It was a three or four mile walk, almost all uphill. But once I saw the striking monument in the distance, it didn’t matter. The journey tested my endurance but along the way I saw horses that I could pet, the first speed limit sign I have come across, and oh yeah, what’s that? A bus stop right next to the monument Sttudying abroad is all about traveling and the experiences you take from it. Here are a few tips on how to make your travels a lot easier and a lot less stressful.
The actual Penshaw monument
I know you’re probably thinking, “But being abroad is all about being spontaneous and in the moment.” Trust me. Planning ahead gives you the opportunity to figure out transportation and what sites you want to see.
The country side I saw as I was walking with my flat mates to the monument
Quality over quantity
This may be an old adage. But it’s an adage for a reason. To put it in context for studying abroad: It may seem like a good idea to travel with a large group of people, but don’t. I would stick to traveling with four people max. When you are with a large group you either get stuck going to places you don’t want to go or just not accomplishing much at all. Find some friends that have the same interests as you that want to go to the same places. It will make your time traveling that much more enjoyable.
A close-up of one of the friendly horses I was able to pet along my way to the monument.
Don’t forget to explore in the city you’re staying in!
Often times, people are so concerned with seeing other locations that are within reach from their university that they don’t pay as much attention to the city they are in. Well I am hear to tell you that it is okay to stay in your city on weekends! It doesn’t mean that you are wasting your study abroad experience. Rather, you are gaining a deeper understanding of the culture you decided to immerse yourself in for a semester or two.
My first speed limit sign that I have seen in England. Pretty different from the ones in the U.S.
Although I ended up walking three to four miles to the Penshaw monument, located right in Sunderland, when I could have taken the bus, it was well worth the walk. Once I had climbed the last stretch up to the monument, it felt like I had accomplished a huge feat. I was more grateful to experience the monument and all of its colossal glory. A little extra planning may have made the trip easier, but with a couple of friends and a sunny day a quick trip can turn into a great adventure.