The summer just may be the best time of year to study abroad– the weather is great, you get to wear your brightest summer threads, and longer days mean even more fun squeezed into each day. But many summer study abroad semester are only a few weeks long– so how do you make sure that you take advantage of all that a summer studying abroad has to offer?
Don’t worry– I’ve put together the ultimate summer abroad bucket list. If you can check each of these ten must-do’s off by the time you fly back to the states, then congratulations– you had an absolutely epic summer abroad.
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1. Swim in every body of water possible
Whether your summer study abroad semester is in a city that has fabulous beaches or will be landlocked for miles, be sure to get your butt to as many bodies of water as possible, and take a dip in them! Traveling in the summer time is expensive, so this summer abroad may be your last shot at swimming in the Adriatic for quite a while (unless you’re up for frigid temps during the cheaper low season).
2. Do something adventurous
The summer season means it’s time for kayaking, scuba diving, bungee jumping, horseback riding, and tons of other sports and activities. Even if you can’t quite see yourself skydiving over the Swiss Alps or catching 10 foot waves in Fiji, do something outside of your comfort zone– that’s what study abroad is all about! Try a beginner surfing lesson, go snorkeling, or participate in a day-long hike during your summer study abroad semester.
Tip– if you’re studying in Europe, Interlaken, Switzerland is a great place to visit to do lots of adventurous stuff like skydiving, canyoning, paragliding, and more.
Taking in the sights in each city you visit is important, but walking around in the heat all day can get tiring and isn’t very enjoyable. Don’t forget that you’re on vacation– so relax! Pick one or two sights to see each day, and spend the rest of your time sunbathing on the beach, riding a bike through the city’s park, or people watching at an outdoor cafe.
4. Picnic often
Once the weather is nice, why eat inside when you can dine almost anywhere? Grab a sandwich and a cheap bottle of wine and find a spot around the city with nice views of the sun setting. Make it a weekly tradition with your new friends from your summer study abroad semester and maybe try picking up a different type of wine or local specialty for each meal.
5. Get your crawl on
Pub crawls are a great way to get to the good bars around a city, but they aren’t as enjoyable when it’s chilly outside. Crawling in the summer means better bar and club options, more locals and fellow travelers to mingle with, and not freezing your butt off as you walk from bar to bar. Take advantage.
6. Rent (or buy) a bike
Having access to a bike makes your trips around town quicker and more enjoyable — just imagine feeling a nice breeze as you pedal your way to class, and not the hot sun beating down as you lug your heavy textbooks along. Even if you don’t purchase one, rent one for a day and explore parts of the city that you would never walk to; you may even find some hidden treasures.
If you make it to London, you can do your own impromptu-bike tour with London’s city bikes (called Boris Bikes.) Here’s how to use them…
7. Take advantage of liberal drinking laws
Warm weather means you can alfresco drinking of local wines and cocktails. Depending on where you’re studying, you can also pre-game in piazzas and other public areas, or can even skip the bars altogether. Drinking your two euro wine bottle while galavanting around the streets of your city will save you a nice chunk of change, but just be sure to know the drinking laws and ALWAYS stay safe!
8. Go camping
Just because you’re abroad doesn’t mean you have to miss out on your annual summer camping trip. There are tons of campsites all over the world that will provide the essentials for a weekend in the wilderness, many that are even just minutes away from major cities, also making them a cheaper option for accommodation. Even if you’re not much of a fan of sleeping outside, the atmosphere might entice you– some sites cater to the 18-30 crowd and have late night parties with music and lots of booze.
You can easily find campgrounds to potentially stay at on Hostelworld.
9. Visit places that are known for their summer seasons
The French Riviera. Ibiza. The Amalfi Coast. There are destinations around the world that come alive when the sun comes out, so plan a weekend at one of these locales so you can take advantage of your close proximity to them.
10. Rock out at a music festival
Just like in the US, the summer months mean festival season for the rest of the Northern hemisphere as well. Whether you’re into EDM, indie rock, or classical music, you’re not a true fan until you experience an entire weekend of it while sleeping in a tent, ignoring personal hygiene habits, and mingling with other concert-goers who may or may not be on questionable substances. It’s all about the experience…
For more tips for what to do during your study abroad summer semester, read: