March is a non-stop month for me. Between juggling classes, traveling around Europe and keeping up with my writing, I feel like there's hardly time to even appreciate where I am and what I'm doing. I think what a lot of exchange students forget to do is take it in.
If you're currently studying abroad, spend a few minutes or even a few hours sitting in your favourite spot on campus or in your destination city and just observe. It's important to really understand how lucky we are to have opportunities like this. Reflecting on all the things we've done so far and the places we have travelled is what often changes ones perspective. Time flies, that's a known fact. But it flies so much quicker when you forget to slow down and enjoy the moments.
These last few weeks have been quite the ride. You can read all about my weekend trip to Italy here. My roommate and I ventured to Milano for a five day trip and we have two more trips before this month ends. The trip pushed me to decide that I need to dedicate more time to living in the moment. Since I've arrived in the Netherlands, my sole focus has been to travel as much as possible and see/do as many things as I possibly can. Doing more doesn't always mean more in every aspect. If you find yourself getting lost in the moving of things, it's okay to slow it down. Don't overwhelm yourself with a trip every single Friday just because other people are. Do things at your own pace and make sure you're giving yourself enough time to actually enjoy the travels that you're spending hundreds of dollars on each week.
Constantly traveling and keeping busy is exhausting but it also is very exciting. We got back at around midnight on Monday evening. I felt relaxed for about five minutes while laying in bed until I realized I had a presentation the next morning at 9am and a class trip to Amsterdam directly after. But this is what being an exchange student is all about. When you're abroad, maximizing your time is crucial but it's all a balancing act. My advice for anyone traveling or living abroad: enjoy. every. second.
On a travel note: From researching, booking and experiencing, I'm starting to notice that February and March are the best times to travel Europe. While the weather isn't at it's prime, the number of tourists is usually at a low which means affordable airfare and accommodations (not to mention the ease of taking photos without having to dodge a million people). Booking in advance also makes a huge difference.
As I said, my calendar is jam-packed. I'm off to Copenhagen tonight following my classes. I'm excited to see Denmark and celebrate St. Patrick's Day in another country. Get ready to hear all about that when I return!