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How to Stay Healthy while Studying Abroad

1.)       Walk- One of the best things while studying abroad is the amount of walking you do. The first time I was abroad I walked everywhere I went. I had a metro pass but it was much easier to get around on foot. I gave myself extra time in the mornings and it became normal to walk at least 7-8 miles a day. Even if you have an unlimited metro card, make sure you make time in your day to walk around the city. It is a good source of exercise and keeps your body healthy. Incorporate this into your daily schedule and you will see results.

 

2.)       Join a gym– Over the summer I studied abroad for 5 weeks in the Czech Republic. The weather was amazing and since I wasn’t there for long, I decided not to join a gym. At first, I was constantly going on runs through the city, but this began to fade over time. This time around I made it one of my priorities to join a gym. I did some research and found an amazing gym a few blocks from my house. I went ahead and bought a 4-month plan, for the entire time I am here. In my opinion, when you are paying for a membership, you are more inclined to go. I highly suggest joining a gym if you are studying abroad for more than a month. Many offer student discounts and come with a lot of perks, including spas and saunas.

 

3.)       Stock your kitchen with healthy snacks – One thing that I started to notice in college is that if there are snacks around, I will eat them. So the best thing to do is either do not buy them or stock up on healthy snacks. Since I have been in Europe I find myself eating WAY more chocolate than I ever would at home. If you’re strolling down the unhealthy isle at the grocery store, restrain yourself. You might get midnight cravings or a sweet tooth but if you don’t have anything to cure it, you won’t eat it.

 

4.)       Cook your own meals– I cannot emphasize this enough. Learn to cook before you travel across the world by yourself. This will not only save you money, but it will make you feel way better about what you are putting into your body. Although it is fun to go out to eat, this can get tiring after a while. You are aware of exactly what you are putting into your food and you won’t be as tempted to order something unhealthy off the menu.

 

5.)       Save the “splurge” for the weekend– Most weekends during studying abroad are typically spent visiting other cities. This means you will be eating out way more and trying all the best local foods. During the week try to eat as healthy as you can and restrain from empty calorie meals that really aren’t worth it. Each city offers something totally new and the food is definitely worth trying. At home during the week, stick to salads and low-calorie meals so that you can splurge all you want on the weekends.

 

6.)       Drink water- When people say, “wine is cheaper than water” they are not joking. Don’t get me wrong, for the first week in Europe this was amazing. But soon this started to hit me hard. I was constantly dehydrated and my body was feeling it. Make sure to always bring a water bottle around with you no matter what. It is a lot cheaper to buy disposable water bottles than it is to buy water at meals so I suggest stocking up on those at the grocery store. You NEED to be drinking water especially since you are drinking alcohol and doing a lot more walking than usual. It will get annoying constantly paying for water, but the money is worth it.

 

7.)       Bring vitamins- Unfortunately, I figured this out the hard way during my first study abroad experience. After my first couple of weeks exploring Prague, I started to feel very depleted all the time. Although the food wasn’t totally doing it for me, my body was reacting to something else. I soon started to realize I hadn’t been taking my iron pills. The second time around I made sure I had enough vitamins for the full time I was here. Although vitamins are small, it does have a strong effect on your body. Trust me on this one, just bring some.

 

8.)       Take advantage of good weather- Studying abroad in the spring can be a bit difficult when it comes to weather. Every day is honestly a mystery and it is never clear what the weather will be like. Every once in a while you are blessed with a random warm day, so take advantage of this. Walk to school instead of taking the metro, find a park and bring your computer to do some work. It will surprise you how much your body appreciates some fresh air every once in a while.

 

 

Weekend Guide to Rome, Italy

 

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The past three summers I have spent my time traveling around Europe, and I can 100% say that Rome is my favorite city. There is something so magical about walking around with hundreds of years of history surrounding you. It is like walking through a huge museum. On every corner, there is a place to stop for gelato and coffee & the food here is unlike any other place. Now that I have been multiple times, I put together a list of all the places you must go while your visiting. Hope you enjoy ♡

Hotel/Airbnb :

Hotel Relais Maddalena- So I have been to Rome a few times now and this is my favorite place to stay. The rooms are all boutique and none of them are the same. The decor in each room is just adorable. It comes with free breakfast and is in the absolute best location, just a few steps from the pantheon! Amazing restaurants and a handful of gelato places surround the hotel. I cannot get over how cute the rooms were.

Transportation:

When we first arrived at the airport we ended up taking an uber (not the best decision) and it was super expensive. The rest of the trip we either walked or took taxis and it was much cheaper.

Sights:

Colosseum

Pantheon

Trevi Fountain

Spanish Steps

Piazza Venezia

Piazza Navona

St. Peter’s Basilica

The Vatican

 

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Best Gelato:

Giolitti – I’ve probably been to this place like 5 or 6 times now because it’s hands down the best gelato. I told myself I would try and go to a new gelato place every time, but this place was just too good. It’s like a five-minute walk from the pantheon and has really cute vibes inside. Try the “rice” gelato flavor!

Gelateria Del Viale

Gelateria Della Palma

Gelateria del teatro

 

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Food:

(I didn’t bring my camera with me so these pictures DO NOT do it justice)

1.) Emma Pizzeria

If you are looking for amazing Italian food, look no further. This place is so delicious I can not even explain. The prosciutto pizza is mouthwatering, as well as the white truffle pasta. My cousin recommended me this place and I will forever love him for that. Make sure you call and make a reservation before because when we arrived there was a line down the block.

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What we ordered:

Focaccua di Capri

*PRIMI Amatriciana

*Fettuccina Tartufo Bianco (Daily Special)

*Prosciutto Pizza

Meatballs

 

2.) Osteria da Fortunata

This was quite possibly the best find of the trip.

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I went onto yelp a few minutes before and found what looked like a good, nearby pasta place. We arrived with 6 girls and were looked at funny when we asked if they had room for us. Little did we know this was THE best Italian place in Rome. We all ordered a bunch of pasta and split them up, which was the best decision ever. No matter what you do, order the gnocchi because it is like honestly like eating mini magical clouds. After I posted a picture of my food I got like 30 DM’s from my friends and strangers telling me this was their favorite place in Rome. Just as we were leaving, we walked outside to a huge crowd of people, waiting in a two-hour line to be seated. Honestly, worth it.

 

3.) Dar Poeta

Talk about vibes. This little pizza place was recommended to a few us and we somehow got a reservation for eight people. We all ordered a pizza and got a few pitchers of wine to share. We all got so drunk and sat in the restaurant ordering new pizzas for hours. It was so much fun and the pizza was AMAZING. I have only good things to say about this place.

 

4.) Osteria Barberini

If you know me, you know that I am obsessed with truffles. So you shouldn’t be surprised that one of my favorite Rome restaurants, is based around solely truffles. Trust me when I say, it tasted as good as it looked if not better. Everything we ordered was either covered in white or black truffles, and the price was honestly not too bad. If you don’t love truffles though I am not sure I would recommend this place. We all split a bottle of wine, had two appetizers and each got a pasta dish. It came out to 28 dollars a person… unreal.

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xoxo

Barcelona Week #1

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It’s been about 10 days now since I landed in Barcelona. This place is amazing. The crazy thing about this town is most of the time I feel like I’m in a busy New-Yorkish City and other times I feel like I’m sitting on the beach at home in Santa Monica. The nightlife here is absolutely insane; it’s just a massive party 24/7. Right on the beach, there are three major clubs, which is where we have been going on Monday nights. Other nights it’s also fun to just go to a bar and get drinks (this week it has been ALL sangria and now I’m pretty over it.) Barcelona also has amazing food, they have everything you can imagine which was not the case for me this past summer in Prague. So far I have been eating pretty healthy most of the time because most of the meals have vegetables and chicken. One of the first nights I was here I took a cooking class and learned how to make Spanish Omelets, Pan Con Tomate, (which is basically like Spain’s version of Bruschetta) stuffed pork and a pear dessert. Everything was super good and the atmosphere was a good time.

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After about 7 days of eating out, I finally started cooking again. After some searching, I found the Trader Joes of Barcelona. Fresh Fruit, microwavable meals and quick on the go snacks. Thank god. I still have a few more to try out but this store is super close to my house and has pretty much everything I need. In my last post I mentioned that I wanted to start cooking new things so I am really putting an effort in to find great recipes. So far my two favorite things that I’ve made are Prosciutto and Pesto stuffed chicken, and Brie and mushroom truffle burgers (SO GOOD).

Overall the best thing here is hands down the olive oil. I have no clue what they put in it but it’s like no other olive oil I have ever tasted. ALSO, the Prosciutto here is two dollars… yes yes you read that correctly. Two fucking dollars. For an entire pack. It is prosciutto heaven here in Barcelona.

The only thing that’s pretty annoying here is the pickpocketing happening all around me 24/7, so I really have to be aware and hold my stuff tight. This also makes me really scared to wear my nice stuff out. I’m hoping over time it will get less stressful.

So that’s it for week #1.

Coming up this weekend I’ll be heading to Italy for lots of pasta, truffles and pizza. I can’t wait.

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13 Goals while Studying Abroad

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I feel like just yesterday I decided to study abroad once again, but this time in BARCELONA. As I look back at my last experience I thought it might be fun to set goals for myself over the next four months. Studying abroad is about experiencing other cultures, meeting new people and learning new things. It is very easy to try and stay comfortable instead of stepping out and being brave. For this week’s blog post I have created a list of 12 things I want to achieve while I’m traveling around Europe.

 

1.) Try as many restaurants as possible.

  • I LOVE food so while I’m in Barcelona I want to try as many places as I can. Many times when I find a great restaurant, I get comfortable and don’t bother to go out and try more. When I am certain I like a place, I am hesitant to go somewhere new for a lesser experience. I really want to try and go out, try new foods and really take in all that I can during this semester. It also helps that my cousin is basically a professional foodie and sent me a huge list of all his favorite places. Get ready for lots of food pictures… cause they are coming!

