Hi guys, it’s Ha and I’m an on-duty exchange student* at WU in Vienna, Austria. It has been 3 months since I arrived here and the journey has never been more amazing!
Upon arriving in Vienna for my exchange semester, one of the most common questions I got from another student is:
“How many countries have you been to in Europe so far?”
As obvious as it may seem, travelling in Europe is such a lifetime experience that everyone who has been to this part of the world is likely to get involved. From my point of view, the deciding reasons why it is an amazing destination to visit among other continents are its open borders, affordable transportation and cultural diversity.
1. Open borders
As part of the Schengen area, most countries within the European Union (EU) allow travellers to cross borders freely without the need of a visa. Thus, this enables you to enter another country unlimitedly and easily as well as become motivated to travel more frequently.
2. Affordable transportation
Another beautiful thing about travelling in Europe is a wide range of affordable ways to get to different places. Not only is it nice to have many transportation options from road trip to air trip, but you could also find extremely cheap tickets to anywhere in Europe. Have you ever imagine there could be an €8 one-way flying from a country to another? That’s exactly the price of the flight ticket that we purchased from Vienna to Milan!
My frequent search tools are Google Flight (for flight tickets), and Flixbus + Busbud (for bus tickets). Here are the price calculations for transportation on the trips to Graz, Milan, Lake Como, Budapest, Prague and Hallstatt Lake I’ve made so far.
A day trip in Graz: €26 (round-trip bus ticket)
3 nights at Milan and a day trip in Lake Como: €20 (round-trip flight ticket), €30 (train tickets), €20 (ferry tickets)
2 days at Budapest and 1 day at Prague: €45 (bus tickets in total)
A day trip in Hallstatt: €40 (round-trip with Erasbus)
3. Cultural diversity
Despite the close distance, the culture is surprisingly diverse among different countries in Europe. If Italy is famous for its excellent cuisine or Spain is defined by its beautiful beaches and sunny weather, central countries like Austria, Hungary and the Czech Republic are better known for their architectural buildings and museums. No matter where you go in Europe, you will discover new aspects and a unique vibe that belongs to that particular country only.
Furthermore, doing an exchange semester in one of the countries in Europe is absolutely a great opportunity to learn a new language. In fact, since most of the countries here have different official languages and special traditions, you can not only get involved with everyday conversations but also become more open-minded with new cultural aspects.
So, what is the difference between going on vacation only and travelling in your exchange semester? For me, I would surely say the diverse learning methods you get, the friends you meet and the benefits of being a student are all crucial contributors that count.
So, if you are a wanderlust and ready for your next challenge, these motives are good enough for you to apply for a semester abroad and see what else is in store, aren’t they?
* For more information on how to apply for an exchange semester, go to https://www.qut.edu.au/study/study-options/study-abroad-and-exchange/inbound-exchange