoring in both business and electronic journalism.  She has been writing for Her Campus since fall 2011, allowing her to discover her passion for writing.  Her favorite topics to write about are relationships, embarrassing moments, and nights out.  
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