 

2.) Take a cooking class in most cities I visit

  • Because I have traveled to Europe the past two summers, I have visited most of the main tourist attractions. Instead of paying money for museums I have already seen I want to try spending this time to learn how to cook local foods. I’m talking about tapas classes, pasta making courses and anything else those cities offer. This not only will be fun, but it will give me knowledge to bring home for the future.

 

3.) Figure out public transportation

  • When I was in Europe last summer I had a difficult time learning how to take the trams. One of my friends picked it up pretty fast so we all just followed along. These next four months I want to venture out and try and fully embrace to the Barcelona Metro system. In the last week I have started to understand it and now feel comfortable taking it places alone.

 

4.) Make friends with local students rather than other Americans studying abroad

  • This semester I am taking classes at two different locations. One is the abroad school that I go to and another school is a local business school. Of course I want to be friendly with everyone but one of my goals is to try and meet Spanish students that I wouldn’t be able to meet in the states. This might be hard due to the language barrier but I’m going to try my best. How dope would it be to make friends with students who live in Spain.

 

5.) Bring my camera around and take a lot of pictures

  • Over the summer I took a million pictures. You name it, I shot it. Because I was in a photography class and was forced to take and white about at least one picture from each day. Although it was sometimes annoying lugging my camera around, I was able to capture unbelievable experiences. During my first week in Barcelona I heard so many horror stories about students getting things stolen. This made me very hesitant about bringing my new Sony around. After a few days of getting zero pictures, I came to the realization that I paid a ton of money on a new camera so that I can take pictures, not so I can lock it up in my room. My goal is to try and bring it most places I go so that I can look back and have amazing photos.

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6.) Try to speak as much Spanish as I can

  • One of the hardest parts of coming abroad is trying to communicate with people. This semester I am taking Spanish, so my goal (might be my most important goal) is to try to pick it up and use the language while I’m here. The only thing that makes this difficult is when I order or try to communicate in Spanish, most people answer back to me in English. Over time I feel like I’ll get better but this is for sure a priority goal for the next four months.

 

7.) Journal everything I experience

  • It’s been about two years now since I started journaling and it’s honestly been a game changer. I now have so many memories to go back and read. While I’m here I brought two journals, a travel journal, and a normal journal. My goal is to write in them at least 4 times a week. This might get a bit annoying at times but in a few years when I can go back and read details about this trip, it will be worth it.

 

8.) Stay in shape

  • For basically the first time in my life, I have gone over a month without working out. After the marathon, I tweaked my knee and was forced to give myself a break. However, now that I am here I plan on picking things back up and working out harder than before. What I have learned is that traveling abroad is honestly exhausting and having an hour to myself throughout the day is a game changer. To achieve this goal I joined one of the best gyms in Barcelona and I plan on going 3-4 times a week. I already made friends with the personal trainers so they are not afraid to push me around a bit. The gym also came with a free body comp, which allows me to track my body from the start of the trip to the finish.

9.) Go to hole in the wall bars rather than touristy clubs

  • In Barcelona, there are so many cool clubs and bars that are not common for tourists. Of course, there are the four main clubs but all of them are filled with American kids, getting drunk and pickpocketed. My goal this trip is to get out of my comfort zone and try new places with unknown faces. It’s honestly safer and will be a better experience.

 

10.) Study at different coffee shops

  • Since I have been here I have seen so many cute coffee shops all over the city. In just the short walk from my apartment to school, I have already found 6 or 7 that I love. Although this is an easy goal, I do have some hesitation. During my last semester abroad I worked a lot in coffee shops and ended up getting my computer hacked from logging onto the free Wi-Fi. I am currently trying to figure out a way to prevent this, but that won’t stop me from going there just to journal.

11.) Find local stores and boutiques

  • It doesn’t help that the first day I got to Barcelona was the day after King’s Day (a celebration in Spain that is similar to Christmas.) This meant that there were sales EVERYWHERE. This made is very tempting to go in and buy new clothes for the next four months. What I plan on doing however is saving all of the money that I would spend at chain stores, like ZARA and Mango, and saving up for something more expensive that I can only get in Spain. I already found a boutique jewelry store that I can’t help but stop in every time I leave the gym.

 

12.) Cook new foods that I am not used to making at home

  • If you don’t know this about me, I’ve turned into the biggest home-body. One of my favorite things to do is just drink wine and make yummy food. This is why one of my number one goals is to really expand the food that I cook. Over the past couple of months, I have started to cook a lot, but most of those foods are very healthy and contain the same main ingredients. While I’m here I plan on finding new recipes, learning new things in the kitchen and becoming comfortable with new food groups.

13.) Travel, Travel, Travel

  • In the past two years, I have visited Europe three times which means after this trip I probably won’t be returning for a while. In Europe especially it is so easy to travel from place to place so I am going to use this to my advantage and visit as many cities as possible. Although I do want to go somewhere at least every other weekend, I also think it is important to fully take advantage of Spain and see everything Barcelona has to offer. This being said my goal is to travel a ton while still enjoying my temporary home as much as possible.

So there it is, 13 goals for the next four months. I cannot wait to travel everywhere, document everything and keep you all in the loop.

 

ALSO, I apologize to my mom and dad because I just realized that not one of those goals had anything to do with school, haha oops.