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HC Abroad: 5 Ways to Navigate a Foreign City

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Miami (OH) chapter.

Her Campus contributing writer Paige Powell has taken her studies this semester to Seville, Spain. She shares her experience abroad with us, from advice on navigating a foreign city to European fashion and food. Whether you’re also abroad or looking to do so in the near future, check out what Paige has to say each month for a little dose of what it’s like to explore way beyond the OxBox borders.

When traveling to a new place with a new atmosphere, especially in another language, you are going to find it a tad more difficult to go about your everyday life. You will find yourself dealing with language barriers on a day-to-day basis. Getting lost in a foreign city is extremely easy, but every winding turn and sharp corner just makes it that much more worth it when you finally arrive at your destination. Believe me, I know. I recently gained some lovely advice from one of my professors here in Seville and that is to just roll with it. It’s different, weird and sometimes uncomfortable. But hey, it’s a new dawn, a new day and a new city — go out there and try something new. Even when you get lost, just roll with it.

Here are the 5 best ways to navigate a foreign city:

1. Get lostLet’s be honest here this is probably the first time you have ever been to this city. Nobody speaks your language. You’re bound to get lost. Whether you are trying to find a restaurant, a place to go for cocktails or even if you are just taking a nice stroll, you will get lost. Getting lost will only improve your awareness of the city, though. Once you figure out those confusing winding turns, you will be on your way to being a leader in navigation.

2. Bike tour

A fun and interactive way to get to know a foreign city is a bike tour! Many main cities in Europe have them. Seville, Spain is known for their large amount of bikers, as it is one of the most popular bike cities in Spain. A typical bike tour consists of city sites, popular places to eat, common activities and historical monuments.

3. Walk through the back streetsIn a foreign city, going all the way around to get from one place from another can be long and tiring. Instead of taking the main route on a map, try going through the back streets. And as a bonus, you will likely be able to discover new restaurants, boutiques and more!

4. Take new routesDuring the first few weeks you are visiting a foreign city, try to take a new route at least every other day. Taking a new route can lead to new monuments, new views and a new perspective on the city. You never know what hidden gems you may find.

5. Ask localsLast but not least … just ask! Asking locals for directions, especially if you are in a country with a different language, can be beneficial in more ways than one. It can also be one of the easiest ways to get to where you want to go. You’ll get to practice your language speaking skills, find out the easiest way to go and maybe even make some new friends.

All in all, traveling in an unknown city can be scary, yet exciting! Explore the streets and go on your own adventures to find the best sites and views. Remember, there is no better way to get to know a city than to get lost in it.

You can visit Miami University’s Study Abroad web page to find your own experience, or go to the Study Abroad Fair on Monday, September 29 from 4-7 p.m. in the Armstrong Pavilion.

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Paige Powell

Miami (OH)

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Ellie Conley

Miami (OH)

Ellie Conley is a senior at Miami University. She is the current Editor-In-Chief and the former Publicity Coordinator for the Miami (OH) Chapter of Her Campus.