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A “Sensational” weekend with study abroad faux pas

This past weekend, my friends and I decided to meet in Belgium for the weekend. There was a huge concert going on in Brussels, and my Wisco friends, home friends and abroad friends all seemed to want to go. So we made our way to the French/Dutch/German speaking country (which of course I could not communicate in).

Sensation, formerly known as Sensation White, is a huge concert in many cities in Europe, with Brussels hosting the biggest one every year. Well-known DJs come from all around the world to create a crazy atmosphere for hours on end. Sensation requires everyone to wear white, so of course my friends and I used this as a perfect excuse to shop, shop, shop!

On Saturday, 9 p.m. – 6 a.m. marked the exact hours of the concert. I have attended my fair share of fiestas throughout the years, but never have I partied with 45,000 people in one room. The lights were flashing, the dancers were on stage, and the people were raging.

I had a Sensational night, and I would do it all over again if I could! But, here are a few things I learned from this vacation and overall study abroad faux pas…


1. Don’t pay too much
. When studying abroad, you are your own travel agent. In many circumstances, planning trips is the hardest part about being abroad, so you must learn to do it. Traveling from Sevilla to Madrid can be the same price as the trip from Sevilla to Prague. With limited funds and limited time, you try to fit in as many cities in Europe as possible, but most people go about it the wrong way. I am halfway through my abroad program, and I can confidently say I can become a travel agent in the future with my skills. I wish I knew about Edreams, Spain’s version of Kayak, or the ability to fly out of nearby cities before. Overpaying for a flight is a classic rookie mistake, which I have made plenty of times, but it doesn’t need to happen as long as you use all of your resources. Ask professors — they teach you absolutely nothing, but they sure know how to get around Europe!


2. Don’t forget your ticket.
I can say from experience, forgetting any type of ticket, plane or concert, always leads to drama. At our five-star Holiday Inn Express hotel in Belgium, my friend called out for all of us to get our concert tickets immediately before we forgot. Being the type to forget, I immediately grabbed my ticket from my purse and put it in my pocket for the night. As we began to frolic to the concert, we stood in line as they checked all of our tickets. When it came to be my turn, I reached in for the ticket, unfolded it and realized I brought my airplane ticket instead. Frustrated with me, my friends and I went into panic mode. The man checking my ticket had seen that I was from the United States and believed I had flown from the States for this event. The poor guy noticed my minor freak out and let me go in without a ticket. I got really lucky, because in most circumstances, the Europeans do not care about any sort of issue, especially if it concerns Americans.

3. Buy the correct bag size. With all the cheap flights in Europe from country to country, the way they get you, I have decided, is with the European luggage rules. RyanAir, an Irish low-cost airline, is the most popular in Europe. The man has made millions from his passengers. Unfortunately, RyanAir has a strict “one carry-on” rule, and no, it’s not okay to hold your camera — I’ve tried. The dimensions of this bag are so precise, and if you are at all over, you automatically have to pay the sixty euro fee.

I’ve made many mistakes about traveling. Now I feel as though eight weeks in, I finally get it. We shall see — next week I’m off to Barcelona, Zurich, Paris and Rome!

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